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Research Laboratory in South Africa for Fratz International 2020
In association with MusicDance Cape Town and ASSITEJ South Africa

Our project began by asking how we can collaborate with children to compose a music and dance performance together in real-time. Just as we were about to begin our project our president announced a state of national emergency due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Our country has been in lockdown for 6 weeks now; it has taken some time to adjust to this new way of being, but we are also discovering ways that we can still be creative and connect with young audiences during this time.

We have put our energy into learning how we can bring dance and music into the daily lives of young children (age 2-5years). Our idea is to use all we know as dancers, musicians and theatre makers to develop some fun interactive games for children and their parents/caregivers to play together at home. In this way, we hope to enchant families to bring the magic of the theatre into their homes.

The games we offer are guided by basic principles of music and dance composition and will be shared via short and easily accessible online videos. These same games will form the score for our live performance that will eventually be shared with children, either via video, or live performance once we are able to gather again.

We are also interested to see how the activity of families playing these games together can provide a more meaningful experience for them when they eventually watch the full performance. The performance score will be based on the games that we share in the videos which also serve as a valuable priming for when the games are developed into a theatre production.

We are delighted that we will be able to share our little videos with children anywhere in the world and are excited to draw on our diverse creative backgrounds and knowledge of both Western and African music and dance traditions.

We have started by having rehearsals with groups of 2 or 3 using internet platforms such as Skype and Zoom. Once our material is ready for filming, we will gather in small groups to shoot the little videos. We are lucky that our team already has a long history of collaboration to draw from, so this makes the online mediation a bit easier. We hope to create some really fun games to share and be guided to a performance score that we might not have otherwise thought of did we not have to make arrangements to work in such a way.

We hope that our fellow artists are also finding their inspiration during this unusual time.

Thalia, Sumalgy, Faye, Nicola, Manuela, Coila, Vintani

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