Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Where Ideas May Lead You

Class discussions often spark ideas. The magic is not in the ideas, but in where those ideas take you. (That's the "creation" in the word "creativity.")

Our friends at Dance Excel in Gary, Indiana, have used their classroom sparks to create a beautifully illustrated children's book and full scale dance production, The Spirit of the Baobab Tree.

To get an idea of how beautifully illustrated Dionne Champion and Sherice Grant's book is, look at Daryl Champion's art work in this excerpt from the Xlibris web site.

As Dionne and Sherice talked with their students, they found that many of them had no concept of how African-American and African history related to their modern day lives. They came up with a way to teach this concept, not through memorizing dry facts, but as people have for generations-- through story telling and dance.

The result was The Spirit of the Baobab Tree, which began life as a stage production with characters based on a mixture of personalities of their own students. Now a story book, it tells the tale of a nine-year-old boy named Jelani who spends his time drawing magical places and beings in a sketchbook to escape from the realities of his life as a foster child. One day from out of the pages of his sketchbook a magical storyteller comes to life taking the boy on a journey of discovery with tales of his African and American ancestors.

The book is available through Xlibris or through Amazon.com.

If you're in the Gary area, you can see the Spirit of the Baobab Tree February 26-27 at the West Side High School Theater. Contact Dance Excel for more information on the production.

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's Almost that Time

Valery Lantratov will soon be here in the United States to teach master classes from the East Coast to the Mississippi, from Florida to Wisconsin. We are looking forward to meeting each and every one of you. We hope that as we travel you will stay in touch with us using this blog and our Myspace and Facebook pages. (Links to the right)

If we have not been to your studio before, you should have received an e-mail with our travel directions attached. We begin our tour next week, once we are on the road, communication becomes more of a challenge, so we would like to encourage you to take a moment now to send any information about your class that may be useful to Mr. Lantratov in his preparations even if it seems that your class is some time in the future.

We will be bringing a limited number of copies of our book A Child's Introduction to Ballet to sell and sign. Here is its description:

Eye-catching illustrations, engaging text and delightful musical selections on the accompanying 70-minute CD lead children ages 8 to 12 (and parents, too!) on an exciting and educational tour through the magical world of ballet. Illustrated in exquisite and colourful detail with over 100 original drawings and photographs, this package is a fun and exciting journey for children. Learn about the world's greatest ballets, dancers, choreographers and composers. Find out about the history of ballet, ballet steps and positions and read the wonderful stories of amazing ballets - as the stories unfold you can listen to pieces of music from some of them. Why do ballet dancers stand like ducks? How high can the greatest ballet dancers leap? What famous ballet company was originally made up of orphans? Learn all this and more in Child's Introduction to Ballet.

If you would like to have us sign copies of our book for students at your studio, we would encourage you to place an advance order now and have books shipped to you, especially if your dates are in February. This will guarantee that books will be available. We are traveling with a very limited number, and will not be able to restock on the road.

You can order individual copies on line. If you would like three or more, please contact us at the office, and we can ship them out to you at no shipping cost. You do not need to be on our itinerary to take advantage of the free shipping offer, however, your order must be placed no later than January 10. If you do not have our office number, e-mail me at lauralee@doublevpromotions.com.

We'd also like to remind you of our new Dancer's Quote Book, lovingly compiled over several years. We will not have any copies of this book with us, so if you'd like copies for us to sign, please order through Lulu.com using the link to the right.