Wednesday, February 25, 2015

3 - 2 - 1! Here we go!!

In 3 - yes, THREE - days, we will fly our frosty New York City coop and land in the one and only, the legendary New Orleans.

I can't wait!

We had a rather busy weekend! Our Oscars Sunday was filled with fundraising, rehearsing, performing, and working through some logistics to ensure that we're prepared for our week of service.

Our weekly meeting began with a rehearsal of our "Dancin' in the Streets/Dance to the Music" mash-up which we will soon be performing all over New Orleans. So many wonderful riffs and amazing partnering moments! Sneak peek footage coming soon!

After an energizing mini rehearsal, we discussed some logistics, covering everything from teaching protocols to packing lists. (We gotta make sure we don't forget to pack those beautiful team t-shirts!) As we had our teaching touch-base, I thought back to this time last year when I, as a new teammate, eagerly prepared for our time in the classroom. At that point, all of my teaching experience had involved dance instruction, and though I looked forward to co-teaching arts enrichment and drama classes, I was a bit nervous about how those classes would actually go: How many students would be in each class? For some, would this be their first time in a drama class? Would the students have fun? Would they enjoy the games my co-teachers and I led? What if we run out of exercises or something "bad" happens?

And then we arrived in New Orleans, gave classes to several eager groups of students, found a productive co-teaching dynamic, and found that our students were generous, fearless teachers themselves. With teaching, much like live performance, you have to go with the flow. The unanticipated will always happen in the classroom. And it's those unplanned moments that often offer profound opportunities for discovery for everyone, teachers especially. I love those moments where a student embraces their perceived slip-ups as much as their successes; they're beautiful moments.

Suffice it to say, as we reviewed our teaching teams during our Sunday meeting I found myself brimming with excitement for the brilliant and unexpected moments we're bound to have next week!

After our meeting, we also had a benefit concert. Thanks to the generosity of the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, our hosts for the lovely benefit concert, we performed an eclectic program featuring many of our teammates. Our cabaret offered a little something for everyone: Bach concertos, original works choreographed and performed by our dancers, some Shakespeare, contemporary theater, jazz, a medley of standards, and some amazing operatic spirituals. It was so inspiring watching my teammates speak through their muses! Their technical dexterity is enlivened by their generosity of spirit. It's a pleasure to watch them perform.

And last but not least, we drew our raffle. Congratulations to our lucky winners and HUGE thank you to everyone who supported our fundraising endeavors!

Until next time,


Sunday, February 1, 2015

That's right, the rumors are are not heard correctly. 
It's time to go back to New Orleans! Wooo!
...well, we still have another month before we actually leave, but the wheels of this bus are a-turnin'. One more month until we are back in that wonderful little city with the biggest soul, and the best beignets. And I couldn't be more excited. Are you intrigued? Curious? Interested? Want to help out? Let me fill you in.

Well hey. 
My name is Riley O'Flynn and I am a second year dancer here at Juilliard. But you can call me Riles. This is my second year on the New Orleans Service Project. I simply had to return on this adventure after last year's life-changing experience. Never before have I laughed so much in one week. So. Much. Laughter. Don't believe me? Take a look.

^That is what a typical night looks like in New Orleans.

Now, here's what a typical team meeting looks like.

Sunday, February 1st 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
We hold all team meetings in the 11th floor lounge. 
 We start each team meeting with an ice breaker. 
 Today, we got our raffle tickets! Thomas is clearly excited about it. 
Now it's time to sell, sell, sell! 
 Our fearless leaders Allison and Angela. Jazzy J, the third 
student leader was not able to make it to the meeting today. 
 Our other fearless leaders, Rebecca and Sabrina! 
Malik, with our finalized mission statement today. 

2015 Mission Statement: 
"As creative and generous young artists, the 2015 New Orleans Service Project team will celebrate and contribute to the city's ongoing revitalization by openly sharing ourselves and our own "soul food" - the arts - with the New Orleans community. Cultivating curiosity, confidence and courage, we will use this soul food to feed hears and minds, uplift sprits and spark positive change. Art Invigorates." 

Our third meeting was a success! 

Now it's time to sell those raffle tickets, promote the indiegogo donation page, and find our way to New Orleans. I know that we can do it! 

And remember... Art Invigorates 

Till next time,