With GroundWorks’ ongoing effort to empower creativity through movement, we recently had a wonderful opportunity to conduct Movement Study workshops with 4th, 5th and 6th graders at Willson School.

Mark Otloski, GroundWorks’ Education Director, along with company dancers Lauren Garson and Stephanie Terasaki, engaged students in fun, inspiring and collaborative studies in movement and expression. The workshops provide the unique opportunity for students of all grade levels to explore the creative process of dance movement through physical experience, says Otloski.

Working individually, with partners or in groups, students apply problem-solving strategies along with constructive collaboration as they discover an effective form of communication and expression through the creation of original dances. 

“The Educational Outreach Program itself has been an important cornerstone to GroundWorks since the inception of the company,” says Otloski. “On a yearly basis we work with 12 to 15 schools in the Cleveland and Akron school districts through the creative movement workshops associated with its general public performances. Additionally, there are opportunities for the program to work with schools and the community through short and long term residencies.”

For students and staff, the opportunity to express oneself through creative movement is a invaluable tool.  

“Working with GroundWorks is a unique and exciting experience for our kids,” says John Dorotics, physical education teacher at Willson School. “They have a lot of energy and creativity that doesn’t always get taken advantage of. Working with GroundWorks gives them a chance to express themselves in ways that wouldn’t normally happen in their daily lives. Mark challenges them and provides structure that works well for our students. We’re very thankful for the opportunities that GroundWorks provides for us.”

Sixth grader Zaire Twitty, 11, says dancing makes him feel free.

“You want to be free and use inspiration, you want to perform in front of people and not be embarrassed,” he says. “It’s good activity and exercise, it gets you calm and it’s good for your self-esteem. Plus, it’s great because you get away from your school work.”