How We Play: Circus Acrobatics, Breakin’ & Capoeira

October 24, 2014-May 1, 2015
3rd and 4th Floors, Rosenberg Library
Library Hours

Breakin' in Zanzibar

Play is essential to all of our development and to our sense of well being. In this exhibition, Guest Curator Jarrel Phillips explores the concept of play as taught in City College of San Francisco’s Child and Family Development Department. He looks at the practice of circus arts, breakin’/break dancing and of Capoeira, the Brazilian form that is part dance, part martial art.

Guest Curataor: Jarrel Phillips
Designer: Christine Ferrer
Hand Lettering: Jian Giannini

Zanzibar solo

by Jarrel Phillips

Some things we are just born knowing. No one taught you how to breath, sleep, digest, eat, laugh, or acquire language. We know why we do them and can easily correlate values and benefits to each but we don’t know how we are able to perform these functions. I would like to add “PLAY,” to this list of phenomenon. PLAY, in its purest form, extends beyond the innate intelligence of our biological processes raising two puzzling questions: ‘How?’ and ‘Why’? Why are we born with this ability? And, why do some of us stop PLAYing as we get older… or do we really?

Studies show that PLAY is paramount to the development of young children. The lack of it can be the catalyst to many social, physical, and cognitive disorders throughout childhood, adolescence and even adulthood. Research has proven that play is the way children learn about the world around them. Now as an adult, I find myself asking, does PLAY serve a purpose outside of our childhood and adolescence?

It is no exaggeration to state that play is fundamental part of my life. And with 13 years of experience as a teacher, I have spent most of my days with the master PLAYers I call kids and young people. From the San Francisco Bay Area to East Africa and beyond, my interactions with children range from homework assistance, to outside supervision, to basketball coaching, circus acrobatics, and, of course, Capoeira. I get to have fun all day.

The purpose of this exhibition is to show how PLAY takes shape in our lives. Through the personal and cultural experiences of children, adults, artists and scholars, this exhibition explores the existence and signicance of PLAY beyond childhood to adulthood; the stage of life where society often deems play unnecessary. However,

PLAY is all around us. It is a lifestyle. HOW WE PLAY—IS HOW WE LIVE. 

Download How We Play a list of library resources on play and the exhibition assignment


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