A colleague emailed me the link to this YouTube video at school and and an artist friend emailed it to me at home. I had saved the first message to look at when I got a chance, but when I received the second message, I decided I needed to check it out right away. Am I ever glad I did! (Note: if the link becomes inactive, just do an internet search of "Kseniya Simonva Sand Animation," but make sure you find the one that begins with her lighting a candle.)
Many of you have probably seen this young artist, Kseniya Simonva's, moving and highly expressionistic tribute to the sacrifices of her countrymen during World War II. A fusion of visual art (drawings made in sand on a light table and projected in real-time onto a large screen), music and choreography, the performance is utterly captivating. Though a very few of my students had seen it, it didn't matter: they were instantly immersed in it again.
All of my students--even a few with "focus issues"--were riveted. I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that they were transfixed. You could have heard a pin drop during the entire 8-minute performance in every one of my five classes. (Well, okay, one student with attention deficit issues in one class wasn't completely spell-bound, but...) At the conclusion, the silence lingered; it was almost as if they didn't want to break the spell.
And as much as I hated to be the one to do it, I wanted them to analyze and reflect while their memories were fresh. So, I posed the following four questions to be discussed as a group with answers recorded in their sketchbooks and then shared with the whole class. The depth of their insights--even those of some of my less academic students--was gratifying and heartwarming.
Questions for Small Group (by table) and Whole Class Discussion:
- What did you find to be the most powerful aspects of this performance?
- What roles did music play?
- What role did choreography play?
- What was the significance of the candle
I hope you'll consider incorporating this short video into your instruction. You won't be sorry.