ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 5 * * All Arts News On the Web * * September 6, 2001


      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County. Each issue includes the entire text of our weekly newspaper column.

      Stop in for the AAC CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and workshops. We come together on the second Wednesday for a booked musical performance and an art exhibit at Simple Pleasures in St Albans. On the fourth Wednesday come to the Kept Writer in St Albans for acoustic Open Mike Night featuring music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.


      There are more libraries in the United States than there are McDonald's Restaurants in the world. There are 122,289 libraries of all types here, reports the American Library Association.. About 16,000 of those are free public libraries and their branches. McDonald's has about 28,000 restaurants in 121 countries.
      First Librarian James Billington and First Lady Laura Bush open the first National Book Festival tomorrow and Saturday in America's biggest library, the Library of Congress. Writers around the country hope this will become an annual event and that it will open the doors both to books and to libraries.
      Peter Rabbit, Wilbur and Charlotte, Puss in Boots, and most of our familiar storybook characters will circulate on the East Lawn of the Capitol. The festival space includes pavilions for authors, history and current events, mystery and suspense fiction, imagination, storytelling, plus children and young adults (with the furry felines from PBS' Between the Lions). The author pavilion and other special sites will host writers including Stephen Ambrose, Marie Arana, Sue Grafton, William Least Heat-Moon, Scott Turow, Donald Westlake, and George Will.
      The National Basketball Association will showcase its "Read to Achieve" Program. Another theme takes us from oral literacy to written literacy. Hand puppets from Taiwan will perform the traditional folktale "Grandaunt Tiger." There will be demonstrations of the art of writing in the languages and scripts of the world. There will be Gullah stories and music from the South Carolina Sea Islands, East Indian tales, Navajo Code Talkers, Appalachian traditional folk stories and ballads from the mountains, and finally, a discussion that makes many of our elected representatives nervous: Where the Bodies Are Buried. Words also go well with music from the Monumental Brass Quintet, Mariachi Los Amigos, the Wright Touch, Fynesound, the Broadcreek Dixieland Band, Jinny Marsh's Hot Kugel Klezmer Band, and the Barretones Bluegrass Band.
      Libraries circulated about 1.9 billion items from their general collections in the last year counted.
      The question for our schools, parents, kids, and librarians is how to serve as many books from our libraries as McDonald's serves burgers.


      Kathleen McCloskey-Scott has opened Ballet Arts, a new studio in Montgomery. The studio offers various levels of instruction from basic movement to pointe shoes. The studio is in rented space at the Montgomery Elementary School gymnasium. "They rebuilt the gymnasium floor as a foam floor with a rubber surface," she said. "It's wonderful for all the athletes."
      Originally from near New York City, Kathleen trained in classical ballet at the first Ballet Arts. Her teacher, Elizabeth Snyder, was a former soloist with Stuttgart Ballet and a protege of George Balanchine, the artistic director and one of the founders of New York City Ballet.
      She begins introducing movement to the four- and five-year-old kids; by the time the students are about nine they can start the first classical ballet. "The younger child is not ready for the physical rigor of classical ballet. Their bones and muscles are still growing and will until their late teens and early twenties. We have to be very careful. It is also very disciplined.
      "By going through the creative movement process," she said, "I am getting them to learn classic structure in a fun way, getting them to know rhythm and music, to follow direction, and to move" By the time the students are older, they are ready to stand at a ballet barre, they know how to focus, and they are very anxious to go on to the ballet.
      A formally choreographed dance in which the performers tell a story, ballet is the only dance form that uses the turn-out. This turning out of the leg from the pelvis makes possible the elegance and speed of the ballet and is necessary to let the dancer move in any direction. "Everything we do in every day life is with our feet parallel," Kathleen said. "It takes many years to train the body and muscles" to do it differently.
      Students progress slowly, learning the proper carriage, how to stand up straight, how to use the abdominal muscles, and learning what she calls the "sequential flows movement which is how the arms move from one position to the next." Dancers who use their muscles improperly, look very choppy and abrupt.
      Kathleen has lived in northern Vermont for more than 20 years. She and her husband Stephen have been married for 15 years. They enjoy the lifestyle in Montgomery, spending time with friends, travel, the flower garden, and cooking. "I don't know a dancer who doesn't like food."
      Years ago, she began teaching ballet classes in Richford schools with 25-30 students and started a Newport school program as well. The Newport program grew as those students made the commitment to go on to pointe shoes--that meant they had to study more than one class per week. She has taught in Newport for the past 16 years.
      One of her very first students was one of the first interns with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. She also has intermediate level dancers studying three evenings weekly in Newport, two to three hours per night, on their toe shoes. "It's rewarding to bring a student from the beginning students into choreography.
      "That's what the audience thinks of as ballet."
      Classes start Wednesday.


JEFFERSONVILLE--The Cambridge Arts Council presents its annual Evening of Theater and Dance tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. at the Cambridge Elementary School. Rusty Dewees will appear as The Logger, Zeke Zucker reincarnates Elvis, and Firefly Productions will stage several skits. Tickets are $10/adults and $6/students and seniors at the door.

JOHNSON--The JSC International Chamber Music series begins its fall schedule with an evening of Romantic Period music performed by soprano Celina Moore, pianist Diane Huling, and artist Eva Gil on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Johnson State College Dibden Center. Tickets are $10/adults and $5/children and seniors at the door. Call 802-635-1476 for info.


      Want to fill the library with your own works? The Internet has resources aplenty for the writer.
      The Kentucky Migrant Technology Project offers free, online, full year courses in Language Arts. The English subject area focuses on the study of the language, literature and composition at all secondary grade levels. All instructional materials are downloadable through the site.
      The Paradigm Online Writing Assistant offers another complete and free on-line writing course.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site.


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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2001 by Richard B. Harper. All rights reserved. Archival material is provided as-is. Links are not necessarily maintained (if a link in this article fails, try or your favorite search engine).
      Thanks to recent misuse of copyright material on the Internet by individuals and archival firms alike, we emphasize that your rights to this article are limited to viewing it and printing it for personal use only. You must receive explicit permission from the All Arts Council and the author before reprinting or redistributing this article in any medium.