A rush of anxiety flowed through me at a velocious pace when I heard our workshop was going to be on dance. I stereotypically pictured a dance workshop with mirrored walls and a choreographed routine that we would have to memorise and repeat. I recalled on memories from school where I was a hesitant child and didn’t enjoy joining in on active sessions or expressive arts, unless it was art such as painting and drawing. However, I persisted and rid the negative thoughts and memories from school, and went into the workshop with an open mind.
After the workshop, I was surprised and overwhelmed by how much I actually enjoyed it! It especially made me realise that everyone can dance, and it doesn’t have to be a strict routine where only those who are fluent in dance are able to greatly participate. With being a shy child, I wasn’t one to express myself through things such as dance, or generally any exercise, so taking part in the workshop was a significant step for me in my self confidence, and not just in my studies.
I have found that dancing is a great way for children to release anxiety and gain confidence which can contribute to other areas of the curriculum, not just the expressive arts. It can encourage critical thinking in children which they can apply to things such as their maths problems or creative writing, for example. If I were to use the lesson plan kindly given by Eilidh Slattery, I would be certain that children were working together in teams, thinking about sequencing and creating solutions to problems. All of these skills can be applied to other areas of the curriculum as well as in every day life. I haven’t realised until now the affect these types of activities can have on children, as these are well needed skills which are being taught through dance.
After reading ‘Get Scotland Dancing’, a Scottish Government policy by Creative Scotland, I gained a better understanding as to why we have to get more people dancing. Key findings from the Scottish Health Survey reported that although 70-72% of children under 10 meet the Recommended Physical Activity (RPA), this figure reduces to 50% as the children progress into teenagers (age 13-15). The RPA for children is 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Some schools can only stretch in an hour a week for a PE session, which can be considered unacceptable, as in this generation, a lot of children are going home to play on their online devices and therefore are less likely to be playing actively outdoors. Get Scotland Dancing managed to achieve 546 dance events (and 74,636 participants!) with 448 of those events being over Scotland. With how important exercise and keeping active is, I’d like to think this was a great achievement.
I chuckled at the title of, “What? Me? Teach Dance?” by Russell-Bowie (2013), as I felt it was fitting to myself. With having no dance background, I found this article interesting to read, with its conclusions being that nationality backgrounds may play a fair part in teachers’ abilities and willingness to teach dance. In South Africa, participants were much more confident in teaching dance to their classes and strongly agreed/agreed that they had a stronger background in dance compared to those from Western countries. This was because they have been raised around dance from birth and it is a cultural thing for them to take part in. 34% of all participants said they did not enjoy or feel confident teaching dance, and only 20% said they felt they had at least a “good” dance background. If we continue to increasingly teach dance in the UK, wouldn’t we gradually find it more accepting and enjoyable to teach?
Through the workshop, I have been shown that dance can certainly be for everyone. I would like to go into schools with this attitude to show the children who are as shy as I was, that dance can be fun and refreshing! All it takes is some effort and an open mind, and the best thing to do is to give it a go and join in! It does not have to be a complicated, hard-to-remember sequence or a daunting performance, but just an enjoyable, creative lesson and routine for children to express themselves, and to give an opportunity to work on different skills and abilities. I am particularly glad that I had the chance to take part in this workshop, as it was very insightful, and I now feel a great amount more confident with teaching the expressive art of dance.
Creative Scotland. (2014). Get Scotland Dancing: A Literature Review. [online]. Scottish Government. Available at: https://www.creativescotland.com/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/26149/GSDLitReviewv2.pdf (Accessed on: 12 January 2019)
Creative Scotland: Get Scotland Dancing, 2014. Phase Two. Evaluation Report. [online]. Scottish Government. Available at: https://www.creativescotland.com/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/31626/Get-Scotland-Dancing-Phase-2-Evaluation-Report.pdf (Accessed on: 12 January 2019)
Russell-Bowie, Deirdre, E. (2013). What? Me? Teach Dance? Background and confidence of primary preservice teachers in dance education across five countries. Research in Dance Education. V(14.3). P216-232.