Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Get Buzzing with Buzz – Drama, Dance and Singing

Supernova chatted to Hanneke Rauch, the founder and managing director of Buzz – Drama, Dance and Singing, in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. All Buzz custom designed workshops help children between the ages of 5 and 9 to develop confidence and creativity, which can be applied to all aspects of life.

What made you decide that you want to teach drama to children?

I trained at the University of Cape Town and qualified with a degree in Theatre and Performance. After finishing my studies, I soon realised that I would like to use drama to make a positive change and a difference in my country. What better way to do that than with children? I have always loved being around children. They are open and keen on learning and developing as much as they can every day. Drama (and other performing arts like dance and singing) helps build children’s all-important confidence and social skills. These are so valuable and important for kids. Doing drama with children is also super fun! All kids have vivid, creative, amazingly alive imaginations.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

To see the results we have in the lives of individual children. So many kids first arrive terribly shy or with poor social skills. Many need a platform to use their excess energy or just to show off their many talents and perform! No matter whether they are introverted or extroverted, struggle to concentrate or make friends – whoever they are: each child grows and develops into a stronger, more confident version of themselves as a direct result of the exposure to the performing arts. To see the direct, visible results in the lives of each little individual child, is so rewarding. They have fun while growing and developing!

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

We have many product lines – drama, dance and singing workshops, birthday parties, holiday courses, workshops for schools and many others. We have a huge staff and client base and it is often hard to juggle the big and growing Buzz family!

What makes Buzz stand out from other drama schools in the country?

We are fresh, modern, new and different. Drama, dance and singing like you have never experienced it before! Instead of being old fashioned and traditional, Buzz truly is for every type of child, from the introverted, to the loud and bubbly. All children who buzz, benefit from it. We do not impose something on to the child, but rather find who they are and encourage that little individual to shine brightly and confidently!

Unlike other drama schools, Buzz has original music, written for Buzz, that kids get access to when they join. This is themed to the adventures we go on in the Buzz sessions. There are characters and stories to fit the theme of each adventure. We learn through fun!

What can children expect from a workshop session?

We dance then we sing and then we do drama at our workshops, and it goes like this:

Move, shake, jump!
Workshops begin with a high energy warm-up to funky music. Children are then led through a variety of fun physical games promoting coordination, posture and focus. This section concludes with theme-based dance choreography taught in a dynamic and animated style.

Laugh, listen, speak!
The dance section of the workshop is followed by the calmer singing section. Here vocal projection and eye contact feed into the development of confidence. These aims are woven into circle games, which always leave children roaring with laughter. Children are taught original Buzz songs in a fun and friendly style.

Stories, characters, adventure!
As children are led through a magical weekly adventure, this section is surely the highlight of the Buzz workshop. All children take part in the story as it unfolds through improvisational games and creative play. This interactive adventure is especially themed!

How do you decide on the themes you use in your workshops?

We try to think about imaginary worlds and places that kids enjoy, what they know and what is current. We choose topics from which they can learn something new. We choose topics like: Under the Sea, Outer Space and Around the World. Kids are transported into a fun world while they learn new and wonderful things, and information along the way.

How does drama form an important part in a child’s development?

It gives a child the gift of confidence! Through character play and improvisation, children are given a platform where they can think outside of the box and develop creative thinking, which is so important in problem solving as children become the adults of a tomorrow we are yet to imagine! Children learn vital social and communication skills through exposure to creative play and drama.

Can any child be a performer?

Any child WHO WANTS TO BE can be a performer, but certainly not every child needs to be a performer. It is more about being confident as whoever or whatever they dream of being. Some kids who come to Buzz, will one day be performers with their name in lights, and we will be glad to have ignited that journey and given them a platform when they were young. Some kids who come to Buzz will one day perhaps be more self-assured accountants or lawyers who are able to work more confidently in groups. Whichever way they go, I believe that being exposed to drama, will give them the tools they need to achieve success in life.

Why do you think drama is very much overlooked in the school curriculum?

School systems are unfortunately built to favour mathematics, sciences and language. Although these are very important, one cannot overlook the importance of developing the right brain, which is stimulated and developed through the arts. I believe most schools feel overwhelmed with pressure to meet the demands of the curriculum. Drama might seem a distraction and an add-on. I believe it is a wonderful tool to use as part of education!

Do you have any advice for educators who wish to promote drama in schools?

Be in touch with Buzz. We will come in and train your teachers and educators so everyone will learn how to use drama in the classroom, to enrich learning and make it more fun!

For more information about Buzz - Drama, Dance and Singing, visit http://buzzdrama.com/ or contact +27 (0)11 025 2525.

Look out for a review on Buzz - Drama, Dance and Singing in Supernova vol. 4.2!

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