My belief, based on many hours of spending time through my artistic, education and peri-natal infant mental health work with babies and very young children, is that they have skills that are ideally showcased through a live performance. This is because they are curious, observant, in tune with the rhythms of communication and hard-wired to seek out connection with the adults around them and with each other.
This belief is supported by recent developments in cognitive science, which have transformed the way we view babies and very young children from being ‘blank slates’ to powerful agents in their own lives, with the support of their secure adults.
In her book ‘The Philosophical Baby’ (2009. New York: Picador), American cognitive scientist Alison Gopnik argues ‘for a new view of … fundamental philosophical ideas (such as imagination, truth, consciousness, identity, love and morality) based on babies and a new view of babies based on these philosophical ideas.’
Similarly, the goals of my company’s dance work are as follows – we are looking for new ways of making performance, which meet and communicate with very young children, and a new view of very young children based on the wonderful ways in which they respond to these performance works.
– Sally Chance
This information is for families interested in taking part or for parents and carers who may bring a child or group of children to see the show:
Seashore will be a 30-minute
piece of dance-theatre, presented with live music as part of South Australia’s
children’s arts festival, DreamBIG.
Seashore is inspired by a powerful poem by Indian poet and philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore.
the seashore of endless worlds children meet.
The infinite sky is motionless overhead and the restless water is boisterous. On the seashore of endless worlds the children meet with shouts and dances.
They build their houses with sand, and they play with empty shells. With
withered leaves they weave their boats and smilingly float them on the vast
deep. Children have their play on the seashore of worlds.
They know not how to swim, they know not how to cast nets. Pearl-fishers dive
for pearls, merchants sail in their ships, while children gather pebbles and
scatter them again. They seek not for hidden treasures, they know not how to
The sea surges up with laughter, and pale gleams the smile of the sea-beach.
Death-dealing waves sing meaningless ballads to the children, even like a
mother while rocking her baby's cradle. The sea plays with children, and pale
gleams the smile of the sea-beach.
On the seashore of endless worlds children meet. Tempest roams in the pathless sky, ships are wrecked in the trackless water, death is abroad and children play. On the seashore of endless worlds is the great meeting of children.
The poem will eventually help us explore ideas to turn into dance theatre, but we will begin more simply, getting to know each other by exploring dance and movement and creating games, dances and images inspired by the beach – a place of infinite sky, of seasons and sea breezes, of play, freedom and fun.
What will the project involve?
Starting in February 2019 we will meet weekly for a morning dance play workshop, lasting about one hour, in a child friendly city venue.
Our dance play will be as child-led as possible, however adults are invited as artistic partners with their children into the heart of the creative action. Three professional artists – dancers Steve and Felecia and musician/composer Heather – will also be involved. Each week Steve, Felecia and Heather will create fragments of performance directly inspired by the morning’s workshop to “play back” to the group the following week. In this way the show will be created by the families, by the artists and by everyone together, ready for presenting several times during DreamBIG.