Templemichael students reach for the sky on stage

Students of Templemichael College have been spending a lot of time in the air recently, perfecting their Ariel Gymnastics techniques for the upcoming Ariel Gymnastics show at The Backstage Theatre.

Students of Templemichael College have been spending a lot of time in the air recently, perfecting their Ariel Gymnastics techniques for the upcoming Ariel Gymnastics show at The Backstage Theatre.

The Ariel Gymnastics programme is an exciting new programme put in place by Templemichael College in order to facilitate varied learning at the school. Ariel gymnastics involves performing gymnastics on ropes in the air, and is widely seen at visual arts performances such as the circus or during ‘Cirque du Soleil’ shows throughout the world.

The Schools’ Aerial Project 2012 aims to increase student confidence and knowledge while bringing them into contact with working artists. The programme, which is being run in conjunction with ‘Fidget Feet’ and Elphin Community College has been a huge success at the school since its introduction in January.

Mick O’Rourke, the teacher who proposed bringing the project to Templemichael College after a successful introduction in Elfin last year, believes the challenge encourages students to develop different and varied skills.

“Gymnastics and dance is something that many of these students had never tried before. In the first few days, the students were in awe of the instructors and a little bit scared of the moves they were performing. Now though you can see them hanging upside down mastering all the components and even coming up with some ideas themselves,” Mr O’ Rourke said.

There are 20 Templemichael students involved, with a further 30 from Elphin participating. Under the guidance of ‘Fidget Feet’, a professional aerial dance theatre company, they are putting the final touches to their stage production for the Backstage Theatre, Longford and the Roscommon Arts Centre.

The students are broken up into three groups, each working on different equipment. Each group completes six full days of training and will then spend four days in the theatres. The teachers also attend extra training one evening per week so that they can practice what they are learning and become better teachers.

Mick O’Rourke has been astounded by the commitment of the students. “It’s great for their confidence to tackle something completely new and to master it, while working together as a team.”

Those that attend the performances at the beginning of next month can expect an exciting, colourful show full of music and dance.

The programme is partly funded by the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals Creative Engagement fund, Longford and Roscommon VECs, Longford and Roscommon Arts Offices and the fundraising efforts of the two schools’ communities.

The students will be performing a one-day only event at The Backstage Theatre on Thursday 3rd May. There will be a matinee show at 1pm and an evening show at 8pm. Tickets are €5 per child and €10 per adult.

Tickets are available from the Backstage theatre on 043 33 47888 or online at www.backstage.ie