Artist in Residence: Hannah Beach

Artist in Residence Hannah Beach works with 2Y
Artist in Residence Hannah Beach works with 2Y

During the week of April 11-15, the junior school and little school was fortunate to be able to work with our Artist in Residence, Hannah Beach. Hannah is the founding Director of the Dandelion Dance Company in Ottawa, Ontario; an inclusive dance company for young women that explores social issues through movement. She also founded and directs a school of interpretive movement for children: Tournesol Dance.

Having grown up in a family of nine children and a further 16 sixteen foster siblings, Hannah developed a keen sense of empathy for the differences between people and a strong belief in social justice issues, all leading her to becoming a social worker. Hannah has combined this background with her passion for dance and developed a unique and inclusive approach to creative movement.

Gr. 6's explore social issues through dance
Gr. 6 class explores social issues through dance

The girls at YHS have really benefitted from, and appreciated, Hannah’s approach to dance. Those who were anxious about dancing, having not had much experience, were relieved to find out that there were no “wrong steps”, while those with a lot of experience were challenged to use their creativity to express their true thoughts and feelings, all in a safe environment. The topics covered ranged from fun and silly (have you ever danced “jello”?), to important social issues such as Inclusion, all through dance.

The response from the girls and the teachers has been extremely positive, as you will see from the quotes below. The week wrapped up with a sharing session for Grades 1 to 7, and after of week of intimate work, it was a great way to see the unique journeys each class took. The support of the Parent Association for the Artist in Residence Program is greatly appreciated by all, and certainly enriches our school in ways that words alone cannot express. Perhaps we need to dance it?!

Dawn Haylett, Junior Music Teacher

Watch the video, and the read the the comments from the girls below.

What Did She Say?

It was fun because you got to express yourself, but it was also a bit scary, because you had to make up something yourself. Mallory (ballerina), Gr. 6

We did colour dances and growing as a flower. It was really fun. –  Tera & Lauren B., Gr. 2

I thought it was expressively creative and you could do it even if you didn’t know how to dance. It was hard because you couldn’t be self-conscious.Christina, Gr. 7

It was cool.Isabel Gr. 2

It was fun. It was very different than I thought it would be.Samantha Gr. 4

It was good and fun. She related to us well, and she let us kind of have privileges and responsibilities to choose what we wanted to do. But she had rules that had to be followed and they got us on the right track.Anisha and Rachel, Gr. 7

It was cool. She made us do things I would never of thought of before to do.Katelyn, Gr. 4

It felt like we were free.Keana, Gr. 2

I really loved it. My favourite dance was the dolphin one.Annika, Gr. 1

It was amusing. It was something you don’t expect. Our favourite was the jello dance.Safya & Maya, Gr. 4

It was a little different than normal dance, but it was great. Salima, Gr. 6

I liked how even the shy and anxious girls were just as into it as the more outgoing girls.Miss Nicole, Teacher

It was unique. It made me feel awesome. It was the first time I danced like that.Tess, Gr. 3

My favourite was when my group got to dance cotton candy.Arabella, Gr. 2

It was really awkward at first, but then it got easier after a while.Ann, Gr. 7

I like the books. I like how we get to pitch in ideas for the dance, instead of the teacher coming up with everything.-  Lauren & Marissa, Gr. 6

She was original. It taught us to express our feelings without thinking about what other people would think, and that there are no wrong things in dancing.Kyra, Gr. 5

She is very generous with people. She is kind and she doesn’t laugh at people when they dance.Elaine, Gr. 6

It was awesome!Alicia, Gr. 1

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