|Friday, April 13th|
1:40 PM - 2:00 PM
Harry Potter is a special series for a plethora of reasons, one of its most frequently referenced qualities being its widespread popularity. However, Harry Potter's literary merit may be dismissed by some as simple fantasy and entertainment. On the contrary, though Harry Potter takes place in a fantasy world with characters ranging from normal, non-magical “Muggles” to wizards, ghosts, goblins, centaurs, and others, the conflicts that stem from this magical diversity are far from trivial or fictional. In exploring diversity-related oppression, the series transcends the fantasy genre to undertake real-world issues. Through the disadvantaged, yet sympathetic characters of Hagrid, Lupin, Dobby and Griphook, readers of the Harry Potter series encounter the full spectrum of socially engrained injustice, allowing them to gain empathy for individuals in real life who face such injustices every day. Thus, the series lends itself to the secondary classroom quite well as teachers can use the fictional world of Harry Potter as pretext for broaching the otherwise inflammatory subject of real-world racism and social privilege. After approaching the topic from this angle, the teacher can eventually direct the conversation to reality and help students to illuminate parallels between the wizarding world and their own life experience. Ultimately, utilizing Harry Potter in this way goes beyond merely encouraging students to read for fun, as it promotes empathy and understanding and furthers critical thinking and creative problem solving.
2:00 PM - 2:20 PM
An important and integral part of the education of a dance student is identifying and exploring one’s creative process. Embarking on a choreographic process, the making of a new and original dance, enables one to learn about her or his creative process. Through the course of the 2011-2012 academic year, I have been and will continue to be choreographing a new dance entitled “Song of the Tui, an exploration of New Zealand Birds.” This piece is an investigation of the habitat, ecology, and behavior of New Zealand Birds. In the process of making “Song of the Tui, an exploration of New Zealand Birds” I have been researching the mating structure, social organization, and conservation of five New Zealand birds (The Tui, Fantail, Kiwi, Kea, and Albatross). My choreographic intention is to showcase these exotic birds and educate audiences about New Zealand conservation and New Zealand bird life. I am taking movement inspiration from these birds and translating it into dance vocabulary for the University of Montana dance students who will perform the work.