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École Robert H. Smith students get creative juices flowing

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Students at École Robert H. Smith School are delving into theatre and dance as part of the Artists in the Schools Program.


Riverview-based performing artist Brenda Gorlick began her eight week residency, the longest residency she’s had in the program thus far, at the school earlier this month. She is working with students from Grade 1 through Grade 6.


Gorlick spent her first two weeks working with Grade 1 through Grade 4 students doing creative movement, theatre, improvisation and vocal activities.


"It’s kind of the musical theatre genre that I’m introducing to them," Gorlick said.


Through her program, Gorlick works to encourage the students’ creativity.


"Everybody gets to dance with me, everybody gets to create moves with me, and everybody gets to be crazy with me," Gorlick said.  "We’re having a blast so far."


Gorlick said the program allows students, who might not always have the opportunity to do so in a classroom setting, to be physical and get their "creative juices" flowing without restriction.


"I love the fact that you can plant an idea in a young person’s mind and it just goes to a very free place. Sometimes as an older person you forget what that freedom feels like," Gorlick said.


Gorlick has been involved in the performing arts world for more than 30 years. She is the associate artistic director for Winnipeg Studio Theatre, a professional musical theatre company, and has been involved with the Artists in the Schools program for more than 20 years.


Morley Glew, a Grade 4 student, said she enjoys working with Gorlick as it’s something different to what she typically gets to do in the classroom.


"It’s really fun to have us learning at the same time as acting. A lot of times it can be hard to learn sitting down, so it’s really fun to learn and act," Glew said.


Glew’s teacher, Ashley Edgar, said programs like Artists in the Schools allow the students to get involved with the arts, something teachers always don’t have a lot of time in the classroom for.


"It’s beneficial because it gets (the students) moving and working together collaboratively. They have a great time," Edgar said. "The kids are really engaged, and that’s what you want to see."


Gorlick said so far, she’s been having a blast.


For her remaining six weeks at the school, Gorlick will be working with the Grade 5 and 6 students to create a musical called Decades.


The classes have researched different decades right from the 1920s, and each class has been assigned a different decade.


They will be exploring dance and music through the ages, as well as some accompanying political and world events, and with the help of Gorlick will turn it into a musical production.


"I’m looking forward to it," Gorlick said. "We’ll see what comes of it."


For more information on artists in the school go to artscouncil.mb.ca

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