Beautiful Bollycore

How do you instill energy and joy in our learning of Indian culture?

Just try a Bollywood dance class!

Sanskrit Art choreographer Puja Amin takes primary and junior students through an intensive Bollycore dance program culminating into a public performance for the entire community of St. James Town.

Check out this rehearsal video with these dance loving kindergartens.

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Here is what happens when you invite young dancers to showcase their music and dance talent to the entire community.


Set the stage for the shadow puppet film


Place the beautiful brollies on and around the stage



Prepare dancers and backdrop




…and dance!


…and play!


And play some more!



And then take it outside…


and tell the community you are here!



Thanks for dropping by!


3, 2, 1 Action! We’re Filming Puppets


Grades 4, 5 and 6 collaborated on shadow puppets with artist Amelia Jimenez and tabla compositions with musicians Ed Hanley to create a short film and sound projection of their puppet stories on a school hallway wall for all to see as they ascend the stairs. The project was inspired by Ashley Bryan’s adaptation of the Zambian folktale, Beautiful Blackbird, the story of the most beautiful bird in the forest envied by all others, and a simple lesson on the beauty found in us all. Filmmakers Bronson Allen and Pedro Peres joined the students in putting the images to film.


The following year junior grade students studied The Woman Who Outshone The Sun, a tale based on a Spanish poem by Alejandro Cruz Martinez about a wonderful and strange women who arrives in a village only to be shunned by its inhabitants. When she leaves so to do all the animals, birds and nature itself.


The villagers quickly learn of her importance to their lives and urge her to return…and she does. Students built a shadow puppet play inspired by this poem as a visual backdrop to the year end Bollywood dance and tabla concert. Photos by Katherine Fleitas.

See the next blog called Beautiful Bollywood to see how the backdrop worked to support the Bollywood dance.

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A Bird and Fish Sanctuary in the Water Closet

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The Bantu story, Why The Tides Ebb and Flow, as told by Marylyn Peringer, introduced remarkable creatures, plants and life cycles. Grade 1 students chose a number of species of birds, turtles, water plants, fish and a whirlpool to showcase in a small space. Each student contributed their chosen illustration and painting to the school’s water closet under the guidance of artists Marsha Stonehouse and Jane Gulland. Photos by the artists.

Building Our Mosaic Waterfall

Grades 3 and 4 students designed and built this remarkable outdoor mosaic waterfall under the tutelage of artist Cara Resnick. Students studied their own built environment and skyline inspired by our own Toronto and St. James Town skyline and tales told by Marylyn Peringer that explain the cracked turtle back replicated in the cracked mosaics. A year end celebration introduced the students’ creation to the larger community.

Much thanks to MARANT Construction and Malvern Contract Interiors who took the children’s drawings and mosaic designs and installed them to create a colourful city skyline public art piece from a long neglected water feature. Here are some remarkable before and after photos by photographer Katherine Fleitas.RoseMosaicWaterFeature12RoseWaterFeatureBEFORE1_2010-11Picture 8 copyrosemosaicwaterfeature6IMG_0409Picture 7 copyRoseMosaicWaterFeature11RoseMosaicWaterFeature9RoseMosaicWaterFeature10RoseMosaicWaterFeature8Rose0078 copyRose0010 Rose0012 Rose0014 Rose0051 Rose0074 Rose0080

Sharing Our Michelangelo Moment


Let’s ask group of grade 6 students what Hold Up The Sky means to them?

In this video by Carlos Osorio, we see students putting the finishing touches on the Sistine Chapel inspired mural in Toronto’s St. James Town.


To complete their narrative, artists built a mini scaffold reminiscent of Michelangelo’s dramatic historical experience painting the Sistine Chapel in sixteenth century Rome. Students replicated the experience, painting their own illustrations high up on the scaffold.


Passers by could view the young artists from the cathedral window, outside looking in, artistic activity lit to project the splendour of the art and the busyness of the workers.

All this wondrous art work was created under the guidance of visual artist Charmaine Lurch of Inner City Angels. Storyteller Marylyn Peringer, of Mariposa In The Schools, joined Charmaine and school staff in choosing and telling the universal stories that inspired the art.


“What’s so great about us having a mural is that it shows us how great we are at painting. We have good students that are equitable. It’s not sexist or anything. It’s like everyone is doing it. It’s not racist. Everyone gets to paint,” said Shamilan, a grade 6 student in his last year at Rose.

Check out the video below to learn more about the Sistine Chapel mural.

Still photos by Carlos Osorio.