After relaxing holiday, the new term has come. After two weeks, our quiet campus has returned to its vitality with children’s lovely faces and loads of laughter. March in Beijing is showing its typical vicissitude – warm some days and then cold winter comes back with force. If you observe carefully, you will see the willows have sprouted and poplar trees are waving with the wind. Next thing you know, beautiful spring is ushered in with green leaves and colorful flowers. At BIBS UES campus, this season is our favorite time of year as we hold our annual grand event – The Spring Show.
Since BIBS was founded in 1993, the Spring Show tradition has continued for 17 years. It is more than BIBS’ big annual event, it can be more aptly described as the epitome of the philosophy and culture of BIBS. Every year, a huge amount of people from UES begin to prepare for this show. The reason why we use “huge” is because the spring show involves nearly a thousand people including all the BIBS UES family members, from school leaders to administrative staff, from teachers to students and parents. The main production team comprised of teachers is responsible for screenwriting, music, lighting, choreography, costumes, props and so on. They work carefully and skillfully, not only to create a platform of professional standards close to Broadway, but also a program that fits all the students performing on stage. It is worth to mention that all of this hard work is done beyond their normal teaching time. In addition, the students take on extensive training and rehearsals in their spare time as well.
Strolling on the campus and passing the arts office, I saw quiet Mr. Nathan concentrating on cutting a castle wall. In the dining room, the Grade 5 homeroom teacher Ms. Grace F. was jumping up and down wildly to demonstrate for her students without regard to how she looked. Our Principal, Ms. Felicity Hewett, held a self-made flashing spider umbrella prop and showing it around, joyful as a small child. Moreover, the dedicated children in each dancing room were dripping with sweat from the training to make sure each move was precise. All of these have reminded me of a proverb: “ don’t ask, just do the right things.”
Now, March 26 is right around the corner and although it has been a mammoth challenge, everyone is ready for Show Time! An elective class at Harvard University divided happiness into four dimensions: satisfaction, joy, engagement and meaning. All our staff members concur and encourage the students to do their very best. Together, every child vigorously pursue their passion, happily participate, reach their goal, get satisfaction and understand the meaning of this significant experience, what could be more worth the effort than this?
(Performance Art Dep., BIBS Upper East Campus)(Director of Spring Show 2016)
“Twilight” is a very brief, but very defined, moment each day when daylight turns to nighttime. It provides the most stunning colors and textures as the final rays of sunshine cross over the horizon. As I reflected on this moment of brilliance in between day and night, I started to imagine stories that can be told about moments “in between”…right and wrong, black and white, good and bad, life and death. Each piece in the show illustrates a moment in between…. and allows the audience to fill in the before and after for themselves.
This year we have a vast multitude of “special parts”; some of which were cast by audition, others were open to anyone who wanted to “sign up”. Aside from their regular grade level practices, students in these special parts have the opportunity for more rigorous training in the performing arts, but even more for their own personal time management and teamwork skills. Most special practices take place during regularly scheduled recess periods, and students were responsible and accountable for knowing where to be and making sure they got themselves there without supervision. As I have a great love of partnering in my choreography, students have been learning how to work together….not just with their attitudes, but also with their bravery (and physics)! I’m very, very proud that we have one of the few primary school dance programs in the world where the boys aren’t afraid to pick the girls up over their heads (and the girls are eager to be lifted).
Every part of a live performance applies all of the academic work that we do. Our drops are designed using the Pythagorean theorem. Dancers must have a keen understanding of anatomy and kinesiology to execute my highly challenging choreography. This past weekend we considered chemistry when dyeing our fabrics. Every costume piece, feather, light, program, drum, and tap shoe is part of an extremely detailed financial plan. Elements of this year’s show take a very deep, very profound look at moments in recent history in both Southeast Asia and the USA. When we’re designing and building costume parts or props in class, we do far, far more math than I ever thought I would be doing in my lifetime.
I’m very lucky to work with such a wonderful teaching staff, whom help to bring the ideas and concepts we discuss in music and dance into the Unit of Inquiry lessons. I get really jazzed when I see the students making the connections. The committee is a group of warriors. Most have never worked on a musical production before, and none (including me) a production of this massive size. Yet, they throw themselves into the work with aplomb. When accounting the performers, crew, staff, ushers, and all the behind-the-scenes, we are coordinating the movements of 800 people for an hour-long presentation. I don’t know anywhere else in the world that does this annually. I have been truly blessed with the most wonderful committee members I could have asked for two years in a row. I bring them the most wacky, off-the-wall ideas I can think of, and we all roll our sleeves up and get to work. The pre-production work begins in early October (though we usually have an idea of next year’s theme before the current year is over), and after Christmas holidays we are meeting regularly. The great obstacle now we are having is Time. There is never enough!!!!! Now the work is non-stop. But, as rehearsals are also getting more intense, more members of our school community are able to see little sneak-peeks of what is to come, and we see it is all worth it. We are very, very eager for the curtain to go up, so you can see what we have been doing!
Dora L.’s Mom
( Dora L. – Grade 5, Upper East Campus)
“As a parent, I like the way that school makes significance importance of the spring show each year. My daughter has been on the spring show stage for five years in a row. The efforts she makes in intense practices and participation in the almost year-long process is definitely a way of learning! To my point of view, learning should not only be about grades. I saw my daughter committed to attend rehearsals and practices responsibly—without any supervision. She works very hard for the moment but enjoys it all and she will be proud of herself on the stage. The happiness and achievement she gets will bring lifelong benefits. Sometimes when she gets home, she will cry about her sore feet and blisters, but she never complains or misses one of the rehearsals, I am sure there is a magic power that is supporting her to overcome those obstacles.”
Lucy W. (Grade 6,Upper East Campus)
“There’s only one spring show per year, and we are all very excited! This is a show that involves the whole school, and we will all do our very best on completing the show. This musical production, no matter of your level, you can sing and dance, and get a chance to “show off” yourself.
I’ve already spent six years at BIBS, and preparing for the spring show is hard work, but I’m use to it by now. Our homeroom teacher will assign us lots of responsibilities, and I try my best to use the time wisely and complete them. Instead of affecting my studies, it has helped me improve—by developing multi-task management skills. The a big change that I get from this show is that I’m not scared of my mom anymore, the person I am most of afraid is Mr. Andrew Delo！Haha～ Back to our topic, when I first joined dance ensemble, it’s tough but I adapted. I have discovered that both my flexibility and harmony have greatly improved, and it takes me less time to learn a new dance. In UES Spring Show practice, I worked really well with my partner.”