Exploring Community with The Eras Tour Movie

Moviegoers are sporting a special look this fall. Glittery shirts and jackets. Purple jerseys with the number 13 on the back. Colorful friendship bracelets wrapped around wrists. Bright red lipstick for some. All in tribute to Taylor Swift and the premiere of The Eras Tour movie, which is breaking box office records just like the actual concert tour.

Walking into my local theater, I spotted several groups with grandmothers, moms, and (grand)children. Seated in front of me were an eight-year-old boy and his ten-year-old sister, accompanied by their mom and two aunts. To my left were a pair of young adult couples, and a couple of rows over was a quartet of preteen girls. All danced and/or sang along with the music at various points.

Part of what distinguishes Swifties from other pop star followers is their strong emphasis on building community across generations and differences. Use children’s experience of the concert film as an opportunity to explore the qualities and value of community with one or more of these activities.

Mutual respect. Swift treats her audience with respect. She acknowledges their cheers and chants as gifts shared with her and invites them to accompany her on a musical journey. Ask children: What are some ways people show you respect? What are ways you show others respect? Make a list of several ways of being respectful and encourage kids to keep it as a reminder note on their phone or post it someplace where they will see it frequently.

Seen & heard. Swift frequently makes eye contact with the camera to help those watching feel like she sees them. She also encourages the audience to sing along with songs that express their life experiences and values. Invite children to close their eyes and recall a time when someone listened carefully to them while they talked about their hopes and challenges. Ask them how they felt as that person welcomed their words. Encourage them to mentally scan their bodies and notice how each part of them feels now as they remember being seen and heard by another.

Bracelet connections. In “You’re on Your Own, Kid”, Swift sings of making friendship bracelets as a way of connecting with others. Provide colored embroidery thread or elastic string and beads for children to make bracelets. Encourage them to use colors that reflect their personality. Include alphabet beads so they can spell out words that signify values they hold dear (e.g., love, compassion, equality). Suggest that they give their bracelets to someone with whom they want to connect.

Moving words. Songs like “Shake It Off” and “You Need to Calm Down” encourage people to move and dance, both because the music is catchy and the words express values they care about. Invite children to pick a Swift (or other artist’s) song that contains a message they want to share with others. Encourage them to create movements to accompany the lyrics and then perform them while you sing along. You might even record and share your dance moves on social media.



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