Permet’s Holiday Talent Show

To kick off the holidays, my site mate Barbara and I organized a talent show with the help of a local counterpart. We had over 14 different acts , and it was a fun way to bring the community together. The students had a great time showing off their skills and creativity!

Although there’s no snow on the ground, stockings hung on the fireplace, or presents underneath the tree, Permet is still a festive place to spend the holidays. There are bright lights in the city center, and children are bundled up in Santa hats and puffy coats as they hurry to get out of the cold. The spirit of the season is in full swing!

To cap off the year, Barbara and I decided to organize a Holiday Talent Show for students from the two 9-year schools, and one of the local basketball coaches (whose children were performing) was at every rehearsal helping us to translate for the children, organize the performances, and prepare the students.

The talent show was a fun way for the students to express themselves and to bring the community together before the holidays!

After our Drama Camp in the summer, we initially wanted to try and put on a Christmas pageant, but a full blown dramatic performance would have required a lot more rehearsals that the students just didn’t have time for.

So we settled on a happy medium. A talent show would allow students to show off their skills, and they could practice individually or in groups in their own time. We held the performance in the cinema, and we held open rehearsals every day for a week leading up to the event so students could get a feel for the stage.

In the end, the participants performed for an audience of 100 community members, and the show featured over 14 acts, including singing, dancing, poetry recitations, and instrumental performances. It was a fun way for the students to express themselves creatively and to bring the community together before the holidays!

Check out my full account of the event below:  Continue reading “Permet’s Holiday Talent Show”

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The 2017 Permet Drama Camp: Part 3 (Final)

In the last two days of camp, we had a rough final rehearsal and then it was show time! The students were incredibly excited, the performance went off without a hitch, and I was so, so proud of everyone who dedicated their time and effort for the production!

Friday, August 25, 2017, 11:12pm

Oh boy. Today’s Drama Camp did not go well. In fact it was a hot mess. We got off to a slow start (lot of students had been at the concert yesterday, so they took their sweet time arriving this morning) and then as we were about to get started, a group of tourists arrived and used our room for a good twenty minutes.

Today’s Drama Camp did not go well. In fact it was a hot mess.

We took the students downstairs, gave them a debriefing, and then played an icebreaker game. Then out of the blue our country director arrived in Permet wanting to check out our rehearsal. So we had to organize the students and get them to do something productive while Peace Corps staff was still there – all without our nice, air conditioned room with music.

I ran choreography in the unfinished room on the second floor. It was hot and cramped, and we couldn’t really hear the music, but the students still danced and had a good time. Afterwords we finally got our room back and then we were able to run the entire drama from the start, which went relatively smoothly.

Once the Peace Corps staff left, things went down the tube fast for several reasons:  Continue reading “The 2017 Permet Drama Camp: Part 3 (Final)”

The 2017 Permet Drama Camp: Part 2

In the middle of the week, the other volunteers and I continued to hold rehearsals (some more successful than others), and we also attended the Marathon of Singers, a huge musical performance in the center of town!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 11:31pm

It was a much calmer, more relaxed day! Our Drama Camp went pretty well this morning. I’m still worried about blocking (making sure that the students understand where they need to stand) and nailing down a location for the final performance, but overall things went smoothly.

Standing and dancing for hours really takes it out of you. I don’t know how I did it every day in high school!

We started out our day with a get-to-know-you activity (since the students still hadn’t really met the volunteers formally yet). Afterwords we went straight into choreography, and there were enough new students that I had to slow down and re-teach the ending dance for the third or fourth time. But it’s simple enough now that it’s not difficult to learn.

Afterwords we did a script reading of the entire play followed by a focus solely on Act One. We ended choreography around 11:20am then I had some downtime before running choreo with the actors one last time. And by the end of the day I was exhausted all over again. Whew. Standing and dancing for hours really takes it out of you. I don’t know how I did it almost every day in high school. Continue reading “The 2017 Permet Drama Camp: Part 2”

The 2017 Permet Drama Camp: Part 1

In the final weeks of summer, my site mate Barbara, our community counterpart, and I organized a drama camp for the local students! In the first few days of camp, we held auditions, taught choreography, and even had enough time for a trip to the hot springs!

In late July, my sitemate Barbara and our counterpart, a young community organizer named Sara (who’s also my host aunt, though she’s a year younger than me), attended the final performance of a Peace Corps theatre camp in Kelcyre.

Sara was so inspired by their great work that she returned to Permet with the spark of an idea. She wanted to implement a play camp in our community – and before the end of the summer!

The camp got off to a slow start, but by the middle of the week, we had a full cast of actors, a large group of dances, and students workin on set design.

With time running out before the beginning of the school year, Barbara and I collaborated with Sara for about two weeks writing the script, choosing the music, figuring out choreography, and organizing other logistics. We recruited a great team of volunteers, and we also got a lot of support from Bashkia Permet, who helped provide us with meeting and performance spaces, a speaker system, and other set design pieces.

Long story short, the camp got off to a slow start, but by the middle of the week we had a full cast of actors, a large group of dancers, and lots of students working on set design! As the dance instructor, I led the choreography sessions each day, getting in my exercise for the week while also bonding with the students. Continue reading “The 2017 Permet Drama Camp: Part 1”