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make your day dance

Why Dance Matters: it transforms

April 15th, 2010 · 6 Comments · Tags: ·

Join the discussion about Why Dance Matters here & here.  Here’s one of my thoughts…  & I have almost as many more such thoughts, as I’ve had students!

When Tiffany  arrived in my class as a 5th grader, she often refused to take her place in class, or even take off her coat. Standing against a wall, she would editorialize on my teaching and other students’ participation. On a good day, she barely contained her attitude enough to stay. Other days, her harassment of other students got so bad, I had to ask her to leave.  As we moved into choreography, however, she was engaged. She was the one who knew every part of the “Sports Blues” dance her group was building, directing her group members into the right place at the right time. On the night of the performance, she was there. Her mother left before seeing her perform, so she had to scrabble for a ride home, but Tiffany stayed — both to perform & to see the other classes perform.

6 Comments so far ↓

  • Nichelle

    Thanks so very much, Meg, for this contribution. It gives me chills. I really hope it doesn’t seem like I’m blowing smoke but K-12 dance teachers are heroes to me, honestly. A tough, tough job from every angle and one I’m not sure I would ever have the heart or strength for. Just about every post you write here might be considered a Why Dance Matters post. A heartfelt thank you for all that you do.

  • megrm

    Thanks, Nichelle! And for your Why Dance Matters event! I wish I had time to be more involved, but I’m glad you’re managing to get it done. You’re building a fabulous community.

  • sionan

    It is a teacher, we all have stories/memories of changed lives. What we can offer is so important in this world.

  • Kathleen Kingsley

    This is a very interesting phenomenon that have also observed. My school is an expeditionary learning school (ELOB) and I teach dance integration. We have two “expeditions a year, one in the fall and one in the spring. Both expeditions are preceded by a unit of creative movement – the tools of creating dances. Interest in this part of the curriculum ranges widely. But when the students get into creating the dances based on what they are learning in their expeditions, then they are engaged. As engaged students, they create some wonderful choreography. I think there are a few things at work here. The first is, of course, engagement. Their work or “voice’ interests them more than my work. The second is that there is something intrinsically engaging about design. We humans have an appreciation for design and creating or designing dances is fulfilling. The third is the fact that dance is, after all, a performing art. So the excitement that comes with the prospect of performing is unique and powerful!


  • megrm

    All three points well-taken, Kathleen: engagement in the process, the pull of creative energy, and the excitement of performance. Thanks for dissecting the transformation!