Longfellow pupils experience Japanese culture


October 22, 1997|By Kathy Curtis | Kathy Curtis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

EXOTIC STRAINS of Japanese music filled the air at Longfellow Elementary School last week as Shizumi, a Japanese-born choreographer and dancer, visited the school.

"The idea is to bring other cultures to the students," said Betsy Hudson, chairwoman of the PTA's cultural arts committee, which arranged the visit.

Assisting Hudson was co-chairwoman Missy Burke.

Shizumi gave two 45-minute presentations.

She wore an "informal kimono" that she compared to a T-shirt -- except that it needed seven belts to keep it in place.

She showed the students how to use fans and masks to create a variety of effects. She also demonstrated Japanese dance and gave the students an opportunity to hear the Japanese language spoken.

The audience was encouraged to participate by trying to sit, stand up and walk as the Japanese do. Students also tried out props such as wooden swords.

"Children's education is very important," said Shizumi. "I like to share what I have with American students."

Shizumi came to the United States in the 1970s to study ballet.

In recent years, she has been commissioned to create and perform works by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Japanese Embassy.

She has also been involved with Japanese exchange programs sponsored by Gallaudet University.

Saying no to violence

Finding ways to resolve conflict without violence will be the focus of "Voices, Not Violence," a workshop for parents and students to be held from 7 p.m. to 8: 30 p.m. Tuesday at Wilde Lake Middle School.

Parents will attend a panel discussion. Audrey Barnes, a WBAL-TV news anchor/reporter, will be the moderator.

"We're hoping to give parents strategies to pass on to their kids to resolve problems nonviolently," said Linda Martin, a pupil personnel worker and one of the event's organizers.

Bringing in panelists who represent community agencies will show parents that "we're all in this together," she added.

On the panel will be Shelley Brown, director of community education at the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, and John Sedlevicius, a family preservation social worker from the county's Department of Social Services.

The panel will include Brooke Slunt, education specialist for the STTAR (Sexual Trauma Treatment, Advocacy and Recovery) Center; Sgt. Rick Maltz, supervisor of the Youth Services Section of the Howard County Police; and Brian Moragneel, a youth group leader at the Family Life Center.

While the parents' program is going on, members of SAVE (Students Against Violent Encounters) will work with students.

Formed last spring, SAVE is a group of Wilde Lake High School students who meet with elementary and middle school students to promote alternatives to violence.

Assistant Principal Tom Saunders described the workshop as "preventive" and noted that, so far this year, incidents of disruptive behavior and suspensions are down.

But, he added, "We do have some concerns here, too."

Referring to the fight last spring at Wilde Lake High School that resulted in the death of teacher Lawrence Hoyer, Martin said, "We need to start at an earlier age to get parents and students thinking about ways to resolve conflict."

Tuesday's workshop is the third in a series designed to get parents more involved.

The first workshop session focused on homework.

An interactive workshop last week enabled parents and students to discuss strategies for resolving conflicts.

Cafe Theater

Columbia Community Players, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, will kick off its season with Cafe Theater.

Produced by Longfellow resident Bob Russell, the evening will include one-act plays, monologues and other short theater pieces.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Oct. 31, and Nov. 1, 7 and 8, and at 3 p.m. Sunday and Nov. 2, at Slayton House. Tickets are $10 for general admission; $9 for students and senior citizens.

Cafe Theater will include Mark Twain's "Diaries of Adam and Eve," directed by Hawthorn resident Delia Chiu. Also on the program will be Robert Anderson's "I'm Herbert," Mary Miller's "Ferris Wheel" and John Wooton's "The Role of Della."

The group will perform an original piece, "Skirting Issues," by Baltimore playwright Geoffrey Bond, and two monologues -- Christopher Durang's "Mrs. Sorkin" and Susan Pomerance's "Mary Ann." Corinna Heinz of River Hill is assistant stage manager.

Reservations are advised: 410-637-5289.

Pub Date: 10/22/97

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