Several months ago, my director informed us that we would be having what I interpreted as a day where other education officials and teachers from the town can come and observe our classes at our school. At the very same time, he expressed a desire for me to dance in said observation. Now, although I love to dance, I hate doing so upon request. Don’t know why, I’m weird that way. But my director is very persistent and he gave me a student dancer who was to choreograph the dance and privately instruct me. Fine.
Elene was one of the teachers chosen to do a lesson for that day and she was to give a presentation of her last two years of being trained to instruct other teachers on different methods. And because she was chosen that means I, too, was chosen. So for the next several weeks we brainstormed ideas for both.
I remember when I was growing up, watching movies or videos of ‘demonstrations’ in Communist countries; Soviet Union, China. These demonstrations would basically take the form of a huge parade of massive amounts of people in a town square either dancing, singing or marching. I remember thinking then, “They must have practiced for hours to do such synchronized movements…”
When the observation day was announced, one class, my sixth grade, was on a section in the book called, “Old customs in the New World”. And that’s where we stayed for the next several weeks until the observation. The students were drilled back and forth as to how to pronounce and recite several pages of information on Tibetans, Sami peoples, Incas and Bedouins. She expanded the lesson and coached them on how to talk about cultural aspects of Georgia. Now the perplexing part is where one day, she took me aside and said that she HATED when teachers practiced with their kids what to say during an observation. So obviously she saw a difference, but what that difference was is beyond my comprehension.
I started learning the Georgian dance almost immediately. My instructor was a student named Tatia. She was super strict and not friendly AT ALL. Which is good for me, because I just wanted to learn the dance. She had a friend, Ana who came with her, too. Eventually Ana would become my dance partner. We practiced during school, which was weird, but only once a week. Closer to the day of the observations, Tatia started becoming more and more absent. Ana took more and more of a commanding role. Actually we had been practicing without music, but Ana brought in the track we were to dance to. She also changed some of the steps to fit better.
The day before and of the presentations, EVERYONE was cleaning and preparing. Scrubbing the walls, hiding broken equipment, etc. The guests would not arrive until noon, so there was one last dress rehearsal at 10. This is when I found out I would NOT dance with Ana, but with the dance teacher and her daughter. Not only would I dance with new people, but they were going to change the song and choreography. …Okay. So I learned this new choreography as fast as I could, then found out the teacher’s daughter would not dance with us after all, because Ana heard about being cut out and started bawling and she didn’t understand why THIS student could dance with me but she couldn’t. Drama. So it ended up being the dance teacher and myself.
So we performed the open lesson for the other teachers in town, did the presentation of Elene’s experiences then had the mini concert. In addition to my performance there were other singers, dancers and poetry recitals. We have a depth of talent at this school.
All in all, I would say it was a very successful day. The rehearsing paid off.