TARGET GROUP: high school students and teachers
TIME: independently or after “Carmen’s Unpublished Letters” performance
DURATION: 1.5 h (90 min)
LOCATION AND CONDITIONS: A classroom with movable chairs and desks, or a smaller hall.
GROUP PARTICIPATION FEE: ‎€ 200 (the cost for fuel will be added to the sum for out of Tallinn workshops)
SPECIFICATION: The participators can benefit from knowing Prosper Mérimée’s novel “Carmen” or from having seen “Carmen’s Unpublished Letters”, but it is not a prerequisite for participation. We shall be taking some rhythm instruments with us, but it would be very nice (and useful) if some were provided by the participators as well.

CONTENT: The main aim of the workshop is to offer an experience on how a story can be found and told through music and rhythm. The workshop was originally inspired by the performance “Carmen’s Unpublished Letters”, but one can take part without having seen the performance as well. The novel “Carmen” also features in the compulsory literature list for the students.
For creating the production, we used dances (flamenco and modern dance), percussion and guitar music, and texts. Rhythms play an important role in the production. Every dance has its own rhythm. Every story has its own rhythm. The rhythm begins with the heartbeat. We all breathe and create stories every day. Some of them we wish to publish and share with the world. This is how dances and theatre productions get born.
The workshop is carried out by a drummer, Tanel Ruben, and a director/choreographer/dancer Mari-Liis Velberg. They will talk about the creation process for the production and bring examples about rhythm usage. Since this is a theatrical workshop, it begins with the performance of one of the dances from the production. As a next step, participators will be asked to try out different rhythms, and to share their experience on what kind of thoughts, feelings and stories can be expressed by dance/movement. We shall try our hand at various rhythm exercises, and also look into the meaning carried by tempo and rhythm.
The participators can then try various simple movement exercises and tell stories through them. The workshop is an ideal chance to get up from the chair, and to express oneself creatively and actively both individually and in a group.
Keywords for the workshop are: rhythm, movement, stories. 
This workshop is a splendid chance for finding new ways for expressing one’s thoughts and telling stories. It also creates a perfect ground for many follow-up workshops: flamenco workshops (about the history and basic elements of the dance), rhythm workshops (tempo, pulse, beats, bars, etc.), performance-focused workshops on “Carmen’s Unpublished Letters” (focusing on themes or characters from the novel or the production) or dance improvisation workshops.

Mari-Liis Velberg is VAT Theatre’s Educational Activities Manager, a freelance choreographer and a dancer. She has years of experience in social work and in being the support person for children. As the Project Manager for VAT Theatre’s Forum Group, she has also organised and moderated various forum theatre events for both students and grown-ups across Estonia. Mari-Liis is mainly working on initiating the implementation of creative methods in order to activate and enforce changes in society. A selection of her work includes: Forum Theatre’s participation in ETV’s show “Rusikas” (2000); activities related to the “Interactive theatre as informal education” (2004) project; organising the following school violence prevention projects: “All youth against violence!” (2004-2005), “Freedom of Choice” and “Option of Choice – Forum Theatre’s ID!” (2004-2007). Together with Piret Soosaar, Mari-Liis has been teaching at Tallinn University and Viljandi Culture Academy. From 2012-2016, Mari-Liis studied choreography at Tallinn University. In addition, she has been learning flamenco and gypsy dance with Lehti Kostabi for years. 
Tanel Ruben is a freelance musician and a lecturer at Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. He is also a percussion instrument teacher at Viljandi Culture Academy. He has pedagogical experience since 1999. As a musician, Tanel has participated in the following productions during the last five years: “Unified Estonia” (NO99, 2010), “The Black Rider” (VAT Theatre, 2011), “Nisa” (VAT Theare, 2011-2013) and “Carmen’s Unpublished Letters” (VAT Theatre, 2016). He has recorded more than 50 CDs, produced and released 5 CDs and created more than 120 pieces of music. Tanel has worked as Program Manager at Estonian Jazz Union (2006-2016), and as Head of Board from 2009-2014.

Tanel Ruben’s comment: The workshop encourages young people to create any kind of stories and situations by using text, movement or just rhythm.

Mari-Liis Velberg’s comment: Dance and theatre are excellent and freeing mediums for expressing oneself. The workshop offers a simple yet absorbing taste of movement and rhythm. Our first workshop shares knowledge about flamenco. Any succeeding workshops allow various options to look deeply into other styles. 

Information about the workshops and oher educational activities:
Mari-Liis Velberg
Leader of educational activities /