When the movie “The Hunger Games” took in over $500million last year, one thought came to everyone’s mind. When’s the sequel?
A logical question, based on the fact that author Suzanne Collins had written two follow-up books in the trilogy; both were published before the movie version hit the screen. The second in the series, “Catching Fire,” is in production, set to be released in theaters in November 2013.
But why wait? Community School of Davidson is bringing the book to the stage in a dance production set for Dec. 15. And like any good sequel, this one promises to be even bigger and better than its predecessor, which was performed a year ago.
The process started last year, when Community School of Davidson middle-school dance teacher Sara Keys noticed the “Hunger Games” books in the backpacks of many of her students. Hearing students speak so passionately about the series, she decided to read it herself – and envisioned movement and choreography.
The result was the winter dance production of “The Hunger Games.” The hourlong performance consisted of 20 dances in which half the middle school participated.
Last year, Keys was thrilled with what her students learned. “The unit really allowed the kids to explore character and emotion, and my kinesthetic learners were able to recall character details more easily by interpreting them through movement,” Keys said at the time.
This year, the dance program has grown 30 percent, with 107 students from the “Hunger Games” production returning for “Catching Fire,” and an additional 116 more participating for the first time. This is the first year in the dance program that boys outnumber the girls in some of the classes. Since middle school can be an awkward age, “this really encourages them to be comfortable in their own skin and develop their confidence,” Keys said.
Keys learned quite a bit from her first experience and has applied that to this go-round. “I knew that even if I had a vision in my head of the possible end product that it would change and develop over time due to how my students create, respond and add ideas in class that make it better as we go along,” she said.
In response to the kids’ suggestions, Keys has added characters and changed props, playlists and costumes over the course of the semester. Because she had a better understanding of the amount of time and energy required, Keys offered summer classes to students to get a head-start on choreography.
As challenging as the process has been Keys feels that everyone has reaped the benefits. “I discovered during challenging assignments such as these that my students will give me their best effort, a gift that goes beyond words. I love that I have the opportunity to witness a unique side of students in dance class that can be so different from any other part of their school day,” she said.
“Last year’s performance was by far one of the best teaching experiences I ever shared with students so I know this time that no matter how hard it might be, it would be worth the relationship and trust I develop in the process. Watching students grow closer as friends, and in their confidence, creativity and passion for the arts is so rewarding.”
Amy Reiss is a freelance writer for Lake Norman News. Have a story idea for Amy? Email her at email@example.com.
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