Explore! Create! Perform!
The PACE Program provides K-8 students with free creative movement and drama residencies in their own schools taught by professional EFA Teaching Artists. PACE residencies teach students the elements of the art form, emphasize artistic exploration and the creative process, and celebrate the students’ creative work.
Through hands-on, inquiry-based workshops, students learn the fundamentals of the discipline. For example, creative movement students might learn about tempo, personal vs. general space, high-medium-low levels, and using the body to convey a feeling, image, or idea. Creative drama students might learn about creative expression through voice and movement, develop characters and settings, and explore improvisation, mime/pantomime, and tableaus.
Teaching Artists guide students in experimenting with these elements and making their own artistic choices to develop original work. Throughout the creative process, students build skills in teamwork, group problem solving, and accepting and incorporating the ideas of their peers. All residencies culminate with an opportunity for students to share their creative work through a performance in their own schools. Because residencies focus on exploration and learning more than on a polished final product, the performances tend to be brief and informal.
Teaching Artists generally work with students eight to twenty-four times for 30-90 minutes per session, but other scheduling options are available. The program is presented through regular classroom settings, art/music/physical education classes, after-school programs, and more. The PACE Program is flexible to meet the needs of each school building and has minimal requirements. See the Reminders for Successful Residencies (PDF) for more information.
Started as a small after-school program during the 1997-1998 school year, the PACE Program now provides residencies for more than 3,600 students annually. The program is available to K-8 public and private schools within the Kalamazoo RESA service area.
The PACE Admission Credit
To deepen the students’ understanding of the art form and inspire their own creative work, schools have the option of attending a high-quality professional performance. PACE students receive free admission to each semester’s dance or theater work of art, depending on the discipline they are studying. Schools also receive a bus transportation rebate to assist with transportation expenses.
The objectives of the PACE Program are as follows:
- Develop knowledge and understanding of the elements of dance/theater;
- Develop physical and/or verbal expression skills through dance/theater techniques and activities;
- Develop student creativity and artmaking processes through experimentation with choreography/dramatic ideas, choices, patterns, and sequences;
- Enhance social skills and group working processes through ensemble-building activities;
- Enhance reflection, critical analysis, and editing skills, as well as the ability to verbalize dance/theater terminology through constructive critiquing of student works in progress;
- Enhance performance skills, self-confidence, and teamwork through sharing of artistic work;
- Experience and respond to dance/theater performances by acclaimed professional artists;
- Establish a creative classroom environment and enhance the teaching strategies of Teachers through the active collaboration of professional Teaching Artists.
PACE helped me learn it does not matter what is on the outside it is what is on the inside, take a risk, don’t be shy, be yourself… – 4th grade student
I learned to be confident of myself and others. PACE taught me how to speak in front of a large crowd without being nervous….This experience will help me in life in many ways. I could do job interviews, auditions, speeches a whole lot easier. – 5th grade student
PACE students learn to be creative problem solvers. Many students gain greater self-confidence. Students were able to practice working together and learned to listen to each other. – Teacher
This is a great program for keeping the arts alive in schools…PACE makes it possible for all students to have the experience. – Teacher
This activity is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.