Alexandra Maricich is entering her second year of teaching for HeART with LINES. She first joined LINES community programs last spring as a lead teaching artist for our newest partnership (at the time), 7th Grade Integrated Language Arts and Dance at DeMarillac Academy in the Tenderloin. The following essay is a reflection of the 12-week residency in which Ali taught the Heart with LINES curriculum for concept-based dance learning to 7th graders, in-school, integrating the core subject of language arts to support the creativity, originality and embodiment of the students’ individual works of poetry.
Reflections by Alexandra Maricich
I love this place.
This place where boundaries become known.
Where the physical is activated.
Where laughter, rigor and repetition live.
The nerves are always surprising. No matter how prepared you are, and indeed I was, there is nothing like the first day. This day instills the ritual. It seals a mutual commitment. The commitment I was making; that Alonzo King LINES Community Programs through HeART with LINES was making; that DeMarillac Academy was making to its students by presenting an artist in the classroom…was comprised of dance integrated into a 7th grade language arts lesson and curriculum. We worked for 10 weeks. Working through the student created poems and writing as well as movement themes, large ideas of dance and the universal language of the creative process.
Dance is magic. Structure matters. Form matters. But what dance truly does is generate community.
I witnessed the 7th grade language arts class at DeMarillac Academy come together and work through their discomfort, their intuition resulting in movement empathy. They were offered a space to occupy their agency and know their bodies which lead to a greater output of community care.
I will never forget the moment a student came up to me and told me she loved the class because it woke her up and made her feel alive. How profound. The body as sight of goodness and wakefulness in a 7th grader that has limited space or time to connect in such a way.
Working with Alonzo King LINES Community Programs’ HeART with LINES residency program has been significant for me in my practice as a teacher and dancer. I believe dance can inherently create community but it is a novelty to be working with an organization that breaths such a notion. They listen, learn and dig deep with their partnership which are completely inclusive to their teaching artist. I have never felt so able to learn as a facilitator yet bring forth my knowledge. As a teaching artist, HeART with LINES brings priorities to the forefront:
We move together.
We sweat together.
We are community.
Ali will be returning to DeMarillac in the spring of 2017 to get this year’s new class of 7th graders moving and writing to their utmost creative potential. In 2016-2017, HeART with LINES is proud to be expanding its programming, reaching public class rooms in Hunter’s Point and Berkeley.