Intro to the HA!Man visits to Schools

it is in performing to children of all age groups that i feel myself at most being "the HA!Man". a school performance still carries the spontaneously unfolding item-based character of the regular performances, yet is highly interactive, where i act something of a pied piper to draw out music, dance and song from the youngsters - both individually and as a group.

through non-verbal gesture and odd communicative sounds, i would typically elicit interest from some to come and play with me on stage, with no direct instruction other than to make a sound, any sound! through the way i accompany this, a surprising musical expression would then ensue to the delight and bemusement of the assembled.

youngsters are invited to try out things they have never done before (like playing the cello), to join in dance, have a conversation or make up a song. throughout i will keep them entertained with my own items and improvisations, eventually addressing them around the issue of the creativity that lives in each and all of us. often, the desire to participate on stage grows so strong that i painfully have to show away hundreds of eager hands waving in the air. for many, a HA!Man school performance comes as a rare allowance to discover hidden talents and vent neglected feelings - a unique freedom that in stead of producing chaos, brings raw beauty to surface.

well over two decades, hundreds of schools have been visited in four continents, from posh private institutions to regular public schools, township and rural schools, universities and colleges. the HA!Man also performs to alternative education schools, home schooling groups and especially to children who are physically and mentally challenged.

fees are affordable and performances typically happen during assembly, lasting up to an hour. in most cases i come with all necessary and adequate sound equipment. school visits can also include workshops to smaller and specialized groups. district-based residencies are sometimes organized to cover a number of schools over a two or three day period, culminating in a public and participatory concert.

a HA!Man performance infuses our results-pressured school environments with the mystery of constructive play and the enjoyment of creative risk-taking, those unquantifiables without which education and the process of growing up lose their soul and vitality.