ABS Thursday Notes- November 2, 2017

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                November 2, 2017




How We Do It and Why

Mary Siebert


“It takes an athlete to dance, but an artist to be a dancer.” – Shannon LeFleur


When I need a lift, I watch one. I can get that elevation by watching 8th Graders rehearse their dances for “The Lion King,” repeating lifts and steps again and again. Dance rehearsals are visible to other students as they stride past on their way to the restroom, through the windowed garage doors of the dance/drama studio. The positive example set by 8th grade boy-girl couples, fully focused and rehearsing gracefully in respectful cooperation cannot be over-stated.

The choreographer, visiting artist Thao Nguyen, is a graduate of UNCSA. He dances, sings, acts, and choreographs around the area and teaches dance at the Enrichment Center. When I offered Thao this contract I pointed out that, unlike a typical dance studio, our students are not all dancers who have paid for classes. They are public school kids of diverse backgrounds who, while they have performed together for years, do not all identify as dancers. He would need to choreograph according to the strengths of our individuals. He would not be choreographing a show, but choreographing children. Thao listened, then cheerfully and firmly replied that his positive energy would pull them all in. Truer words were never spoken.

Jan Adams, the K-4 dance teacher, prepared these students well for success. They are comfortable enough to work together with a new choreographer, risking error in front of their middle school peers. Years of movement, drama games, ballroom dancing, and acting together have given them confidence and fluency. Thao reports that he loves our students’ positive spirit. He says they are not afraid to try.

To make a grade-level-wide show possible, other staff must be dedicated, flexible, and enthusiastic. They flow with schedule changes designed to maintain an unchanged amount of time for math and science classes, while grouping appropriate characters together for rehearsal. Like parents who engineer possibilities for their children, ABS’ staff work together to make it possible for our students to work on a group project, stepping back to allow the children themselves to receive the accolades. Drama teacher/director Nick Zayas is logs many hours of organization, planning and rehearsal, including late nights at the Hanes Brands Theatre, where he will assist with tech, load in, and strike.

Meanwhile, back at dance class, Thao is coaching: “Enjoy that moment! Doesn’t that look pretty? Yeah it does, trust me. You’re like blades of grass, yes? Do it one more time, because it’s so beautiful it wrenches my heart.” He cues the music and they do it again, every one of them intent. Our newest students, our “shy” students, all of them are stepping into this experience and taking on something new. From the students, I hear that Thao has high expectations but also a sense of humor, he connects with them. It’s common to hear students say: “I would not do 100 sit-ups for just anyone, but I’ll do them for him. You just want to please him.” And:” He brings out an entirely new side of people.”

Middle school children learning to strive harder, support one another, prepare with rigor, take chances, reach goals, leap and trust. I love watching that lift.


Lion King Tickets

Disney’s Lion King Jr. will be performed by ABS 8th graders three times:

Wednesday, November 8th at 6:00 (SOLD OUT)

Thursday, November 9th at 6:00 (Very limited tickets remaining)

Thursday, November 9th at 8:00 (Very limited tickets remaining)

All students are needed for all three performances.


Performances are at the Hanes Brands Theater, 209 Spruce Street N. in Winston-Salem, 27101. The show lasts about one hour. Tickets may be reserved from Mrs. Brown at:  748-4116 x2000 or dbrown@artsbasedschool.com  and may be picked up until Monday, November 6, at our 107 E. 7th Street campus.


Unclaimed tickets will be released, first come, first served, five minutes before show-time. Tickets are free, but a free-will offering will be gratefully accepted to help cover the cost of production.


Lunch monitor

We’re looking the perfect person to monitor our 2-4 grade students while they’re eating lunch in the cafeteria.   This position requires patience, organization, humor, and reliability.  This will be a Monday through Friday position from 10:30am to 1:00pm.  Please email Robin Hollis at rhollis@artsbasedschool.com if you are interested.


No Parent Council Meeting in November

Parent Council will not meet this month.  Our next scheduled meeting is on Friday, December 15 at 8:15 a.m. in the MLK Cafe.  If you have agenda items for that meeting, contact Parent Council Co-Chairs, Joy Blaser (joy.blaser@gmail.com) and Julee Nunley (julee@thenunleys.net).


Shop for Toys & Benefit ABS!

November 4 – 11 is school week at Toys & Co. in the Thruway Shopping Center.  The Arts Based School will receive 20% of all purchases that are made with flyer that is attached to the Thursday Notes e-mail.  This is a great opportunity to get a jump on holiday shopping and benefit our school!


Upcoming ABS Garden Workdays

Friday Garden Work Session and Play Date  October 27 from 1:30-3:30. We’ll get started before the kids get out of school and then let the kids play while we work some more.


Saturday Workdays, 9:30-12:30, October 21 and November 4. RSVP appreciated but not required to kristen@rootsfirst.com.


Tails Wagging Tutors

Beginning this week,  ABS welcomed two specialized therapy dogs trained to “listen” to children read.  The main objective of this program is to provide a relaxed and “dog-friendly” atmosphere, which allows students to practice the skill of reading.  Our reading specialist, Ceci McGuire or counselor, Amanda Sullivan work with the students and the dog trainer during these sessions.

The program is designed to provide a low pressure, high reward experience for learners allowing the child to build confidence in reading.  The child relaxes, pats the attentive dog, and focuses on the reading. Reading improves because the child is practicing the skill of reading, building self-esteem, and associating reading with something pleasant.


Time to Order Your Yearbook!

Order online at www.strawbridge.net – our online code is 106312. The cost is $20. If you prefer to pay by check or cash, you can order with the forms that were sent home in Thursday packets (extra forms are on the front table of the entrance to the MLK building or at Donna’s desk in 7th street building). Orders can be turned in to Donna in the 7th St. building or Angela in the MLK building. Deadline to order is March 1st. And, as always, keep uploading pictures to your class Shutterfly site for possible inclusion in our 2017-18 Yearbook!


Giving Thanks by Giving Back

ABS Builders Club will be holding a relief drive for Hurricane Maria’s devastation to Puerto Rico, and for the earthquake in Mexico. This drive will focus on collecting 4 items; bagged rice and beans, bagged pasta, and plastic water bottles. These items will be delivered to Puerto Rico and Mexico through the Piedmont Triad United for Puerto Rico and Mexico.  The drive will last for two weeks for optimal collection. It will start on October 23rd and end on November 17th.  We will be collecting in both buildings.  Thank you for all your support and generosity

-Julian Wilson, President of Builders Club


Prospective Parents’ Tours

School tours for prospective parents are scheduled weekly on Thursdays at 9:30am.  Each tour is limited to 10 adults in an effort to limit the disruption to our students and teachers in the classrooms.  Parents interested in learning more about ABS and how to enroll their child, should contact the front office to sign up for a tour. 748-4116 ext 1023.  Applications will be accepted beginning January 1.  The lottery will be held the second Tuesday of February.

K-Kids Challenge

At the last Parent Council meeting, Sadie Blalock, our K-Kids President, spoke to the parents about our challenge  to match the amount raised at our skating party for disaster relief. We raised $370.00 and challenge the parents to match that amount. All funds raised will go toward disaster relief through One America Appeal.


Around Town…

UNCSA’s Preparatory Dance Program presents Drosselmeyer’s Nutcracker Tea in our own Alex Ewing Theater!  Tickets go on sale this Friday, November 27th – call the Stevens Center Box Office at 336-721-1945 to get your tickets today!  Performances are Saturday, December 3rd and Sunday, December 4th.  See the attached flyer with this week’s Thursday Notes for more information.  Don’t miss this wonderful holiday event!