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What is dance about?

Dancing is like dreaming with your feet.


Connections: Who is dance for?

Dance is for everyone. We can all move and we can all dance.

If you can [move] you can dance.

Traditional proverb from Zimbabwe

Dance celebrates learners’ many cultures.

Dance explores learners’ diverse experiences.

Today’s learners are diverse in backgrounds, in cultures, in experiences, and in abilities. They are, however, all digital consumers and connected.

In dance, both the differences and the similarities of learners are supported. Dance caters for a wide range of abilities. It offers both the known and the new – encouragement, support, and challenge.

Dance values who the learner is and what they bring with them to the learning space. In dance, identity is central to learning.

Purpose: Why study dance?

Dance provides students with opportunities to develop a clearer sense of their identity.

It involves physical learning. It is learning by doing, through the creation and invention of movement.

Dance fosters innovation and risk-taking. It encourages students to break free from the “rules” of learning to really think on their feet and find new methods of expression.

Dance prepares students for a wide variety of real-world situations. Students learn to be responsive and adapt to different learning situations.

Dance teaches skills for project management and people management, working to task briefs and deadlines, utilising technologies, and problem solving.

Dance celebrates the learner as they share the stories of their whānau, their past, their traditions, and beliefs. They learn by engaging with their culture and understanding the many other cultures around them.

Students build relationships through dance as they work with others and negotiate outcomes. They participate and contribute to their own and others’ learning, successes, and challenges.

In dance, students explore their ideas, thoughts, and emotions in a safe social and fun environment.

Studying dance gives students the freedom to try, the freedom to make mistakes, and the freedom to learn from others around them. It gives them the confidence to take risks and invent the new and to develop and reinvent the known.

Dance develops students’ literacy and numeracy in active and functional ways as they explore a wide variety of vocabularies and texts. They write dance with their bodies and read dance with their eyes and minds.

Students experiment with shapes, patterns, and formations. They explore structures and time.

Dance is the embodiment of learning. It takes learning off the page and expresses it through the body.

Knowledge: What is valued knowledge in dance?

Dance students learn to express themselves, their ideas, and the ideas of others. Teachers and learners bring all that we are into dance.

Through creative movement, we express our:

  • personal stories
  • whakapapa
  • knowledge
  • experiences
  • opinions
  • future goals.

In senior secondary dance, we value and develop knowledge in several broad areas by focusing learning programmes around experiences in:

  • dance performance
  • dance preparation and processes
  • critique and appreciation of dance
  • dance choreography
  • dance contexts which are personal, local, national, and global.

Within these broad areas, the learner is always firmly at the front of the learning. They are supported to achieve and to make connections between their own experiences and their learning, to take risks, and to challenge perceived norms.

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Last updated November 24, 2011