Home & + | Search
Featured Categories: Special Focus | Performance Reviews | Previews | DanceSpots | Arts and Education | Press Releases
Join ExploreDance.com's email list | Mission Statement | Copyright notice | The Store | Calendar | User survey | Advertise
Click here to take the ExploreDance.com user survey.
Your anonymous feedback will help us continue to bring you coverage of more dance.
SPOTLIGHT:
ARTS AND EDUCATION
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
ExploreDance.com iPad Edition

New!
Read ExploreDance.com on your iPad!
Only $0.99 per issue! No ads!
www.exploredance.com/subscribe.htm
ExploreDance.com (Magazine)
Web
Other Search Options
Laura Pravitz
Arts and Education
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
United States
Massachusetts
Amherst, MA
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ** **
exploredance.com
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
ExploreDance.com Kickstarter Campaign

The ExploreDance.com Kickstarter campaign is live! Please consider backing our campaign to help us expand our coverage of dance.
www.kickstarter.com/projects/1306220552/exploredancecom

Moving Stories: Making Art and Dance Together at the Eric Carle Museum

by Laura Pravitz
September 2, 2011
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
125 West Bay Road
Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 658-1100
This Spring the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art hosted a new program led by myself
(dancer/choreographer Laura Pravitz), entitled, "Moving Stories: Making Art and Dance
Together". The offering took place in the Eric Carle Gallery, one of the main galleries at this
unique museum located in Western massachusetts, conceived and built to celebrate
national and international picture book art.

Inspired by the museum's vision, I wrote a story called, "The Color Wheel and
the Empty Page", and led a group of 3-6 year olds and their adult companions through a
moving story whose purpose was to illuminate and bring to life, through embodied
movement, the picture books that companion their daily lives. Each movement task was
acompanied by carefully chosen classical music that complimented task and mood.
The children were first asked if they had a book with pictures at home. They were then
asked to travel around the gallery returning with one thing that they liked. After the
responses were shared (there was a notable preference for animals!), they were told that
they would be moving a story that might help to answer the question, "Do you ever
wonder how those pictures came to be?"

The story began, "Once upon a time, on this side of the border, there was an empty page.
This page knew two things: That it was waiting for something, and, that it had no idea what
that might be." The children entered a rectangular area marked off within the gallery with
white silk lengths "Under the sky that welcomes all new beginnings". I and a staff
member lifted an ample length of pale blue silk that billowed as the sky, through which each
child entered, arms and gaze lifted high and then opening arms wide, embodying the first
properties of the empty page that took stock of itself daily, that of "length" and "width", to
arrive at the "center" of the page (another embodied attribute) where they improvised
ways to make themselves long and wide as the story continued:

"While page waited day after day for "something", it stayed very busy. It cleaned its
corners (with small white silk squares, the children ran two by two from corner to corner,
dusting high and low); straightened its edges (a tiptoeing straight line around the border);
and danced across its longest line (in groups of three, skipping across the diagonal, to circle
round at the corner).

The story continued, "Now on the other side of the border, not too far away, there lived a
wheel of many colors. Each color also new in its bones that it was waiting for something,
and believed that it was destined for a great and special purpose. But like the page, it had
no idea what that could be."

The children exited, again under the billowing sky, to be dressed in a primary or
secondary-colored silk wingspan, tied to their wrists with ribbons. Each received a color
suited to them.

Each color danced one by one around the gallery ("The colors liked to awaken each morning
and announce themselves proudly to the others"); joined hands in a star, with outer arm
extended to show their full color, ("Mostly, it spent its days going round and round") and
turning in place.

One day, the colors, itching for something different, spin to the border of "A strange new
place, vast and white" One by one they cautiously dip a toe onto the page, ("What do you
think happened?")

The colors tiptoe all around, with page "Quite tickled, to say the least" as the colors leave
their marks. The colors are so excited - so many ways to show their true selves!

Tired from all the dashing about, they slowly circle to the ground to nap. They dream about
shapes. And designs. And lines. And stories. I soothed them with a breeze of
the silk sky grazing them as they rested.

To replenish their fading color, they dip their hands into the well of color that fills their hearts,
and with paintbrush fingers, play on their own heartstrings. Page, now delighted, asks if
they can paint a rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, arc one by one across
the long diagonal to hold a rainbow shape. Time flies by; it is time to say goodbye to
page, "Who by now was feeling very, very full."

The children, still garbed with their colored wings, then sailed through the grand foyer that is
lined with larger than life texturally-colored original Eric Carle panels, to the Art Studio, where
they spent the next half hour dipping brush into paint to fill empty pages with color.




The Eric Carle Museum is the first in the U.S. devoted to national and international picture
book art. Founded by Eric Carle, renowned author ad illustrator of more than 70 books
including the classic "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and his wife, Barbara, its three galleries,
grand foyer, art studio and library serve as resource and celebration of the picture book, with
rotating exhibits honoring individual artists. Its mission is to provide "an enriching, dynamic,
and supportive context for the development of literacy and to foster in visitors of all ages
and backgrounds the confidence to appreciate and enjoy art of every kind". The Carle is a
non-profit 501c3 institution. For further information, call 413-658-1100 or visit the Museum's
website at www.carlemuseum.org.

Laura Pravitz, IDMA; CLMA, is a dancer/choreographer living in the hills of Western
Massachusetts. She holds advanced standing degrees from the Isadora Duncan
International Institute (IDII); is a Certified Laban Movement Analyst and trained Dance
Therapist. She teaches movement exploration, Moving Myth and Story, and Duncan
based dance classes in schools, colleges and the community, and performs with IDII
dancers. She recently produced and directed performances of original Duncan works at the
WIstariahurst Museum in Holyoke, MA. To contact, please email at:
laura.pravitz@verizon.net
Moving Stories: Making Art and Dance Together at the Eric Carle Museum

Moving Stories: Making Art and Dance Together at the Eric Carle Museum

Photo © & courtesy of Meghan Burch


Moving Stories: Making Art and Dance Together at the Eric Carle Museum

Moving Stories: Making Art and Dance Together at the Eric Carle Museum

Photo © & courtesy of Meghan Burch


Moving Stories: Making Art and Dance Together at the Eric Carle Museum

Moving Stories: Making Art and Dance Together at the Eric Carle Museum

Photo © & courtesy of Meghan Burch


Moving Stories: Making Art and Dance Together at the Eric Carle Museum

Moving Stories: Making Art and Dance Together at the Eric Carle Museum

Photo © & courtesy of Meghan Burch


Moving Stories: Making Art and Dance Together at the Eric Carle Museum

Moving Stories: Making Art and Dance Together at the Eric Carle Museum

Photo © & courtesy of Meghan Burch

ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
* **** ****


ExploreDance.com
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ******
exploredance.com


home || view our calendar || the store || copyright information || join our mailing list || mission statement
Search for articles by
Performance Reviews, Places to Dance, Fashion, Photography, Auditions, Politics, Health