The Mango Hill State School, North of Brisbane were having a behaviour celebration for the students with Rhythm Culture Drum Sing Dance Program for the children. As we do with each school depending on ages, we adjusted the program to fit the number of students, the space and the time factor. All of these things we can plan for in advance.
We had three x 45 minute back-to-back sessions. The first group was prep-1, then year 2-3, and last years 4-6. We had about 125 children in each group. The room was set up so that we had drumming on one side dancing on the other. We began by playing some Gongoma and singing in the Susu language. There was some call and response with some vocals and clapping to the rhythm Sorsornet to get them warmed up.
After some fast paced, fun warm up moves that got them laughing and moving they began to learn the dance. They all got really into the dance steps and the teachers joined in up the back. It was smiles all round! After they had learnt the choreography for the rhythm we moved them over to the drums and taught them the corresponding rhythm with all of the same breaks on djembe.
Some of the children participated as our audience whilst they waited for the turn on the drums. There were some incredible freestyle moves happening whilst we did some call and response with the drummers. There were two students in particular that were an absolute highlight. One boy doing the Worm on the floor. This kid had so much movement in his body it was amazing and the other student was doing backflips! It was difficult to focus on playing the duns when all this excitement was happening around us! It was a little mesmerising!
We were told later that the school was renowned for their arts program and performing program! Obviously these kids were performing artists themselves.
The teachers were really fantastic and got super involved and were very helpful. They informed us they were having a new incredible space built for their performing arts centre. Hopefully we get to see this space next year!!
Thanks for having us Mango Hill State School! We loved being a part of your celebration for the students.