From then till NOW: My Story
A tdsbCREATES Blog
Sitting in the theatre. Lights dim. Music begins.
There’s movement, laughter, goose bumps,
There’s something completely magical, and awe-inspiring about watching a live performance. Nothing in the world is quite like it. Reading about a live performance does not capture its essence. Watching a performance on television is nothing compared to the sensation of actually watching one.
Why? Something incredible happens when a person experiences a live performance. Do you remember seeing your first performance? That sense of wonder. That sense of magic.
My name is Sylvie Stojanovski, and I am currently a second-year Arts Management student at the University of Toronto Scarborough completing a co-op placement at Prologue to the Performing Arts. . My love of the arts started when I was a child. I distinctly remember dancing, and singing around my parents’ house. Taping up posters to the wall, distributing paper ticket stubs to my esteemed “guests,” and practicing all day for an “evening at the theatre.”
I don’t remember what the very first performance I saw on stage was, but I remember how I felt seeing performers singing and dancing—in their element—because it hasn’t really changed. Even after all these years, whenever I see someone perform, I get chills; I am enthralled. I am up there with them on the stage. In fact, up until recently, I felt that I was destined to be an actress, until I fell in love with working with artists behind-the-scenes, and supporting the amazing work they do through producing and managing workshops and events.
This semester, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a course in which students are matched with an organization based on their skills and interests. When I found out I could do a placement anywhere, I immediately thought of Prologue to the Performing Arts because they do something I believe is so important today: they help bring performing arts experience into schools to young audiences, and they support with the administration of a TDSB Arts Department program I feel strongly about called tdsbCREATES.
tdsbCREATES is a partnership between the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and the Toronto Arts Council (TAC) that features both visual and performing works of art from students in the TDSB. What makes tdsbCREATES so special is the fact that it uses a community arts-based approach to creating artwork, meaning that it is both collaborative and practical in nature. Throughout the year, students and teachers are matched with arts professionals, and tasked with creating original work in response to a particular concept or theme. This year, people are creating work in response to the theme: Narratives of Now.
My role at Prologue is to assist the tdsbCREATES program administrator, Carrie Hage, with administrative work, and respond to the work of students and artists. I feel truly honored to be in such a role as I distinctly remember watching my first tdsbCREATES showcase when I was 15, and feeling like I had to be a part of the project. You see, I had never witnessed anything quite like it — there were students that were my age performing on big stage at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. I wondered, how could they do that? How could I be on stage with them?
There’s something incredible about being a young person and seeing other young people perform in such a venue. They start to believe they belong there, like they are a part of something bigger than themselves—a part of a community of artists, creators, friends, and family.
Although I never had the chance to perform at the tdsbCREATES performing arts showcase, I remember what it was like being a part of the audience. Seeing the lights in the auditorium dim. The dancers make their way on stage. The music starts. The performers dance. Goosebumps cover my arms. Applause fills my ears. They take a final bow. I experience being in the NOW, along with hundreds of other people in the NOW. I can never forget that, and I will never forget that.
There’s this quote from Dr. Maya Angelou, that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I may not remember the first performance I ever watched, but I do remember how it made me feel, and how, to this day, live performances never cease to amaze me, challenge me, and inspire me.
Moving forward, I am more excited than ever to learn about the process it takes to put together live performances on such a large-scale, and witness first-hand how artists, students, and teachers, work together to produce works of art.
Stay tuned for my next blog post where I interview current tdsbCREATES artists about why it is crucial that we create art NOW.
• Did you know that tdsbCREATES is celebrating its fifth year running!
• tdsbCREATES is the result of a partnership between the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), and the Toronto Arts Council (TAC) with administrative support from Prologue to the Performing Arts. It is the largest festival of its kind in Canada.
• The tdsbCREATES Art and Film Exhibition opens THIS week at Artscape Youngplace. It will be taking place from Saturday, April 14th-Wednesday, April 25th. The opening reception is April 17th at 6:30pm. Join us!
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Sylvie Stojanovski is currently a student at the University of Toronto Scarborough specializing in Arts Management with a double minor in Studio and City Studies. She is especially interested in exploring how community arts programs enhance learning in the 21st century, and researching the impact of arts-based projects in schools across Ontario. She will continue to serve as the Outreach and Research Assistant at Prologue to the Performing Arts until May 2018.