Students in Dr. Charles Donelan’s AP English Literature class at Laguna Blanca are flying high thanks to a partnership between the Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance and Laguna Blanca’s English and performing arts departments.
For four weeks, students will train under the direction of the Centre for Aerial Dance director, Ninette Paloma, culminating in a 45-minute aerial performance entitled Jane Air—an adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre—which will take place on the Laguna campus in Spaulding Auditorium.
Dr. Donelan wrote the adaptation of the novel for the stage over the summer and began meeting with Paloma, who choreographed the piece, in August. Performing Arts Theatre Instructor Dana Caldwell is the theatrical director.
The project is connecting senior students in AP English Literature with theater arts students from the Middle School in a unique experience that merges the Upper School English curriculum with aerial dance.
The intended impact of Jane Air on the school is threefold. First, seniors in AP English Literature will participate in a trust-building physical and mental challenge alongside Middle School students, realizing the value of their maturity and sharing their deep knowledge of English literature in a new and unique way. Second, Middle School students in Theater Arts will participate in an impressive and exciting performance, which they can imagine repeating when they enter the Upper School. Finally, students, parents, and faculty who attend the performance will witness how daring, creative, and talented our students can be.
The students will work one class per week on the aerial dance component and devote some of their other class time to discussing and writing about the work. Students in AP English Literature have already examined Jane Eyre, which was assigned as required summer reading.
The outcome will be an unprecedented reflection of the extent to which our students can collaborate across divisions and learn new and amazing art forms, all while consolidating their understanding of canonical English literature in preparation for the AP exam. It will also be a great outreach project in the form of video and photographic documentation, along with the student-written program.
For further information, contact Dr. Charles Donelan firstname.lastname@example.org or Dana Caldwell email@example.com, or contact the Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance through its website, http://sbaerial.com/index.html.