When the 3rd grade students at the Gardner Pilot Academy showed up to their Friday morning Arts class on April 5th, they were not expecting the imposing form of the Office for the Arts Dance program at Harvard Visiting Artist and accomplished dancer Patrick Corbin.
Dressed in a black t-shirt and jeans, he slowly unveiled information about his background, as he answered the students’ eager questions. After learning that Corbin used to dance with the Joffrey Ballet and the Paul Taylor Dance Company, one of the students soon nicknamed him “New York,” and with Corbin’s blessing of the nickname, the group of 16 began their morning.
First up, Corbin started the workshop with a dose of sensorial interpretation in the form of a “baby dance.” After he asked the students what babies feel when they are newly born, someone ventured a guess, “air?” Soon everyone was blowing puffs of air onto their own arms and hands. Later students were spinning around and mimicking animals: A shark flowing into a dolphin, a lion into a dog, and a bunny and kangaroo morphing into a “BunnyRoo”. With a lot of energy used, some of the students flopped down onto the floor and all fear was lost. After taking a small break, all of the students popped back into action to finalize a creation of their own movement series to showcase for their peers. As the performance closed, an emboldened boy asked Corbin, “Are you getting on the plane to New York now?” With that final observation, an exceptional Friday morning arts program at the Gardner Pilot Academy came to a close.
The Harvard Office for the Arts (OFA) has recently partnered with the Harvard Allston Education Portal in a number of areas to expand their offerings in the arts to the Allston-Brighton community.