Hartford Students, Judy Dworin Performance Project Teaching Artists Perform at Trinity

Culmination of ‘Moving Matters!’ Program Features 450 Parkville Community School Students

​Hartford, Connecticut, May 15, 2017 – This year, the Judy Dworin Performance Project (JDPP) celebrated its 21st Moving Matters! Residency Program at Hartford’s Parkville Community School. The performance took place in the Oosting Gymnasium at Trinity College’s Ferris Athletic Center on Wednesday, May 3.

JDPP is an arts non-profit based in Hartford that was founded by Trinity College Professor of Theater & Dance, Emerita, Judy Dworin ’70 in 1989, originally as an umbrella organization for individual artists. Through innovative multi-arts performance and community-based arts programming, JDPP harnesses creative expression as a catalyst for positive change. On stage, in schools, and in prisons, JDPP uses arts engagement and movement-based performance to examine social issues, build bridges of understanding across diverse communities, and inspire both individual growth and collective action.

This year’s Parkville Community School Moving Matters! performance, titled “Teachings of the Night Sky,” was inspired by Mary Pope Osborne’s magical children’s book, Moonhorse, in which a child rides a mystical horse for a dream-filled tour of the constellations and carries her dreams to each one. The story serves as a springboard to engage curiosity and imagination in ways that enliven learning viscerally and kinesthetically. JDPP is the only arts organization with this level of engagement and longevity at Parkville that successfully supports core curriculum.

Throughout the school year, the third- through fifth-grade classes created original dances representing the various constellations. Their own aspirations and dreams for how they want to develop as people authored the story lines. This focus was chosen in response to the principal's request that the theme address character development. Attributes of self-control, flexibility, independence, collaboration, competition, cooperation, adventurousness, reliability, changeability, and consistency were explored through different movement qualities depicted on Sagittarius, Libra, Aquarius, Gemini, and Leo. A group of travelers investigated each constellation accompanied by a song created by the second-graders with JDPP singer/songwriter Leslie Bird. The first-graders concluded the piece, creating a tableau of dreams representing how they dream the world could be. The production included an original score of live music by world music group Sirius Coyote, fanciful set pieces created by visual artist Cheri Soule, and tie-dyed T-shirts designed by the students.

The project is an ongoing collaboration between Judy Dworin Performance Project, Trinity College, and Parkville Community School. It is directed by JDPP Associate Artistic Director Kathy Borteck Gersten, this year assisted by JDPP teaching artist and Trinity adjunct faculty Lisa Matias ’90. Trinity student Olivia Curran ’19, who was a teaching assistant for the program last year, volunteered at the event to help welcome and guide the 450 students and approximately 200 guests to the Oosting Gymnasium. A special feature of this year’s project was a tour of the college by the Parkville fifth-graders on the Friday after the performance. The project aims to bring college into the view of these children throughout their entire sojourn at Parkville.

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Photos by John Atashian.
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