Hip hop camp!

Moomin’s been going to dance camp the last few weeks and he loves it. For years we’ve noticed this club, Community Street Jam, in the local parades and downtown performances, standing out from the crowd as they dance well and have a great time. It turns out that in their unpretentious looking gym in the strip mall next to my office building they really are a fantastic community, living up to their name. The kids are hanging out, teaching each other, taking the dance classes, in a warm atmosphere that encourages creativity.

This week Moomin participated in the downtown “jam”. Along with performances and dance lessons where the crowd was invited to join in, there were a bunch of informal circles where people were doing freestyle. So as people felt like it they’d jump into the middle of the circle and do some dancing. Moomin loves to dance and is good at it, but is a little shy. I was so proud of the way he jumped in and of all his dancing!

Here, Moomin jumps in around the 1 minute mark – you can see his blue hair. He’s interested in doing handstands and spins like some of the other kids his age.

All the dances and performances were great! And especially how the audience joined in and everyone felt comfortable.

This was the finale, with all the kids participating, and very impressive and cool!

This was my favorite dance, choreographed by one of the older boys in the club, Francisco, for himself and two little kids about 6 years old. They work together beautifully and the triangular formations they get into impressed me. I also liked their choice of music, making something old really fresh.

One thing I noticed across many of the kids’ performances was the style of starting off with one song, then abruptly switching music, not blended together like a DJ or a mashup might, but just jumping tracks. Once I got used to it, it was interesting and made me think. My expectations would go one way with the first bit of the song, and then I’d get a jolt and have to adjust how I was watching the dance! Very cool!

Too cool for school

Moomin has been in “science and art” camp for weeks: Camp Galileo. They’re really organized and send home daily newsletters (mostly canned…) and at the end of the week, photos of all the kids and a certificate. I think the “science” they do is overhyped, so there is a lot of bridge-building from popsicle sticks, fun but with these things I always wish they would dig deeper and make things more “real”.

Meanwhile there is a lot of loafing and comic books and reading going on over here, and we continue to make stuff out of the Howtoons book.

Milo in a hat

But we haven’t made a movie, or started a band, or learned programming, or done experiments with electricity, and and and…

Though on the “experiments with electricity” front, I am giving Moomin a quarter every time he turns off a light in a room no one’s using.

Reading: Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbottsen, which I pitched to him as “kids doing magical marine rescue.”

We looked at the Daily Ocean blog, whose author goes for a 20-minute walk every day to pick up trash on the beach. She photographs it and writes beautiful, thoughtful posts. After 40 days of picking up trash, she had collected over 200 pounds of trash. Keep in mind that’s only 20 minutes a day!

And we watched The Bots, two teenagers from LA with a punk rock band:

Moomin goes to snack camp

M. at camp
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry

Moomin: This camp is GREAT! This is the best camp ever! They had Honey Nut Cheerios!!
Me: Hahahaha! Awesome! Hahahaahah!
Moomin: AND they had raisins.
Me: No way. Hahahaha. Raisins!
Moomin: Yes! At the first snack time before the aftercare they also had Cheezits!
Moomin: Oh! I get it.
Me: Heehehehehehe
Moomin: You’re laughing because I sort of should be talking about the Marine Science part of the camp. And not the snacks.
Me: You are correct, my son. I do love good snacks. On the other hand did not pay freaking four hundred bucks for you to attend Snack Camp.
Moomin: Well, let me tell you about the sort of British things. They’re very tiny and live in salt ponds. I think, sort of British, but not really…
Me: Brine shrimp?
Moomin: YES! Sea monkeys! I learned about the ecology of estuaries! There’s this very, very bad thing, called acid rain. I petted a shark. And, we made a model of pollution, and then we smashed it!
Me: Oh well okay then, definitely $400 well spent.