Poetic Improvisation Workshop for Children in Cuba

The first improvisation workshop for children is open to everyone and follows the logic that play is the foundation of learning at a young age. Photo: Taken from social media.

The event will be held from August 8-12, organized by the cultural projects RolleX and Oralitura Habana.

By IPS Cuba

HAVANA TIMES – The first intensive improvisation workshop for children in Cuba will take place between August 8-12, at the Morales Children’s Library, on Reina Street, between Lealtad and Escobar Streets, in Central Havana.

After many years of providing training for adults, the RolleX project (specializing in the improvised 10-line spoken poem, linked to other artistic expressions) will teach poetic improvisation to children this year, for the first time ever.

Also organized by Oralitura Habana (a platform for spreading the traditional and contemporary 10-line poetry), with the slogan: “Journey to the center of poetic improvisation”, this free training project will be held again in December, this year, according to its organizers.

Alexis Diaz, one of the leaders of Oralitura Habana, says that the workshop is designed for children aged between 6-12 years old.

“The fear of working with children, because it’s completely different to how we work with adults, in that it requires greater dedication and preparation, without losing the fun aspect, had kept us from holding these gatherings,” the young improviser and poet said.

In addition to holding this children’s workshop in Havana, the event’s organizers also hope to develop similar experiences in different Cuban provinces.

Nevertheless, he says “we were always very interested in teaching very young ages, and without any gender discrimination, of course.”

He mentions RolleX Project (made up of Roly Avalos and himself) as a precedent, who have been holding workships to defend the essence of the 10-line poem and improvisation, which are very well-known in Cuban traditional music, since 2018.

“Ever since then, we’ve seen more and more women join us, while historically, it’s an art form defended by men,” Diaz points out.

He believes that these experiences and inclusivity as a mission are the pillar of the children’s workshop this August.

According to experts, actions such as this one encourage a strong movement of child improvisers, performers, singers and researchers in the country today.

Learning to play with words

Research about poetic creation, developing a 10-line poem and improvisation indicate that the potential for this art is the same for both women and men.

Bearing this in mind, the organizers have said that the first improvisation workshop for children is open to all and follows the logic that play is the foundation of learning at a young age.

Diaz has said that “it will be a totally fun workshop, with word games, synonyms and antonyms, with semantics, octosyllables and constant rhyme. It has been organized in a way for children to have fun, without it being a factory of improvisation.

Plus, he points out that it will teach children about verse for the first time, and if they are interested on developing their improvisation and 10-line poem skills, they will have further opportunities.

“Here, we are laying down the foundations, a set of lessons that will teach them about a genre that hasn’t always received the merit it deserves. Here at Oralitura Habana we want to explore it, and what could be better than doing this with the youngest hands in society,” he weighs in.

The event’s organizers would like to extend special thanks to the Havana City Historian’s Office for joining them in organizing the workshop and allowing them to use the Children’s Library.

They hope to hold more events like this in the provinces, in order to rope in more and more children to the art of poetic improvisation.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

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