MYP Personal Project – this blogpost is a simplified version of my final personal project report.
To finish the MYP in 10th grade, I produced a concept video that explored the issues surrounding bullying for my personal project. A concept video in dance is a video that shows a story or a concept through the art of dance and choreography. This project was inspired by the “Dance Out Bullying” campaign by Christina Perri after the release of her song Human.
1) Setting a personally meaningful goal outside of my comfort zone
Although I have had a few experience with bullying, this project was not so much for myself but really for all the other people that I knew were victims of bullying at that time that I was working on this project and of course before that. I wanted to take the personal project as an opportunity to not only pursue my passion for dance but to also help encourage kindness and compassion.
This was my initial action plan that I set up during the summer before 10th grade. While some of the things on the list were either moved around or adapted to fit my schedule and other commitments, I was generally able to follow the plan successfully:
- June 1st~10th: goal proposal
- June~August: research, take improv technique classes, watch videos for inspiration
- September 1st ~ 10th: conduct anonymous surveys
- October: create storyboard for concept video, master firebird and calypso
- November 3rd~20th: choose songs, choreograph
- December 2nd: Film, book studios (+ create teasers)
The most significant changes to my action plan were made during the creation stage when I had difficulties meeting deadlines for certain parts of the choreography. Some days I was full of ideas, some days I sat in the studio with no inspiration or motivation and this made it difficult for me to consistently produce a section of choreography each week. Because of this, I had to cram about a third of the choreography in the two weeks before my product was due.
3) Taking action to work towards achieving the goal
One of the most important parts of this project besides the choreography was the surveys I conducted. In order to gain inspiration for my choreography as well as to develop the storyline of the concept video, I conducted an anonymous Google survey which I sent to classmates, teachers, and friends. In my survey, I asked everyone to identify a time they witnessed or experienced bullying, how they felt, and asked them what they know about the consequences of being a victim of bullying. I received several responses that I then sorted into categories by similarities and implemented them into the storyline which I then used to develop my choreography.
Solo lessons + technique classes
As I watched concept videos on Youtube for inspiration, I came across a few dance techniques/moves I wanted to include in my video too. This included things like the firebird (see photo below) and calypsos. In order to master these, I asked my dance teacher for a few solo lessons every week and I also participated in additional technique classes so that I could master them in time for December (when I began filming). Thanks to my teacher, I was able to master the firebird in less than 3 weeks however, I could not achieve my calypso in time.
Problem solving and overcoming challenges
– One of the most important skills for overcoming challenges like acquiring new skills and time management was learning to ask for help when I needed it. It was very important for me that I communicated well with my supervisor and that I discussed any areas that I needed supervision or advice on. While this wasn’t easy for me at the very beginning of the project, after a few meetings with my supervisor, I began to gain the trust and confidence I needed in order to comfortably ask for help when I needed it. When I couldn’t meet my deadlines, I made sure to communicate with my supervisor to let her know that I was having problems managing my time effectively. She was happy to help me re-organise my schedule and dedicate 30 mins ~ 1 hour each week to supervise the dance studio so that I could work on my choreography.
4) Reflecting on the process
One very important thing I learnt during my long hours in the dance studio is how clarity of mental and emotional attention and intention can lead to precision in my choreography. Ideas often came instantly when I clearly understood my intention to communicate a sense, a vision or simply an idea – so it was only when I explicitly stated and recited my goal for the project (which only happened a month and a bit before the product was due) that I was really able to start choreographing a valuable and expressive artwork.
Being the leading voice
The guiding global context of the personal project has helped me to become an empathetic learner as it required myself to be able to express other people’s feelings in my choreography as well as be a leading voice. Through my personal project, I really wanted to urge my peers the importance of empathy for victims of bullying but in order to do so, I needed to constantly demonstrate empathy myself too. My chosen global context acted as a reminder to keep involving people in my project and this helped me to successfully achieve my goal. While I don’t necessarily think that my video helped people who have experienced / experience bullying, I definitely do think those who watched my video learnt just how awful it can be to be a victim of bullying and that’s really what I wanted to achieve through my project. I wanted people to watch my video and then go home with a different mindset – a more caring, integrable kind of mindset and approach to life 🙂 I believe what made my video powerful is all the input from real victims of bullying.
The personal project gave me the opportunity to learn about the topic of dance and choreography. When thinking about my work on this project, the trait that stands out to me the most is being a risk-taker, as I took on the challenge of a project that required me to constantly approach people for important feedback and information. I also demonstrated the traits of an inquirer by choosing a topic I wanted to learn more about as well as something that I was passionate about. I displayed my research skills by collecting information from a variety of primary (approaching teachers for feedback on my choreography, technique classes, etc.) and secondary sources (dance videos on youtube) and synthesizing these to demonstrate all the knowledge I acquired into my final video.