This newsletter is written and reported solely by students of the Bard Early College Academy. Working with these students in English classes has afforded me the opportunity to meet and read the works of many talented and expressive young writers, some of whom I met with additionally in a small journalism workshop. Together we discussed the major concepts of journalism, including objectivity, conciseness, leads, and interviews. Beyond our discussions of broader themes, however, students in the workshop were responsible for every step in the process, including the decision of which topics to write on, reporting on chosen subjects, and of course the actual writing. As the editor of BHSEC’s student newspaper, I am extremely pleased with the final result and feel that the writers have not only learned much about the subject but have also produced well organized, highly readable and informative journalism. Enjoy! - Will Glovinsky
The students of Bard
Academy have been studying math, humanities and dance, and attended
enrichment sessions. The Early College Academy program mainly
focuses on deeper thinking and preparing students for rigorous high
school work. Each of the teachers, most of whom teach at Bard High
School Early College, had a specific way of approaching a subject to
help students probe into complicated topics.
In math class, for
example, the teacher
emphasized the "meaning" of various laws of mathematics. For
example, the instructor wanted students to understand the
distributive law of multiplication, not merely memorize it. Students
used games to help comprehend and apply the laws they learned, such
as a math version of 'Jeopardy.'
teacher focused on
teaching students self-reflection and understanding ourselves as
writers and people. Students wrote essays, prompts and responded to
music. There was a heavy concentration on what mattered to students,
and how to approach a topic indirectly.
| Dance was a very
surprising class. Students thought it would be only hip-hop, but when
studying they were soon learning Martha Graham modern, ballet,
African, as well as hip-hop. The instructor required students not
only to be familiar with technical terms but also the etymology of
the names and the history behind the moves.
students learned about
study skills, listening, developing resumes and resolving problems. The
teacher taught topics that she felt students would need to be
successful in a high school environment, and conducted workshops on
time management and dealing with stress.
History and Language: The hidden factors of a well sculpted dance
Sabrina C. Jones
On July 26th, 2007 Vissi Dance Theater showed an audience of Bard Early
College Academy students and their families that dance can be so much
more than just dance. It can be a history lesson and it can be a
culture statement. Dance is always more than what meets the
The night started with "The Hoarde," a dance that incorporated many
languages of movement. It was a love story, and although a
love story told through dance might call to mind a delicate ballet with
girls in tutus and men carrying them around for most of the show, this
piece beautifully executed techniques like modern and African dance.
'The Hoarde' used music and movement to weave together
narrative. Scene 1 was 'The Carnival,' a festive engagement
where the Prince and Princess of the story are
introduced. Scene 2 'Un Beso,' meaning 'one kiss'
in Spanish entailed exactly what the title suggested. Scene
3, 'Run Thunder, Run' is an obvious scene of fear. The music,
the dance implementation, the expression on the dancers' faces and the
running made the audience believe that there was something to be afraid
of. The fourth and final scene, 'Osiris and the Legion of Death,' was
even more terrifying than the preceding one, although the dancers in
black leather costumes and gray spiked Mohawks were funny
looking. Everyone in the audience knew that this scene was
supposed to be a serious one but more people were laughing than
thinking about how grave the situation was.
A very short intermission took place giving the dancers a minute to
change costumes and mood. The next piece, 'Amazing Grace,'
showed a cheerful church service. It was quite apparent that
the audience enjoyed this piece. There were people dancing in
their seats and snapping their fingers. If you were not
there, you would think that the dancers just skipped around on stage
smiling. In fact, they were able to maintain their form and
technique while showing that it was a church service and their attire,
their movements and the music of the Chicago Mass Choir were all very
appropriate. There is always the typical stomping and
shouting that many people think takes place at church and, though that
is not always the case, the dancers played with that common perception
to get the choreographer's message across.
of the most touching pieces of the night, 'House of the Rising Sun,' is
a very well known play, dance and song. The first act shows a
son determined to keep up with his father's every footstep, turn and
jump. His attempts to follow his father become too much for
him. He gets tired and grows weak. His father
realizes that he was too hard on him and did not even acknowledge his
son's efforts. I suspect that some of the parents
and students in the audience could relate to this dance.
The next act told of a slave auction and the dance told of the horrid
olden times down south when slaves were nothing to be concerned
about. Then dancers did such a great job telling the story
and doing it so almost everybody could comprehend the themes.
The music complemented the choreography and the dance told the story so
emotionally that even something as horrible as a slave auction became
enjoyable to watch.
'Big Up' was the last performance of the night. It was not a
story in the same sense as the other dances but was engaging in its own
way. It was a more contemporary style of dance and the
performers knew how to draw the crowd in even deeper in the feeling of
the dance. This was the ending piece of the performance but
it was not the end of the show.
To conclude the night in an educational manner, there was a question
and answer session where we learned that the performers are not only
hard working on the stage, but most hold day jobs. In the
company there is a lawyer, a nurse, a teacher and a nanny.
All the four pieces were different, but the same people performed each
one so I wanted to know what the one thing was that all four pieces
have in common. Of course, the effort, sweat and spirit are
things that most dances have in common but, as the director stated, "In
these dances, the biggest thing that is found throughout the use of
dances is the use of language, not the language of tongue but the
language of the body and feeling."