That’s what our 25 students from Strathcona chanted as they entered the open studio space at the Vancouver Opera for the final day of DAREarts Vancouver 2014. These two words were the chorus of the song that the students created to celebrate their DAREarts experience. During the one week program, our youth were empowered through the arts to be the best versions of themselves and overcome the issue of bullying.
Earlier this year, our students attended the Vancouver Opera’s production of Stickboy, an opera about the birth of a bully. Inspired by both the themes of Stickboy and its multimedia elements, the youth of DAREarts Vancouver created their own stories addressing bullying through animation.
After a week of hard work, the youth screened their films for their families, members of the community and representatives from our lead sponsor, Northbridge Insurance. Two students, Tabitha and Darian, were the MCs for the screening. Though they began the week more reserved than their peers, both of them volunteered to take on the spotlight on the last day of program!
We were also honoured to have our Elder Mary Jane Joe (Ne’tkco) welcome the guests to the traditional territory of the Coast Salish people and invite them to celebrate the leadership of these amazing students.
Since our students also explored other art forms outside of animation (including music, dance, theatre, spoken word and sculpture), they joined our Elder in welcoming the guests with their own music and dance.
One of our students, Powell, particularly enjoyed the dance portion. After some initial troubles with discipline earlier in the week, Powell connected with our dance teacher, Mark Siller, and became motivated to participate. Dance helped Powell focus and stay motivated. By the end of the week, his role in the dance, as a bully who experiences a transformation, received great applause.
Our students also created a beautiful spoken word piece about the two wolves – a good one and a bad one — that live in all of us. “Which one will you choose?” they asked the audience.
Excellent instruction by our artists-as-educators helped the students explore each art form. Through them, all of our students learned the importance of teamwork, going where you are needed, and how to display Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence.
Here’s what our students and guests had to say about DAREarts Vancouver:
“Animation was really fun and tiring and I am excited to perform for our community,” said Brandon, a grade 7 student.
Another grade 7 student said he was “feeling epic!”
“Thank you for providing this opportunity and for teaching our children so much!” said a school principal.
The animations were definitely one of the biggest hits with the students and it was great watching them all work so well together. Take a look at the video below to see the shorts the children created:
Many thanks to the youth who attended the program for the energy and creativity they brought to DAREarts. We would also like to thank the Vancouver Opera and Northbridge Insurance for all of their support, as well as our Lead Vancouver Teacher, Shelley MacDonald, and DAREarts Coordinator, Trish De Luca. Together, you made DAREarts Vancouver legendary and spectacular!
We can’t wait to return in January!