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The Power of Dance in Primary Schools

For many years I have worked with issue-based dance in youth contexts, from touring professional work, to working in targeted health interventions in both community and education sectors. My experiences and the stories of the people I have met along the way have made me believe wholeheartedly in the power of dance as a vehicle for learning – physically, emotionally and socially.

Last week Challenge 59 began in one of our three East London Primary School partners. We are using dance as a vehicle for learning about health and wellbeing and psychosocial health, through embodied learning and creative processes. We have been thinking a lot about the importance of reflection as an artist and what that brings back to your practice. We also use reflection as a tool in our sessions with participants and would like to share a few thoughts with you from a group of 5-6 year olds!

When asked what they think or learnt in the session:

‘that you can move in different ways’
‘I learnt that your brain and your thoughts can help your health and not just exercise or food’
‘I learnt what a gesture is’
‘I learnt that some relationships with people like family or friends can make you be healthy’

When asked what they felt after the session:

‘happy because it was fun’
‘hot and tired’
‘even though I am tired I got more energy’
‘Excited and surprised it wasn’t what I thought it would be’
‘scared at the start because it was something new’

When asked how they related to each other in the session:

‘We did good teamwork’
‘We had to watch each other and you could get new ideas for new ways to move’
‘That our relationships can affect our health too’

When asked for any other comments or anything they may have learnt about themselves:

‘The dance session made me remember who I am and that I can be myself more when I exercise’
‘I found it difficult but it might get easier next week’
‘I feel confident’
‘I feel healthy’

We look forward to starting in two more schools next week and sharing their reflections in the next blog!

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