Hello again, everyone!
Aside from classes and the occasional excursion, we also spend quite a bit of our time here in St-Brieuc doing various activities. While the goal of some of our activities is to prepare for the fête des familles, others are just for sheer amusement. To give you an idea of what we've done up to this point, I've written up a little summary of each activity with photos to accompany, all of which you'll find below.
Although we have set activities Monday through Thursday, we always try to offer at least a couple extra optional activities. One such activity actually took place at the end of our second week. Having attempted, in vain, to get to the pool earlier that week (our usual stomping ground is closed until August!), we decided to offer bowling, which was met with much enthusiasm. Given that none of us are proclaimed professional bowlers, you can imagine that our scores didn't turn out all that great, but we definitely had fun nonetheless.
In an earlier post, I mentioned that we sometimes have the opportunity to go down to the nearby valley to run, walk, and just enjoy nature in general. As we are in Brittany, however, the rain (or the dreary weather in general) sometimes prevents us from going. When this happens, we do our best to propose different activities.
Volleyball & Yoga
During our second week, we originally planned on having all of the stagiaires try their hand at volleyball, but, to the relief of many, Amber remembered that she actually had a French-language yoga video, which gave them the choice. Needless to say, those who didn't want to play volleyball were very content and vice versa.
Yes, your read that correctly. Although some might not consider dancing a sport, after doing the Charleston for an hour, I would beg to differ. Justifications aside, I really just absolutely love swing dancing and wanted to share that with the stagiaires. I was overjoyed to see how well they responded to it. Everyone seemed to be having fun and many stagiaires have even requested another swing day.
The activity pretty much followed the model of a beginner Charleston lesson. With Amber as my co-instructor, we first taught them the basic footwork and then three variations: stomping, a kick to the left (what I like to call a "Woo!!"), and a counterclockwise turn. Once everyone had a grasp of this, we got into two lines facing each other (= a Charleston line) (see picture below), and began dancing along to Glenn Miller's "In the Mood" (it's entirely instrumental, so, no English!). Every once in a while, I would signal a move and then we'd all have to do it in unison. I really can't express how happy I was to see everyone doing the Charleston.
After the Charleston line, we split up into partners and learned basic side-by-side Charleston, as well as a variation known as hand-to-hand Charleston. We, unfortunately, ran out of time before we could do cross-hand Charleston, but I think we'll be okay. :)
Just today, as the weather was quite nice, we headed back down to the valley for a nice game of soccer and a nice stroll through the woods, for those who weren't feeling too sporty.
As part of Amber's course, each stagiaire is asked to prepare a dessert with their family for a group tasting. Before the eating commences, however, each stagiaire must briefly present their dessert, mentioning its name, its history (if known), the ingredients, and how it is prepared. As having 33 desserts at once might be a bit of an overkill, we actually have three dessert days, one for each group.
Dessert Monday nº1 - Les Bleus
Dessert Monday nº2 - Les Blancs
Dessert Monday nº3 - Les Rouges
Coming soon next Monday!
Theatre and Choir
At the beginning of the program, we ask the stagiaires to choose between Theatre and Choir, depending on their specific interests. Since then, every Tuesday and Thursday has been dedicated to working on the different pieces for the fête.
Each year at the fête des familles, one of our main acts is always a play of some sort. This year, as a change of pace, Ryan and I selected a mystery play. The really fun part about this play is that the ending had not yet been written when we arrived. As a group, we brainstormed possible endings, exploring the various motives of each character, etc., until we finally came up with a solid idea. Now that the end has been written, all that's left to do is rehearse, rehearse, and then rehearse some more!
With the help of the very kind, if eccentric, choir director, Marilyne, Amber and Larry are working with the stagiaires to put together a variety of songs for the fête. Marilyne has a knack for picking interesting pieces, so I'm sure it'll be memorable!
pictures of the choir to come soon!
Corde à sauter
Aside from Theatre/Choir, we also encourage students to think of additional acts for the fête des familles. One such act that has been added to the program involves the song "Corde à sauter" by Moussier Tombola. Released in 2011, this song is actually still quite popular and is usually accompanied by a dance. Given its popularity, and the fact that dancing is just fun, we've been working on our moves and I'm confident that this will be a really neat act.
Well, I think that's all for now. Tomorrow is our réception à la mairie, followed by our Breton dance night on Friday, so I will definitely be updating again soon!
p.s. I will upload the additional photos soon. (There are quite a few!)