Increasingly, I am becoming more and more passionate about incorporating dance into the curriculum in new and inspiring ways. Dance really is a universal language, anyone can dance – any where, any place, any time – and I find there is something beautiful about the telling of a story without the need for words.
I feel that within the curriculum, Expressive Arts are greatly overlooked and considered to be of minimal importance in comparison to areas such as Literacy or the STEM subjects. In my opinion, the role of the teacher is to engage pupils in their learning and to help them to ENJOY what they are studying and by regularly incorporating Dance, Drama, Art and Music into everyday lessons that key enjoyment can be readily achieved.
During the dance workshops, I was pleased to realise that all my previous experience in teaching dance was pretty spot on in terms of what we are expected to do as a teacher – pat on the back for Miss Petrie. I’m not really scared to teach dance in the primary schools, in fact it’s probably the are I’m most comfortable with. I have always loved teaching and learning in relation to literacy through dance; unpicking the key elements of a story, poem or play and recreating it to make a short, stimulating dance drama piece.
My favourite experience as a dance leader was creating a short dance-drama piece on the poem Havisham by Carol-Ann Duffy. I studied Duffy at both Higher and Advanced Higher level in English and LOVED her work and the prospect of bringing her words to life inspired me. I worked with around 40 girls from 1st year to 6th year, presenting the poem in a new & exciting way – bringing the words out of the paper and making sense of them on the stage. By the end of one month of practice, we all knew the poem word for word and the story behind the words inside-out. The best part for me was seeing young girls who ‘HATED’ English, actively engaging with and enjoying great Scottish literature. How many English teachers could have inspired that simply with a few annotations to the side of each verse on a page?
I’m a huge advocate for literature through dance, anything through dance for that matter! I would really encourage any one who feels they couldn’t teach a dance lesson to give it a go. In my opinion, there is no ‘right’ way to dance – you just go with the flow and do what you feel. I find it empowering to express my thoughts and ideas in creative ways, and I would love to encourage my pupils to feel the same.