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Aerial Dance Meets English Lit at Laguna Blanca School

Jane Air performance on Nov. 29 is adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's novel ‘Jane Eyre‘

Aerial performance rehearsal at Laguna Blanca School.
Aerial performance rehearsal at Laguna Blanca School. (Laguna Blanca School)

Students in Charles Donelan's AP English Literature class at Laguna Blanca are flying high thanks to a partnership between the Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance and Laguna Blanca's English and performing arts departments.

For four weeks, students have been training under the direction of Ninette Paloma, director of the Centre for Aerial Dance.

They will culminate their study with a 45-minute aerial performance titled Jane Air, an adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre, which will take place at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, in the Spaulding Auditorium, 4125 Paloma Drive.

Donelan wrote the adaptation of the novel for the stage over the summer and began meeting with Paloma, who choreographed the piece, in August. Performing Arts Theatre instructor Dana Caldwell is the theatrical director.

The project is connecting senior students in AP English literature with Caldwell's Middle School theater arts students in an experience that merges the Upper School English curriculum with aerial dance.

The intended impact of Jane Air on the school is threefold.

First, seniors in AP English literature will participate in a trust-building physical and mental challenge alongside Middle School students, realizing the value of their maturity and sharing their knowledge of English literature in a unique way.

Second, Middle School students in theater arts will participate in an impressive performance, which they can imagine repeating when they enter the Upper School.

Finally, students, parents and faculty who attend the performance will see how daring, creative, and talented Laguna Blanca students can be.

The students have been working during one class per week on the aerial dance component and devoting some of their other class time to discussing and writing about the work.

Students in AP English Literature have already examined Jane Eyre, which was assigned as required summer reading.

The outcome will be a reflection of the extent to which Laguna Blanca students can collaborate across divisions and learn new and art forms, all while consolidating their understanding of canonical English literature in preparation for the AP exam.

For more information about Laguna Blanca School, visit or call 687-2461.

Tara Broucqsault for Laguna Blanca School.

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