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A Dance Fitness Innovation is Taking Place in Britian\'s Schools
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Are pupils in schools in England soon to be waltzing down the corridors? Dance is rapidly establishing itself as a valuable perhaps even mandatory part of the curriculum for school children. Dance and Movement therapy has long been on the curriculum at schools for children with special needs.

In the United Kingdom lessons in dance and movement are compulsory for primary school children. At one point it looked as if the National Curriculum would make dance mandatory up to the age of fourteen. This did not happen. Instead dance became one of the six areas of physical education from which pupils must choose four.

At present the GCSE ( General Certificate of Secondary Education) in Dance features coursework, a written exam and an assessment. The course aims to impart knowledge of dance as a whole and to develop skills in four main areas: Performance, Choreography, Technique and Dance Appreciation. Students learn to create their own dances, they undertake a theoretical study of one main set dance work and four supporting professional works.

Dance can also be offered as an exam subject at AS (Advanced Subsidiary Level) and A (Advanced) Level. Young people have to be seriously interested in dance to take it at exam level and very few boys do.

Dance is often taught by teachers within the Physical Education Department rather than by professional dancers although their services are called in if and when resources permit.

At the moment there are approximately 500 schools and colleges taking AS and A Level dance and 911 teaching GCSE dance. Social dance and classical ballet are not usually dance styles which are taught.

The North Americans have been more ready to embrace Dance and Movement Therapy as relevant to everyone. Dr. Judith Lynne Hanna in her excellent book "Partnering Dance and Education" points out the many advantages of dance for students in their place of education. She shows how it is possible to teach academic, citizenship and workplace skills through dance. Cognitive learning can also be enhanced. Teaching dance as a social art fosters personal development. General aesthetic appreciation is another benefit. On my website I have written at length about  the therapeutic effects of dance in eliminating stress

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the UK and an educational charity, The Aldridge Foundation, has funded a dance course for schools designed by popular "Strictly Come Dancing" stars Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova. At the moment the course is being launched in 30 schools in various parts of the country. If successful it will go nation wide in the summer.

Lilia started dancing classes at age four and thought that if Russia could provide dance lessons for everyone why couldn't this also happen in a wealthy nation like Britain. Lillia saw many benefits to the idea which united keeping fit and the social aspect. She and her husband Darren Bennet realized that "Strictly come Dancing" had almost single handedly changed peoples' perception of ballroom dancing. Celebrities from all walks of life had shown how with first class tuition it was possible to become a good dancer after a few weeks tuition. Male sporting celebrities have proved to be good role models for boys. Teenage girls who dislike Physical Education are attracted by the glamour of ballroom dancing and notice the fact that the celebrities lose weight as they become fitter through the aerobic exercise.

Chairman Rod Aldridge was keen to fund a dance project because dance had helped him so much during his schooldays. He was not academic but he was good at sports and his father who was himself a championship dancer introduced him to ballroom dancing. This activity gave Rod Aldridge self-confidence which influenced all aspects of his life.

The project named "Essentially Dance" will give lessons to two teachers from each participating school so that they are able to lead the dance sessions for large groups of pupils. The creative inter-action between boys and girls can only lead to improved relations between the sexes. All the teachers need is in the teaching handbook and the DVD. Basic waltz, quick step, jive and the cha-cha-cha will be on the syllabus. If pupils enjoy the sessions they can learn more in after school clubs and regular dance classes.

Roehampton University is monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the project.

I think this is a splendid, cost effective approach to introducing people to Dance which I am sure will be veAre pupils in schools in England soon to be waltzing down the corridors? Dance is rapidly establishing itself as a valuable perhaps even mandatory part of the curriculum for school children. Dance and Movement therapy has long been on the curriculum at schools for children with special needs.

In the United Kingdom lessons in dance and movement are compulsory for primary school children. At one point it looked as if the National Curriculum would make dance mandatory up to the age of fourteen. This did not happen. Instead dance became one of the six areas of physical education from which pupils must choose four.

At present the GCSE ( General Certificate of Secondary Education) in Dance features coursework, a written exam and an assessment. The course aims to impart knowledge of dance as a whole and to develop skills in four main areas: Performance, Choreography, Technique and Dance Appreciation. Students learn to create their own dances, they undertake a theoretical study of one main set dance work and four supporting professional works.

Dance can also be offered as an exam subject at AS (Advanced Subsidiary Level) and A (Advanced) Level. Young people have to be seriously interested in dance to take it at exam level and very few boys do.

Dance is often taught by teachers within the Physical Education Department rather than by professional dancers although their services are called in if and when resources permit.

At the moment there are approximately 500 schools and colleges taking AS and A Level dance and 911 teaching GCSE dance. Social dance and classical ballet are not usually dance styles which are taught.

The North Americans have been more ready to embrace Dance and Movement Therapy as relevant to everyone. Dr. Judith Lynne Hanna in her excellent book "Partnering Dance and Education" points out the many advantages of dance for students in their place of education. She shows how it is possible to teach academic, citizenship and workplace skills through dance. Cognitive learning can also be enhanced. Teaching dance as a social art fosters personal development. General aesthetic appreciation is another benefit. On my website I have written at length about  the therapeutic effects of dance in eliminating stress

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the UK and an educational charity, The Aldridge Foundation, has funded a dance course for schools designed by popular "Strictly Come Dancing" stars Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova. At the moment the course is being launched in 30 schools in various parts of the country. If successful it will go nation wide in the summer.

Lilia started dancing classes at age four and thought that if Russia could provide dance lessons for everyone why couldn't this also happen in a wealthy nation like Britain. Lillia saw many benefits to the idea which united keeping fit and the social aspect. She and her husband Darren Bennet realized that "Strictly come Dancing" had almost single handedly changed peoples' perception of ballroom dancing. Celebrities from all walks of life had shown how with first class tuition it was possible to become a good dancer after a few weeks tuition. Male sporting celebrities have proved to be good role models for boys. Teenage girls who dislike Physical Education are attracted by the glamour of ballroom dancing and notice the fact that the celebrities lose weight as they become fitter through the aerobic exercise.

Chairman Rod Aldridge was keen to fund a dance project because dance had helped him so much during his schooldays. He was not academic but he was good at sports and his father who was himself a championship dancer introduced him to ballroom dancing. This activity gave Rod Aldridge self-confidence which influenced all aspects of his life.

The project named "Essentially Dance" will give lessons to two teachers from each participating school so that they are able to lead the dance sessions for large groups of pupils. The creative inter-action between boys and girls can only lead to improved relations between the sexes. All the teachers need is in the teaching handbook and the DVD. Basic waltz, quick step, jive and the cha-cha-cha will be on the syllabus. If pupils enjoy the sessions they can learn more in after school clubs and regular dance classes.

Roehampton University is monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the project.

I think this is a splendid, cost effective approach to introducing people to Dance which I am sure will be very well received and successful with pupils.


By Dzagbe Cudjoe MA
All rights reserved. Any reproducing of this article must have the author name and all the links intact.

Author: MA

Biography: Dzagbe Cudjoe is a Dance and Movement Therapist, Intuitive Counselor, Healer and Ethnologist with a keen interest in promoting Dance as a means of achieving Mind-Body-and-Spirit integration.She is the author of the manual "Dance to Health -Help Your Special Needs Child Through Inspirational Dance". She has just published a book of children's stories "Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me".

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