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BARD COLLEGE AND RED HOOK CENTRAL SCHOOLS CONTINUE COLLABORATION WITH BRIDGES PROGRAM Activities will include performances by the Gamelan ensemble, bilingual puppet shows, and a senior project play

Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— The Red Hook/Bard College BRIDGES program, designed to promote high student achievement in and through the arts, is sponsoring a series of programs for students in the Red Hook Central Schools. Students will learn Spanish through bilingual puppet shows, perform in the play The Giving Tree, and explore the theater, music, and dance of Indonesia with special performances by the Hudson Valley Gamelan and guest artists from Bali.

On Tuesday, April 25, and Wednesday, April 26, the Hudson Valley Gamelan and guest artists will perform and offer hands-on workshops for sixth-graders from the Red Hook Middle School. These performances feature Balinese dancers, musicians, and a shadow puppet show. The guest artists are Nyoman Suadin from the Gamelan Mitra Kusuma in Washington, D.C.; Nyoman Sumandhi from the Center for World Music in San Diego, CA; and Fulbright scholar-in-residence Ni Ketut Suryatini with her daughter Dewi. The sixth-grade students will make shadow puppets in conjunction with this event.

On Friday, April 28, and Friday, May 5, students from Lourdes Marie Alvarez's Twentieth Century Latin American Theater course at Bard College will perform bilingual puppet shows for kindergarten through second-graders at Mill Road Elementary School. Following in the tradition of Latin American theater, which sought to communicate, educate, and engage community participation, these bilingual puppet shows seek to introduce the Spanish language in the hope of stimulating the students' curiosity and interest in other languages and cultures. "Performing is a fabulous way of helping the Bard students improve their Spanish language skills and at the same time engage them in interaction with the local public schools," notes assistant professor of Spanish, Lourdes Maria Alvarez. "In addition the bilingual puppet shows provide a fun, early experience of Spanish for the elementary school students."

Julie Bindeman, a Bard College senior, has worked with the Mill Road Elementary students for three years and helped to coordinate the theater component of the BRIDGES program. For the completion of her senior project, Bindeman adapted Shel Silverstein's book, The Giving Tree, and is directing it with actors drawn from Mrs. Waterman's first-grade class at Mill Road. The class will perform the play on Friday, May 12, at 7:00 p.m.

In July of 1997 the Red Hook Central School District’s Mill Road Elementary School and Bard College received a prestigious three-year Empire State Partnership Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York State Education Department to form the BRIDGES program. The grants, which are highly competitive, are given to public schools working in partnership with cultural institutions. The Red Hook/Bard College partnership with the BRIDGES program "is a model program for New York State," according to Gigi Alvere, coordinator, "the only one which is held in conjunction with a college." The collaboration between Bard College and the Red Hook Central School District serves all 1,200 elementary school students at the Mill Road School.

These programs are made possible through funding from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Dutchess County Arts Council Arts Fund. For further information about the BRIDGES program call, Gigi Alvare at 914-757-2804.

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(Editor's Note: These programs are not open to the general public, call 914-758-7512 to schedule an interview or photograph.)

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001