The idea of doing something for Christmas seemed almost impossible. We debated whether or not it was worth it. Only in our 2nd month of existence, surely it was too early to showcase our work in Ouidah, but at the same time, people might expect us to do something.
In the end, we settled on a little Christmas Camp. It was three days long and on the last day the students produced a 45 minute variety show with traditional and modern song and dance. It turned out to be a lot of fun.
We brought in four local artists, one traditional dancer and singer, two percussionists, and one artist who dances, sings, and plays the guitar. We selected a group of 8 dancers and invited the choral that was already in place to do the singing. We had some minor attendance problems, and by the time we actually had our variety show our presence was down to 20 (this is mostly the result of communication problems with parents, we’re working on it!).
Wednesday and Thursday morning, we divided up time between the different activities. The dancer, Stanislas worked with the dancers to teach two dances, and the choral to teach the accompanying song. Sim D, a local artist and student, worked on choreography to “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” and I worked with the kids to prepare Il Est Né (unfortunately, the soloist didn’t show up the day of the concert, so I had to sing the verses) and Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen (not all of the music was Christmas music).
Working with children on a performance always causes frustration here and there, but the real trophy is the time of the performance, when the children become 100% serious and really pull off the event. I’m including a few pictures here of the show. Happy Holidays to everyone with love from CIAMO.
Here are a few videos: