Lesson Plan: No Pain, No Gain
the following quotation by Karen Kain on the chalkboard: "Canadians really saw
me as the sugar plum fairy." Ask students if they are familiar with Kain's role
as the sugar plum fairy in The Nutcracker Suite. Have them discuss what
images this statement brings to mind, what the connotations of being the sugar
plum fairy might be, and what Kain might have meant by this statement.
Outline the Opportunity
students to the topic Karen Kain, Prima
Ballerina on the CBC Digital Archives website. Initiate a discussion about
the expectations that an artist might have of herself, and the public scrutiny
and criticism of artists. Ask: Why might artists be more vulnerable to public
opinion than people who do other types of work? Have students research and
refer to the clips to find out about the training and dedication required of
Kain as a prima ballerina, and then write an essay on the topic. They are to
give an opinion about whether Kain could best be described as a sugar plum
fairy or a dramatic dancer within her career, and justify their view.
Revisit and Reflect
Revisit the quotation with the class and give students the opportunity to voice their opinions. Ask: What elements of a dancer's life does the public not see within any dramatic performance?
Students can perform research to compare the number of hours per week required of a person within a "traditional" job to the number of hours required of a dramatic dancer.