“Peak Day” for Ann Belsky Moranis program

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The Ann Belsky Moranis Program at the Oriya girls’ high school held its annual “Peak Day” for all the arts tracks, a day designed to enrich the students by providing them with professional tools which cannot be attained within the regular educational framework, to introduce them to inspirational artists in their field and to create an unforgettable experience of belonging, togetherness, and school pride.

This year, students in the Classic Arts track started the day at the Pardes Art School at Givat Washington, where they met with the school’s founding director, artist Porat Solomon. They enjoyed two usual workshops: painting with puddles of color and ceiling drawing (following – of course – a short discussion on Michaelangelo). In the afternoon, the students went to the Ashdod art museum which, in addition to its exhibitions of Israeli and international contemporary art, also hosts original works by Israeli artists specifically for the purpose of education. The day was capped with a visit to the sea, where the students tried their hands at sand sculpture, photography and writing on the subject of “transitions.”

Meanwhile, students from the Graphic Arts track spent their morning at the Hanssen House center of design, media and technology in Jerusalem. Racheli Shalev – a graduate of the Visual Communication department at Bezalel and illustrator of books, magazines and newspapers – launched the day’s events with a fascinating lecture. After that, students participated in an experiential lasercutting workshop, during which they were introduced to the principles of digital creation and the laser cutting machines as they prepared their own original works of art. Students were treated to a pizza dinner in Jerusalem during which time the girls from various grades had the opportunity to socialize and build relationships based on creativity, rather than age.

The Moranis program’s Film track had a morning class with cinematographer Amitai Karni. Tenth and Eleventh graders went into the Jerusalem streets to film a chase scene, following which they participated in a writers’ workshop with screenwriter Pnina Geffen. Twelfth graders, meanwhile, worked on film and scene lighting for their final film projects, afterward working with Geffen on writing better dialogue for their stories. All the students came together in the evening for a night out at the movies, eating popcorn and watching the new Israeli film, “Scaffolding,” about an Israeli teenager torn between two role models: his charismatic literature teacher and his strict, working-class father.

The young dancers in the Dance track met with members of the Vertigo dance troupe in the economical art village of the Netiv Halamed Heh. Students learned the story behind the village’s establishment through a tour before meeting Inbal, one of the troupe’s veterans. Inbal worked with the students on the connection between their body and their soul, and taught them a few sets from the troupe’s repertoire. Afterward, the group studied contact improvisation in a workshop with Tali, learning to listen to one another and follow others’ movements. After a meeting with Noa Wertheim, the troupe’s choreographer, the girls were privy to a sneak peek at a full troupe rehearsal.

Theater students remained at Oriya for a festive morning enjoyed by the entire track, then set out for the Jerusalem Theater for a “Behind the Scenes” tour in which they learned all about the theater’s structure. Students traipsed through the maze-like hallways which are usually closed to guests, entered the command rooms, the artists’ enclaves and huge costume closets, stood on the stage opposite hundreds of seats and bowed, imagining the day that they would stand there as acclaimed professional actors. The students vacated the stage to watch a full dress rehearsal of the Magic Flute by the Israeli Opera from behind the scenes – a vastly different view from the one they are used to.

Tali Schecter, a director and actor, capped the students’ day with a physical theater workshop during which studnets learned to express themselves through body language only. Students then split into pairs – specifically grouping students who did not already know one another – and performed exercises in which one led the other, blindfolded, through the halls of the theater. They left with a very strong impression about the importance of cooperation, partnership, relationships and trust.

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