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Cross Arts Day 2013

Cross Arts Day 2013

Zara Webb of Y10 reports on the arts extravaganza that is Cross Arts day ...

Our annual Cross Arts day allows our Y7s to join together to recreate folk stories from across the globe. This year the chosen countries were Africa, Mexico and Indonesia.

This giant undertaking has had me questioning, are the teachers mad? Well, as it turns out, they are. MADD- Music, Art, Drama and Dance, the four elements that come together for the final performance to parents. This incredible venture is a chance to embrace other cultures, but also for the Y7s to get creative and work with people they might not yet know.

 The yearly Cross Arts day is entirely run and coordinated by the MADD teachers, who assign each year seven with one of the three countries. The students select their favourite two ‘Arts Areas’, and they are guaranteed to work in at least one of those areas. They are then taken off timetable for two days to move around the school giving three activities a go. Finally, they are all able to contribute towards the final performance in one of the four areas, which is seen by parents on the evening of the second day.

This year, traditional and folk stories from the three countries have been explored by students, learnt and then performed using the four mediums. The story from Mexico was The Little Green Rabbit. The story from Indonesia was ‘The Little Mice and the Big Elephant’. The story from Africa was ‘Anansi’s journey to America’ and ‘Why spiders are usually found in the corners of rooms’.

What better way to discover new cultures than through its music? On the music corridor, music teachers Miss Northin, Mr Murphy and Mrs Page worked with over 150 students to unleash their inner musician, creating and performing short extracts of music to represent the different aspects of the stories. The year sevens had great fun experimenting with rhythm, melody, tempo, dynamics and texture to create their music, using a mixture of Djembe (African drums), tuned and unturned percussion and Samba instruments to accompany the various dances and drama displays.

The Drama workshops involved a teacher led direction of each of the stories whilst all students took on a role and learnt the lines ready for the performances. We incorporated many Drama skills to make the work interesting for example, physical theatre created different locations in the stories.

Vibrant colours, large cardboard cut-outs and lots of paint were the focus of the artistic side of things. Students were able to create a range of structures including mice heads, a giant spider and elephants, as well as beautifully decorated sculptures of the sun and moon with the help of art teachers Mr Short, Mr Field, Mr Fogg and Mrs Hopkinson. Students took the opportunity to let loose their creativity, and everyone was able to learn new skills and discover the fun in art, ably assisted by our wonderful A Level students!

After so much colour and noise, you would think the year sevens had done every performing element possible. Not quite, as dance is the other thing on their agenda. Dance is so much more than moving to music, it’s an emotional journey, a way to speak without words. So for all the students giving it a go, or performing at the end, they were dancing for joy! Miss Sharman and a team of sixth form helpers were delighted by the sheer quantity of ideas and inspiration pouring from the year seven minds. In the gymnasium, the choreography was learnt and perfected.

After the two days of preparation, learning and inspiration, it was time for the final performance. As 240 parents filled the hall, our year sevens nervously awaited the start of this creative display. And what a display it was! The dancers seemed almost to float on the rhythm of the drumbeat, whilst the vivid colours and fantastic features of the artwork – the masks and the shields and the huge spider – added to the spectacle. The bravery of these students who were able to stand in front of all the parents is surely to be commended! Their effort and determination gave real energy to the show and left everyone involved feeling in high spirits, and infused the audience with real enthusiasm for the arts.

Two year 7s seemed to sum it up best: ‘I enjoyed working as a team and learning about the country’ and ‘I had a part in acting and learnt that I could perform in front of people I don’t know.’