D is for Dance
Dance: (verb) dan(t)se: to move one's body rhythmically, usually to music (Merriam Webster Dictionary).
One of my favourite workshops is based on introducing early literacy concepts and skills with very young learners. Why? Because, it is the best excuse to get teachers and parents up and jumping around to Offenbach´s Can-Can. I have yet to see anyone who is not smiling (or exhausted) at the finale. It is a truly marvelous and uplifting piece and I dare anyone to say they can refrain from tapping their feet along to the glorious, playful beat. Impossible!
Dancing, like most physical activities, is a superb way of building on and developing a whole range of useful and fundamental skills that will benefit children in all sorts of fabulous ways.
It, like singing, is an enjoyable and often social activity. Dancing creates links and connections to other people, past and present, builds stamina, helps reinforce coordination and spatial awareness, improves posture, balance and flexibility and strengthens other areas such as creativity and self-expression, non-verbal communication and self-confidence.
Merriam Webster states “dance” is when you “move one's body rhythmically”. In my case, however, this is not an inaccurate decription. Party Rock Anthem is one of my favourite songs to flip out to. In my head I magically shuffle along with the rest of the LMFAO crew, looking absolutely awesome, but in reality I look somewhat deranged. A few weeks ago, I even made an effort to look up the “shuffle” dance move on YouTube (dances for dummies or some such site) and had a bash at getting my groove on until I caught myself shuffling past the mirror.
Most of us will not have had any formal experience with dance and that is fine as those of us who teach or are around (young) children on a frequent basis will know that they are the most unforgiving creatures on the planet when it comes to seeing a parent or teacher dance and sing away happily alongside them. They do not care if you are not in time or if you are off-beat, the fact that you are there right alongside them giving it your all is enough for them.
Dance is also a bonding, experience, for young and old, big and small, shy and confident, it is inclusive. It can be done anytime, anywhere. Dance classes are not necessary when you have all the music you could possibly need at the touch of a button. It creates opportunities for self-creativity and damn if it´s not just fun to do.
Can you Can-Can too?