Professional dance companies and teaching artists based in New Jersey joined together this week to participate in the annual Dance to Learn Community Day. Participants engaged in a range of activities to learn new ways to teach the Dance to Learn curriculum.
Dance to Learn is a four-year interdisciplinary dance curriculum with the goal to advance dance education in schools and community settings.
The Dance to Learn curriculum is both arts-based and truly arts-integrated that:
♦ Encourages students to explore, internalize and transform classroom learning and the elements of dance while developing their individual creative voices.
♦ Offers opportunities for students to reflect, critique and connect personal experiences to their learning of dance and in their classrooms.
♦ Is adaptive to any dance style, genre, or culture.
♦ Provides an inroad to kinesthetic learning and connects to language arts, mathematics, science and social studies, physical education and music curriculums.
♦ Offers formative and summative assessment and documentation tools to help measure the effectiveness of student learning and facilitator impact
Among the teaching artists participating was Roundtable admin staffer Maeve McEwen, who is an apprentice with New Jersey-based Nimbus Dance Works. McEwen said of the day-long event: “the Dance to Learn Community Day was a wonderful and inspiriting way to learn about the Dance to Learn curriculum through exploration and creativity. I enjoyed meeting and collaborating with other professional dance educators working in the New Jersey schools and learning new techniques that I’ll be bringing into my classrooms this semester.”
Participants explored ways to use dance for an integrated learning appraoch. For example, in improvisational exercise focused on how movement can connect to and explore a text, using the poem Walkers with the Dawn, by Langston Hughes:
Being walkers with the dawn and morning,
Walkers with the sun and morning,
We are not afraid of night,
Nor days of gloom,
Being walkers with the sun and morning.
New Jersey schools can find out more about bringing the Dance to Learn to their students by contacting Lees Hummel at firstname.lastname@example.org.