Dear da Vinci Parents and Families,
I hope you are well. February 2nd is Connie Cheifetz’s Birthday and da Vinci Founder’s Day. In keeping with Connie’s vision, on Thursday, Dance 3-4 students treated their parents and friends to a wonderful informal showcase that included class work and performance “works in progress.” The latter, fully costumed by da Vinci parent Sara Estrella, delighted and entertained in three different styles.
Renee Meiffren’s ballet piece starts casually in a diner, and then bursts into action with a lively mix of jukebox jive and ballet! Blending technique is challenging, and her students demonstrated skill and energy! Claire Olberding’s piece began with Gabe Rosenfield playing a solo Conga drum, and then it transitioned into fluid movement that matched the percussive sounds. On the floor, moving through space with jumps, turns, and elegant moves the dancers tell their own story. Sara Martin’s piece, to the music Pack Up the Louie by Caro Emerald, transports you to 1940’s train station. With luggage in hand, the dancers weave a tale of travel and personal stories. Each piece, using small groups, ensemble, and an occasional solo, is skillfully choreographed and, and entertained the appreciative audience.
The pieces were showstoppers, but what made it all look so easy is the daily, serious classwork that undergirds every movement. Dance, da Vinci’s Physical Education, is physics in motion—an exacting science and art. It takes 10 years to train a dancer, so every minute of class time matters. An American Ballet Theatre Certified Instructor, Ms. Meiffren is teaching a refined syllabus that builds healthy stance and muscle memory so that students gradually develop the correct muscles needed for classical technique. Straight knees, extended spines, and correct turn out from the hip are essential elements. With only one ballet class a week, students are making excellent progress.
Dance Department Chair, Claire Olberding explained how the Luigi technique came to be because gifted dancer Luigi suffered a serious car accident, and as rehabilitation created a movement style that "never stops moving." The movement is sinewy, grounded, bold, and subtle, teaching students nuanced refinements that help them expressively move. The Luigi technique demands strength and ease as students work hard to make this lyrical and challenging style look easy. The blend of tempos, levels, basic and complex movements expose students to a wonderful array of movement vocabulary.
Now in her third year at da Vinci, Sara Martins, teaches her students the "best of the best!” As part of her curriculum, Sara skillfully blends the outstanding work of Brenda Buffalino, Honi Coles, Steve Condos and other great Tap Masters. These intricate, fun, rhythms have the dancers focusing and smiling as they navigate the subtle syncopations. As Ms. Martins explained, for “stamina, her students will repeat these combos faster until their muscles ache.”
The Dance 3-4 Showcase offers a snapshot of daily da Vinci dance training. Few middle schools have such a comprehensive program. A former principal dancer with Oregon Ballet Theatre commented on the "great teaching and the skill of the dancers.” Congratulations ladies and students, and stay tuned for May’s Spring Dance Concert for much more!
Scholastic Writing Awards
Despite the December inclement weather, Ms. Lanigan managed to motivate 11 students to submit 14 pieces. As she describes, "Personally, I was grateful the paperwork even got to NYC as I mailed the packet of money and forms (via overnight mail) as snow began falling the Wednesday before Christmas. Everything was due that Friday."
Congratulations to Ms. Lanigan, Amber, Gabriel, and Ella who won four poetry awards.
Amber McConnell, Silver Key for "What He Took With Him"
Amber McConnell, Honorable Mention for "What We All Are"
Gabriel Robinson, Honorable Mention for "Sorrow Home"
Ella Van Schoick, Honorable Mention for "An Inevitable Falling"
An Introduction and correction
With great pleasure, I want to introduce Textile teacher Jessica Hickey. Jessica works with Kelda Van Patten during our period 1 Textile class and her expertise and passion are inspiring our students to new heights. When I previously announced the Scholastic Art Awards, I failed to include Jessica. I apologize for my omission. Please enjoy a brief summary of her experience:
Jessica Hickey lives and works in Portland, OR. She received her Master of Fine Arts in contemporary art practice from Portland State University, and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Oregon in fibers and ceramics. Currently, she is the Fibers Studio Manager at Oregon College of Art and Craft. Hickey has taught textile, ceramic, and mixed media arts courses for Oregon College of Art and Craft, Nike Design Atelier program, Eugene Metropolitan Parks District and more. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally utilizing hand woven textile, sculptural, and installation methods. We are so pleased to share Jessica’s background and so fortunate to have her working with Kelda and our students — Thank you, Jessica!
Corrected "Brava, Bravo Scholastic Art Awards!"
I am thrilled to share that this year, our visual art students taught by Kelda Van Patten, Austin, Jasmine Spiegel, and Jessica Hickey earned 153 Scholastic Art Awards (24 Gold, 29 Silver, 90 Honorable Mention). Working with these inspiring teachers and mentors over the last three years, our students won 109 Awards in 2015, 92 last year, and this year 153 awards. This success speaks to the exceptional support, teaching and student creativity that is da Vinci. Kelda, Jasmine, Austin, Jessica and students, congratulations! Here is a slide show of the Gold Key awards: View our slideshow.
From Kelda, Austin, Jasmine and Jessica:
"Congratulations to ALL students who entered artwork into the Scholastic Art Awards, and thank you, Liz, who supported students in the process of submitting their work. We love you all and your work is amazing!
The Scholastic Gold Key exhibition will be at PNCA (Pacific Northwest College of Art, 511 NW Broadway) from Jan.29-Feb.25.
It’s da Vinci 2017 RAFFLE time! Our Foundation Raffle is Win-Win!
Our Goal is to sell 900 tickets by the drawing on Friday, March 3, at 4:30 pm.
Each ticket costs $10.
Here is the positive impact:
Here’s how, it is quick and easy:
THANK YOU in advance, we sooooo appreciate your support :) …all contributors win the da Vinci Raffle!
The da Vinci Foundation Team