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"Inner Vision" is our innovative workshop for the Missouri School for the Blind. We are interested not only in providing students opportunities to explore their creativity, but also in expanding their range of motion and movement vocabulary. Using the song, "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things," from the musical "The Sound of Music" as foundation, we asked various classes to share their favorites--food, clothing, sound, smell, music, and time of day, among others. We worked hard to rehearse and perform new versions of the song. (more...)

What we are doing...


Uppity was pleased to be in residence at the Missouri School for the Blind twice this year. Uppity Artistic Director, Joan Lipkin, Assistant Director, Sarah Shimchick, and Webster University intern, Karol von Flotow began by offering a series of movement and creativity workshops to students and teachers during the spring.

Called "Inner Vision", our innovative workshop curriculum was designed by Uppity staff, with the input of veteran MSB art teacher, Lynnie McElwee. With over twenty years of staff experience at MSB, McElwee was helpful in selecting student participants and providing information regarding their background in movement and performance arts. In addition to providing students opportunities to explore their creativity, we were interested in expanding their range of motion and movement vocabulary.

Workshops were open to three different age groups: 4th-6th graders, 8th-9th graders, and vocational students. Lynnie McElwee, and music teachers, Wendy Cummings and Bethany Reed, acted as assistants and spotters.

The students, many of whom had attended the school from early childhood, were excited about outside visitors sharing new activities. In the words of 9th grader, Kurt Elliot, "I liked it all. They did some weird stuff and I like anything weird."

The first session focused on fostering group communication skills and trust. We encouraged students to work together to problem solve group challenges. Other activities required participants to be aware of their movement across various planes, at different intensities, and in relation to the individual movements of others.

At the end of each session, we asked students for their feedback. "I liked pulling the ropes and being pulled by the other person," said 4th grader, Brittany Davis. Her classmate Elijah Shick had his own preferences. "I liked the part where we walked around on the mat and it got smaller and smaller. And I liked the massage circle," he said.

During the second session, we expanded to include dance. The groups talked about the different reasons for dance: as expression of mood or emotions, as ceremonial rites, for social purposes, to mark special occasions, etc. Then we packed our bags and took off on an adventure of dance pieces from around the globe sampling music from Ireland, China, Rio de Janeiro, Jamaica and West Africa. Students were invited to guess the origin of music and to physically explore the various feelings different beats and instruments evoked. It was a world music dance party!

The dancing was a favorite activity for all of the classes. According to 9th grader Ellaun Williams, "I liked when we made rhythms like a rainstorm and when we played with the tubes. I also liked dancing because we got to hop. And act stupid."

"Inner Vision" proved to be a wonderful energy release for these students, whose movement is often tentative and narrow. "I like to move and be active and we did some fun stuff," said 6th grader David Brown. And, of course everyone is a critic. While Elijah Shick reveled in the rare opportunity for nurturing touch, David Brown had another opinion. "The group massage has gotta go next time. Or, at least, no dudes," he informed us.

Students and teachers alike were thrilled by the progress we all made in a short time and by how much fun we had. "One student who has been an outsider because of his aggressive behaviors was asked his opinion and included in a discussion the other students were having," said Lynnie McElwee. "After he participated and talked about clothes that had special memories for him, one student said to me, ‘I didn’t know he ever thought about stuff like that."

When we returned to the school last spring, the students remembered us well and we quickly got down to an intensive week of work to create an original performance. We were joined by teachers Jenny Kearns and Mark Johnson and three new interns, Megan Flynn, Jessica Gibson and Sarah Thomas from the Washington University Brown School of Social Work to help develop our new piece.

Using the song, "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things," as foundation from the musical "The Sound of Music", we asked each group to share their favorites--food, clothing, sound, smell, music, and time of day, among others. We worked hard all week and the final performance included original dances as well as a new rap. We celebrated with home made ice cream sundaes and would love to work with our new friends again soon.

Rave Reviews


One student who has been kind of an outsider because of his aggressive behaviors was asked his opinion and included in a discussion the other students were having.  After he participated and talked about clothes that had special memories for him, one student said to me, 'I didn't know he ever thought about stuff like that.'
Lynnie MacElwee, Art Teacher, Missouri School for the Blind

I liked when we made rhythms like a rainstorm and when we played with the tubes.  I also liked dancing because we got to hop.  And act stupid.
Ellaun Williams, 9th grader

I like to move and be active and we did some fun stuff. The group massage has gotta go next time.  Or, at least, no dudes.
David Brown, 6th grader

I liked the part where we walked around on the mat and it got smaller and smaller. And I liked the massage circle.
Elijah Shick, 4th grader

I liked pulling the ropes and being pulled by the other person.
Brittany Davis, 4th grader

That Uppity Theatre Company • 4466 West Pine Boulevard, Suite 13C • Saint Louis, MO 63108
Office: (314) 534-1454 • Email Us