Workshop teaches children that dance and writing are 'languages'

Radhika Sule says her 8-year-old daughter, Maithili, is thinking about two professions for when she grows up.

"She really loves dancing and writing," said Sule, of Roland Park. "She wants to be a writer and part-time dancer."


Maithili got the best of both worlds Sunday, Sept. 16. With her mother watching, Maithili, a Roland Park Elementary Middle School third-grader danced, pranced, tumbled and jumped in a unique workshop at Clipper Mill.

As a teaser to next month's Moving Passages Part I concert of dances inspired by writing, the Full Circle Dance Company's resident school, the Morton Street Dance Center, held "Dance Exploration," a two-hour class to teach children that writing and dance are both "languages."


Ten children, from as far away as Beltsville, watched Full Circle dancers and described their choreography in words, with the help of the professional dancers as well as Morton Street teachers.

Some of the children are Morton Street students, and others attend Roland Park and other area schools.

The children even created their own choreography.

The workshop was videotaped for incorporation into future Full Circle performances — possibly including Moving Passages Part I, which will be performed on Oct. 4 and Oct. 6-7 at the Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St.

Moving Passages Part II is set for January 2013.

A highlight of the workshop was a game of dancing and word association, in which teams of dancers and children choreographed words like "alone," "devour" and "jellyfish." The audience had to guess what each word was by watching the dance.

Dancer also acted out words like "collapse," "limp," and "expand."

The workshop was also a way to incorporate community outreach into Full Circle's work and introduce children and families to modern dance, Full Circle Director Donna Jacobs said before the workshop.


"Sometimes, audiences say, 'I don't understand modern dance," said Jacobs, a choreographer. But she said that with Moving Passages, "you can look at it literally or just take it in. Either way, you're going to walk away with something great."

Melanie Warner, of Park Heights, brought daughters Taylor, a seventh-grader at Roland Park Elementary/ Middle, and Ariana, a third-grader at Roland Park.

The goal, Warner said was "to see some new moves, some different kinds of dancing. I wanted to see what it was all about."

Sule, a native of India, also wanted to introduce her American-born daughter to a different kind of dance She said Maithili's only other dance training was at a hip-hop class.

"This is completely different," Sule said. "I'm glad she's finding something new."