Dance in school
Dance in schools is a great tool that builds the creativity of kids in respective of a future career.
As an expressive art, it is as important in our lives and schools as every other topic.
So many times, people underestimate the power of dance in schools. You hear words like, what can dance do? how does it add value to your life? what reasonable career can one make from the dance?
These folk have this perspective because they have no idea about the power of dance in schools and its significance.
Follow me and let’s take a tour through the world of dance from the African perspective and how we can encourage dance in schools.
Meaning of Dance
Dance is a human behaviour or engagement that comes from his inner ability and reaction to express, organize, move, relate and communicate.
It is a form of entertainment, sport, expression, a non-verbal means of communication, a medium of worship and a link between the physical and the abstract world.
How Dance Started
Dance is as old as man. You can’t take dance from man. Even if the movement does not fit into a pattern, it can still be called dance.
Dance comes from movement – locomotive and non-locomotive. How long have humans being moving? Since birth – the movement took place right from the onset of creation.
As year’s roll by and the early man becomes more aware of his environment, he believes a being/ God is responsible for some unexplained phenomenon in his life like rainfall.
Anytime he wants to worship and ask favour from the gods, he prays and does some movement to show his respect. By so doing, a repetitive movement was created.
Early Men History To Dance
Also when the early man comes back from a hunt, he gives a narrative tale on how he killed an animal putting one foot after another describing the process for a vivid imagination.
This became a norm and little by little, steps were created and dance styles were invented.
Every continent has a history of how dance emerges in African however, every tribe has a story.
Behind every style of dance, there is a tale.
There are more than 10,000 different languages in Africa and each possibly has many dance patterns.
Among the Igbo’s, Akan, Efik, Azande, and Kamba, dance encompasses vocal and instrumental music including the drums.
Music and dance are like Siamese twins in Africa. Every ritual and tradition is always dance-driven. Day to day activities also encourages dance.
Most of these dances are vigorous and others subtle but no matter the timing they all build the community.
Why Dance is important in schools.
- Dance builds communal interest among students.
- A vigorous dance helps one lose weight. ( Do you know you burn about 180 calories in just 30mins of dancing?)
- Dance strengthens ties among friends.
- Dance stretches the muscles.
- It works out your heart
- It lowers blood pressure
- It makes you fit
- It helps build the brain to memorize
- It is a fun way to play and learn
- A non-verbal way of communication
- A beautiful way of expressing love.
Why dance should be taught in schools
I was once a contemporary dance teacher in a school and one day, they invited me for a dance class for one of their school talk show.
I usually take the junior class but now, they are inviting me to take the senior students.
During the talk show, about an hour, the teenagers were losing concentration and the organizers noticed. A few minutes later, I was introduced to take over.
Aware that some of the students are new to dance and am also a new teacher, I made them understand that anyone and everyone can dance.
Dance Is For Everyone
I made them understand that, you do not have to be an expert to dance. All you need is to move your body to the rhythm and express yourself.
They were a bit shy at first, so I took the first move. I did a little ballet to some slow tunes, trying to see the students who love this style of dance, then I did a contemporary routine about love.
This style brought about some togetherness and later I did our Country’s hip hop called Nija craze.
The mood heightened. From trying different moves, I was able to do a routine that infuses a lot of movements. I was more focused on the process than the patterns or styles.
Today’s Ideology about Dance
These days, when professionals are called/when one goes for an audition, much relevance is given to the style of dance rather than the message the dancer is trying to pass.
Do not think that there should not be a technique in dance, but I believe the statements represented are of uttermost value too.
Sometimes the words in the movement are not easily comprehended nevertheless the emotions shown goes a long way to show you what the dancer is trying to say.
With this mentality of mine, I used every possible movement from the student to create a routine. We even infuse props to make it more exciting.
The main goal was to lighten them up – which I did archive by the end of the day.
Dance in schools is an exciting way of learning. Let’s take for example you want to solve a math equation that deals with abstract numbers.
How We Can Use Dance In Maths Class
All you have to do is to create a personal movement that appears to you. It does not have to make sense.
If you can remember every move, you will be able to recall your equation.
Another example can be like this in a dance form. If I want to teach kids one + one is = two, all I have to do is, raise my right hand to my right, then raise my left hand to my left, then put both of them together in front of me like I want to throw a ball. Adding both hands together represent two.
Now tell me, which do you think a child will remember the most? 1+1=2 or the movement of right hand out, then left hand out, and shoot. Your guess is as good as mine.
At the end of the day, the child is not fatigue but relax, he/she enjoys the dance while learning, which also builds the memory.
What more can we ask for? This technique can be applied to all subjects. It does not necessarily have to be the only way but it is a means to retain a lot.
This tool, however, is not taken seriously but seen as a pastime.
We all crave ways to improve our kid’s reasoning and to archive this, we will have to change the method.
The method of self-learning to communal learning. A learning environment where we do more together with friends in a knitted way.
This is the spirit of the African people. Togetherness in dance binds the community.
Why dance is good for you
Somebody once asked me, why do you dance? And I said it helps me escape reality. She was shocked by my response from the look on her face.
We’ve all got to a point in our life where we feel stuck. It feels like nothing interesting is taking off. At that point, all you need is to let go.
For some their escape flight is music, for me it is dance. Do you know there is a way you will dance and you will start crying or even laughing out loud?
Dancing involves the whole of the body. So when you dance, your entire being relates to you. And the more you dance and let go, you can enter into another realm.
A realm where you feel at peace like you can do anything and you just got the answers to that question that has been keeping you awake all night.
That is the unconscious stage. A stage where the body expresses your deepest fears and desires. Mind you, before you get to this stage, the body and soul must be one. You must take all within and let go of your physical self.
This is no super story but a fact. There is a way you will dance that you will not be aware of your physical environment. It’s no magic nor spell but the power of dance.
This I have witnessed. After the episode, you will feel free like you’ve never been before.
In a nutshell, you don’t have to be a professional to dance, just move the way you feel and watch things change. Also do not forget to include the dance in your child’s studies.
Dance in schools is very important and should take a solid foundation in our academic system.