Before my group’s Dance workshop on Friday the 11th of January, I was looking forward to seeing what would be involved. As a student who loved Drama in high school, I am a big fan of and believer in the Expressive Arts as a way of teaching many lessons to children.
To start the workshop, Eilidh began with some simple exercises that allowed us to not only warm up physically but prepared us mentally for the tasks we would be taking part in. This is an effective way of waking children up and motivating them to fully take part in Dance. Expressive Arts interpret a lot of other areas of the curriculum. For example, when doing the warm-up exercises we were also practicing Physical Education (PE) as we were exercising our bodies and muscles. Music was also playing during this which we did the movements to, showing that Dance can also teach children some basics of Music, beat and rhythm. The curriculum we teach children will always be interlinked in various ways, and the Expressive Arts can be a great way of showing this. As a student teacher and professional, it is significant that I am aware of the different areas of the curriculum and the ways that they connect so that this can be clearly communicated to the children.
After the warm up activities, we were told to get into pairs and to think of as many ways we could travel across the room as possible. My partner and I came up with things such as skipping, hopping, jumping, star-jumping and many more. This links closely to the Curriculum for Excellence: Expressive Arts EXA 1-08a that states ‘I enjoy creating short dance sequences, using travel, turn, jump, gesture, pause and fall, within safe practice’. Here Eilidh was showing that a simple exercise allows children to imagine and present the basics for their own sequences of movement, giving them opportunities to explore in an environment they know is safe to do so. We were then told to present our favourite movement to half the class so that if anyone liked the look of the movement they could interpret it into their own. This relates to EXA 1-09a / EXA 2-09a, stating that ‘Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express my ideas, thoughts and feelings through creative work in dance’. This allows children to work collaboratively with one another and to use each others creations and ideas to inspire one another.
Towards the end of the workshop, we were teamed into slightly bigger groups so that we could create and perform a final dance piece. This involved a starting position, one of the movements practiced earlier, a turn, another movement and then a final pose. This allowed us to practice what we had learnt throughout the workshop and bring everything together so that we could perform it to the rest of the class. Joining the different aspects of the dance together was almost like a puzzle, as we had to think carefully about which movement should go where. EXA 1-10a states ‘I am becoming aware of different features of dance and can practice and perform steps, formations and short dance’. Short activities such as these allows children to gradually gain an understanding for Dance and it’s features by giving it a go themselves. When presenting and performing, Dance and other Expressive Arts can help to boost not only children’s confidence but also their self-esteem and resilience. These are only a few of the important features of Expressive Arts that I took away from this workshop.