By Vanessa Smith, School Programs Manager
While it’s true that every child is different, there is one thing about children that stays pretty constant - they’re always on the move! Running, playing, dancing, fidgeting – movement is always present in their bodies and minds. When tackling a subject like opera, which can be difficult and foreign to younger students, it’s good to “start from where you are” – in this case, we decided to start by getting moving!
About a year ago, Howard Park Junior Public School approached the COC education and outreach team to discuss ways to give their entire school an opera experience. In consultation with the school’s Arts Council and teachers, we came up with a plan to teach sections of the dance curriculum through opera workshops this spring. Each class, including both French immersion students and English students, would participate in two to three workshops over the course of three weeks in March and April.
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By Katherine Semcesen, Associate Director, Education and Outreach
ASOP participants learning about baroque dancing for Theseus and the Minotaur
It's hard to believe, but the Canadian Opera Company's After School Opera Program (ASOP) is already in its 15thyear! In celebration of this milestone, we're looking back at the past 15 years and highlighting some of ASOP's most notable achievements.
In 1997, the COC embarked on an ambitious project to start an after-school program that focused on introducing children to opera. Dean Burry, an enthusiastic young composer from Gander, Newfoundland, who was working in the COC’s Ticket Services at the time, leapt at the opportunity to share his love of opera with young people. His proposal won over the COC’s education and outreach staff and, under Dean’s direction, ASOP has engaged and introduced 4,876 children and their families to opera over the last 15 years. In addition to Dean, 45 guest artists including designers, mimes, choreographers, baroque movement specialists, stage combat instructors, make-up artists, Peking opera artists and North Indian Kathak dancers and other musicians have collaborated with the young participants to produce a total of 48 brand new operas.
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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001