DAREarts Vancouver: Britannia Elementary’s Students Take Charge

Day 1: Britannia Elementary DAREs to Change!

DAREarts Vancouver

At the Vancouver Opera, the DAREarts delegates were welcomed by Elder N’etktco (Mary Jane Joe).  Their focus for the day was on reflection, goal setting and teamwork.  The visual arts team, Jane and Karen, led the students through a two-sided mask building activity encouraging them to mix paint to create the desired color to reflect their character’s emotions.  The two-sided masks were inspired by the different characters from the Vancouver Opera’s production of Stick Boy: The bully, the bystander, and the target.

“Today was really fun! I’m anxious about not finishing my mask, and I don’t have an absolute plan for my design. But I know I’ll make it because of all the support I receive from the people here!” – Grade 7 student

 Day 2: Dance, Dance, Drum Beat!

DAREarts Vancouver

The students were focused and showed great discipline as they created the dance of the bully, the bystander, and the target with breakdancer and artist-as-teacher Mark Siller.  The Leadership team at DAREarts was so impressed with the enthusiasm, commitment, and responsibility these amazing Grade 7 students showed this week at the Vancouver Opera Rehearsal Space.  They even took to working through their lunch hour, stopping for a quick bite and then heading into the open studio space to finish their paintings or practice their dance moves.  What a way to take action!

“I love dancing! I feel so proud!” – Grade 7 student

 Day 3: “We are a community!”

DAREarts Vancouver

The third DAREarts day began with a triple dare posed to the group by DAREarts teacher and spoken word artist Lori Sherritt-Flemming; she ‘DARE’d the students to be bold, take more risks, and to commit fully, which connected with the week-long theme of leadership. The students directed themselves on their breaks and were even sitting in a circle waiting for the instructors to join them with two minutes to spare! The Students really took action and their group work was very impressive – showcasing their understanding of the importance of teamwork, time management, and communication.

“Today I learned you need to be able to fully trust people to be on a team together!” – Grade 7 student

 Day 4: Lights, Camera, Let’s Make an Animation!

DAREarts Vancouver

The delegates were so eager, they arrived ten minutes early and jumped right into the studio, put on their painting smocks and took action. They worked with filmmakers Brunella Battista (dB digital TV) and Roy Mulder (UWVIDEO1), and brought their artwork and amazing stories of bullying to life. The students also worked with their Masks and practiced their choreography with breakdance artist Mark Siller. DAREarts Lead Teacher for the Vancouver program, Shelley MacDonald, also introduced the Pow Wow drum and shared some of the history and tradition of the instrument. Colleen Maybin from Vancouver Opera facilitated the drum circle, and the students smiled as they created a rhythm together, celebrating each other and their community.

“I felt like it was such a beautiful morning.” – Grade 7 student

 Day 5: Showtime!  

DAREarts Vancouver

Over eighty guests attended the DAREarts Open Studio at the Vancouver Opera, hosted by our wonderful DAREarts delegates. Elder Ne’ketco welcomed everyone and blessed them with a song, after which the lights dimmed and the mask dance began. Next up were the animations, where the director from each group shared a short synopsis about the films that they had made in their production teams.

The students this week took action by digging deep and taking on some pretty heavy themes about bullying – “Trans” was about a young girl who was being bullied because she chose to dress like boy; “We have a voice!” took on cyber bullying, “Pre-Judgment” was about teenage pregnancy, and “Public Park” explored the theme of relationship bullying. One student shared with the audience that although the topics seemed pretty heavy, it was an opportunity for them to heal and express their points of views around topics that needed to be talked about.

The spoken word featured two narrators sharing the story of the two wolves, drumming, and powerful tableaus depicting the negative/ positive voices that we hear.  The audience was left with the question “Which voice will you listen to?” The students were given their certificates of leadership by their teacher, Justin Borsato, DAREarts coordinator Trish Deluca Land, and DAREarts Lead Teacher Shelley MacDonald as the audience clapped and cheered.

Colleen Maybin from the Vancouver Opera helped to facilitate a drum circle that the students lead. Elder Ne’ketco helped close the event in true DAREarts Vancouver style with a round dance that celebrated the community. The Open Studio was student-driven and a strong example of the Excellence the students achieved because they showed Discipline, took Action, were Respectful, Reflective and Responsible.   They are DAREarts!  They are Leadership.

“Thank you for teaching our class DAREarts: Discipline, Action, Responsibility, and Excellence.  It was so fun and exciting.  I loved it.” – Claire, Grade 7 student

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