Tuesday night my nieces' Montessori school held their winter program. It was billed as an "avant-garde" performance, so no one knew exactly what to expect. They acted out an African myth, complete with African drums and dancing. The main character was the Anansi, who is a spider and a trickster . (I found out there are many "Anansi Myths" in African legend.) My niece played a supporting character, a firefly. They mixed in a few traditional winter songs (the program was originally to take place near Christmas but got postponed due to weather). I was impressed with the depth and breadth of the learning that was represented. The children ranged in age from three to twelve, and each had a part. The youngest children had non-speaking parts as singers and dancers. The older children portrayed the Anansi, the firefly (my niece) as well as tigers, trees, monkeys, and other creatures and characters.
These two girls were trees. The Anansi hid in their branches when he was chased by a pack of wild dogs. The girl on the right is a pepper tree... notice that she's holding a yellow pepper in her hand. The girl on the left is my nine-year old niece. They didn't specify what kind of tree she was, but she waved her branches beautifully.
This is my eleven-year old niece. She played the firefly. I couldn't get a picture of her with her wings and tail light in place, because she wouldn't put them on except when she was "in the role". In this photo she was holding on to her wings, waiting to put them on. The strap around her waist held her "tail light" which flashed in the back.
These two were in the chorus. The girl on the right is my seven-year old niece. They are sharing a few pre-performance jitters, I think. Serious discussion of their craft, no doubt. (They do take it very seriously.)
The program was a success. Because of it I came home and looked up African myths. I learned things that I had not known before. The kids learned, and I learned, and I imagine some other audience members learned, too. My nieces often surprise me by the things they learn about other cultures, about nature, and about life in other parts of the world. Very smart, those Montessori school kids.
Speaking of the Montessori school, the photo below shows my youngest niece (she's in the middle) at her graduation ceremony last year. These kids are so cute! Yes, I am the proud aunt... can you tell?