In a weeklong showcase earlier this month, through various modes of artistic expression, the middle school shared its knowledge of Latin America.
Over the course of the first semester, teachers provided students with a deep understanding of Latin American culture by studying not only its diverse history, geography, and literature, but also its diverse art, music and traditions.
To start off the week, the seventh-grade performed a variety of traditional Latin American dances—such as salsa, merengue, and bachata. In preparing for the big day, students learned about dance and music theory during their creative arts periods.
Catherine Leeder ’20 said that the learning showed her how to express emotion through movement, and that doing so was “fun and exciting.”
In addition to dancing, students learned about animal symbolism. They then created works of art depicting their unique animal spirt guides, influenced by traditional Latin American art. During the exhibition, students also displayed their art in the cafeteria and solarium.
The eighth-grade delivered monologues about everyday life in Latin America. Many dealt with difficult childhood memories and challenges.
In addition to monologues, students began the year by studying the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead. To further their appreciation, students drew colorful skulls in soft pastel.
The sixth-grade presented Latin American folktales The Sleeping Mountain and A Gift for Patachuti Inca, accompanied by drumming and percussion.
“We added music and made [the folktales] like musicals,” said Stephanie Spector’ 21. “Based on the folktales’ theme, we added instrumental work to make it more emotional.”
To prepare, in music class, students learned about Latin American rhythm, harmony, and melody. Students also practiced Brazilian drumming and in art class, they created their own symbols to represent themselves. The class drew inspiration from Huipiles, brightly colored hand-made textiles. Then, the individual symbols were arranged together to form a brightly colored work that depicts the personalities of the entire grade.
– Story by Elizabeth Leeder ’15
– Photos by Katya d’Angelo