Summer 2019: “This is Me” Week 1

This year, Shake It Out had the pleasure and privilege to partner with New Settlement Program for Young Women and Girls. Under the direction of Joy Leonard, Shake It Out was able to secure space and 21 girls to participate in week 1 of our 2019 program.

Day 1 – July 15 Monday we spent most of our day getting to know one another and playing a ton of ice breakers and theater games. When reflecting on the importance of such activities they realized quickly that they needed to listen to one another, support one another, hear each other out, and compromise. We read, analyzed and discussed lyrics from the song “This Is Me” from the popular movie The Greatest Showman. That was a hit with many! Finally, we ended our day with a goal setting meditation with shaman healer Lauren Carter (and her cute baby)! Of course, I was wondering how the girls would respond to something so different, but I was pleasantly surprised at how attentive, invested, and willing they were to participate. It was definitely one of the highlights of our week! For more information on what Lauren does visit her website: https://www.saiwahealingarts.com/#about

Day 2 – July 16 Tuesday, we took a big field trip to Brooklyn to visit female entrepreneur and female empowerment photographer Nomi! We talked to her about her journey to be a female entrepreneur, her work, and what some of the challenges of being a woman in today’s society. Unfortunately, it was just TOO hot to travel to Prospect Park for lunch, but instead we found some shade at the PS9 playground, admired the murals, and ate lunch.

Our day in Brooklyn with Nomi and lunch in the shade of the playground.

Day 3 – July 17 Wednesday was a whirlwind of creativity and planning our performance piece. We started the day by doing a brief focus meditation. The girls then used their journals to write in response to the phrase “I AM…” Here they got to express themselves in whatever way they wanted to – they could write long form, make lists, write poems, draw pictures. Afterward, they opted to put those words on big chart paper. They were really beautiful. We transitioned to working on “open scenes” where girls partnered up with someone and had only about 5 lines each to convey who they were, what the problem was, and what they wanted in the scene. Finally, this dance and movement motivated crew broke into groups of 4 to choreograph a 30 second dance piece to a piece of music that they chose and reflected the themes of female empowerment. Needless to say, we were ALL exhausted at the end of the day!

Day 4 – 7/18 Thursday started off with a rainy commute to the city! Although we were soaked, the trip to New Victory Dance was WORTH it! The girls saw 4 different dance companies perform a variety of different dance styles. New Settlement was even chosen to go up on stage to participate in one of the dancers pieces! It was really fun and inspiring for the girls. When we returned all they asked was, “Are we going to have time to rehearse our dance???”

Our day in Times Square at New Victory Dance!

Day 5 – 7/19 Our final day was all about finalizing our performance piece. There were all sorts of feelings about that and the there were times I had to mediate and help them work through some of their feelings of frustration and miscommunication. I love this part of the work because it begins to teach kids that you can talk through problems by understanding where everyone is coming from. In the end, we had our love fest at the end and I think the girls were VERY proud of the work they did in week 1!

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