Danica Lorer

Danica Lorer

Langham, SK

Danica Lorer has been a professional storyteller for more than 15 years. She collects and imagines stories and pictures throughout Saskatchewan and beyond. She lives in the small rural community of Langham, just outside of Saskatoon. She follows the highway as a ribbon tying her to the amazing sky, clear water, words on the wind and beautiful people. She reaches out with her telling to audiences of all ages at festivals, libraries, schools, extended care homes and more. Danica facilitates storytelling workshops inviting participants to reach into their memories, imaginations and surroundings. She is grateful for the gift of the story. She advocates for the arts including storytelling, reminding people that storytelling only succeeds with the participation of the listeners. Danica loves to listen to stories. She knows storytelling requires risk and trust and builds relationships as people find the common threads weaving their own stories together. She loves to tell tales from around the world, those passed on from other tellers and those that have sprouted from the seeds of her own imagination and experience.

Danica grew up listening to stories around kitchen tables and campfires always wanting to know more. She not only collects stories but lives them. She has been struck by lightening and was hit by a car while walking. She has paddled a canoe, arm-wrestling with the wind on the North Saskatchewan River and has been a victim of a hit and run accident on the highway when a moose ran into her car and then ran through a ditch and onto the streets of a small Saskatchewan town. Danica keeps her eyes and ears open as she travels throughout her neighbourhood and the nation.

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I have adapted my storytelling sets for a variety of ages, group sizes and venues. I am conscious of short attention spans and lead audiences into story experiences that will meet them at their level of understanding.

The following is a sample set prepared for students from kindergarten to grade 2. I often welcome the children into the world of the story by asking them if they would like to stretch their imaginations with me. I ask for ways they can keep their bodies healthy, responses like running, biking and swimming are common. I ask them if they exercise their minds as well and responses including reading books, colouring, and using their imaginations. I tell them it is really important to keep their imaginations in shape. I lead the imagination stretch by asking them to close their eyes and reach their hands up, still sitting. As they reach I ask them to pretend they can first reach the ceiling, then the sky and then beyond, closing their eyes tighter as the reach increases. I invite them to fold into balls to imagine themselves as tiny things and then gently reach out arms without reaching into others’ space to reach as far as they can, across the room, across the town and around the world with a big hug. I encourage a little wiggle and a shake and then begin a story.

At this point they have just spent some time active and I tell a story requiring a bit of focus that takes about 10-15 minutes, this will usually be the longest story I have chosen for the performance. The rest will be shorter taking into account the short attention span of the young listeners. Between the stories I will often encourage the young people to sing a song with me and depending on the size of the crowd and the facility I may take volunteers who will help me out by playing some of the interesting rhythm instruments from my collection. When the song is over I will invite them to listen to another story, possibly one with audience participation for instance “The Wide-Mouthed Frog”. I introduce the character as a little creature who likes to ask lots of questions and ask them if they like to ask questions, too. During the story they will guess the animals the frog meets up with by the clues in the story. I often follow this with another song, perhaps with actions. I will tell another story, possibly a story filled with smells, sights and sounds mined from my experiences in the Boreal forests of Saskatchewan. I will follow that with a short, amusing story from another land. I try to keep track of time so when I still have 5 minutes left I can ask them if they would like just one more story. They always do, and I finish off the set with something fun or funny like “The Bearded Fish”, an American tall tale.

I transition between the stories with personal anecdotes and little bits that connect the stories to the theme of the concert or the season or the community. The linkages not only connect the stories but connect the teller to the listeners.

I end by thanking them for letting me share stories with them, thanking sponsors and encouraging them to listen for the stories all around and to tell their own.

Telling to older students, even high school students, allows me to tell longer stories with less action and interaction. I am able to share more stories about my experiences growing up in Saskatchewan enjoying the lakes and other amazing natural resources as well as stories with deeper emotions.

Presentation type: Other

Recommended levels: Junior kindergarten, Senior kindergarten, Primary (1-3), Junior (4-6), Intermediate (7-8), High school (9-12)