Tutu’s not required – Demystifying the truth about dance in the Primary Classroom

Teachers need not be fearful of the new Primary School Dance Curriculum. There are many very simple ways to introduce students to the wonders of learning through movement.

The Australian Curriculum requires that Dance be included for students in all classrooms but what exactly does this mean and how are teachers who don’t know a plie from a pas de deux expected to successfully accomplish it.

Dance has long been thought of as a highly accomplished art form. One which takes many years of practice and a great deal of dedication to succeed at. It is little wonder that the thought of teaching it in the Primary classroom setting has many teachers running for cover.

The Australian Curriculum describes dance as “expressive movement with purpose and form”.

With this in mind, it is the teacher’s job to engage the students in activities that inspire them to explore the world around them through movement.

This can be done through stimulus such as props and costumes, music or a piece of artwork. It could be a response to a story read to the class or a physical representation of a concept learnt in maths.

It may involve learning about other cultures and the way they represent themselves through dance or about celebrations and rituals and the important role movement plays in these.

Dance in the curriculum is not meant to be a technical or highly structured event. It involves students in choreographing, rehearsing, performing and responding.

Working both independently and collaboratively allows students to develop social skills and increased confidence.

As the Australian Curriculum identifies, “Active participation as dancers, choreographers and audiences promotes students’ wellbeing and social inclusion.”

Brisbane Based Dance Cart has made it their mission to equip teachers with the tools to incorporate dance into the classes they teach across all areas of the curriculum.

“The idea for Dance Cart came about 9 years ago when I was working as an Arts Specialist teacher at a Brisbane Primary School.” Says Dance Cart Principal Amy Kirwan. “After many enquiries from teachers concerned about having to teach dance, I designed a program which can either take care of the entire Dance curriculum for the teachers or which can educate them to teach the dance curriculum themselves.”

Dance Cart run a fully curriculum based program, taught by Board Registered teachers, complete with assessment for each student and a costumed performance at the end of the program. For schools who wish to teach the dance curriculum themselves, Dance Cart offer a teacher inservice program aimed at providing lots of ideas and activities that can be taken and used immediately in the classroom. Upcoming teacher inservice topics include ‘Dance games and activities for everyday classroom time’, ‘Dance in the Maths classroom’ and ‘Dance for everyone – How to include reluctant dancers and students with special needs’.

Amy and the Dance Cart team help thousands of students and teachers each year to unleash their creative side and discover the benefits of a dance education without a tutu or pair of tights in sight.

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