Aims in differing contexts
I have taught dance for the passed ten years in the community and in education.
In the educational setting I have taught Higher Dance theory and practical in after school workshops. This aspect of my teaching has not been considered in this discussion as the aims, objectives and syllabus are preset by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).
The table compares my aims for students of beginner level and aged 9-12 years in 4 contexts:
- Community dance programme focusing on fitness and movement
- Technical movement programme to build strength, alignment and flexibility in ice dancer
- A drama company focusing on expression and performance through movement
- Movement and dance scheme for children with behaviour and learning difficulties
I have crafted training programmes with aims that suit learning needs provided by the context, level and age of participants and which prepares learners for different learning and teaching styles. The intention is to provide enjoyable experiences that will support further learning. Dance has many dimensions which overlap into other curriculum and are relevant to lifelong learning. When building the aims of a curriculum I work as a dance professional to select from the elements of dance those which apply most to the context and positive development of the skills of participants. With current trends in dance devolving creativity to dancers, I believe the study of Laban’s dance elements can support young dancer’s development of necessary communication and collaborative skills, creative expression and physical intelligence. Teaching must not only train learners to complete set steps, it must also facilitate them to develop skills on their own.
Each of my aims addresses for each context a similar aspect of dance but adapts and differentiates it to meet learner’s skill requirement and level. I have focussed on the vocational qualities that characteristically define a dancer; technical skills needed for isolation and body movement, strong use of space/dynamic/timing/shape and the ability to embody the artistic vision. This should be supported by a high level of physical creativity, problem solving skills, ability to collaborate within a group and network with others. In my aims I use dance to provide a forum to support the acquisition of vocational dance skills but investigation of space/shape/dynamics/rhythm with expression and collaboration with others to support lifeskills. In context-1 my aims focus on development of vocational Jazz dance skills through space/shape/dynamics/rhythm with vocabulary, expression in 4 learning styles and collaboration with others to support lifeskills. In context-2 the focus is on development of aspects of vocational training which will enhance the aspects of dance that maintain alignment/balance/creative interpretation expression needed to interpret movement on ice and also to provide direction in developing personal work and that of others. In context-3 the skill focus is on elements of dance that enables an inclusive approach to expression of moods and feelings in response to stimuli and movement that will support free and realistic expression and provide understanding to voice opinions constructively. In context-4 the aims are to work within curricular time to provide inclusion for learners who are not supported by an academic curriculum. These aims link with existing supported behaviour, learning and active schools programmes to provide expression by allowing learners to work in collaboration, find their movement and build skills for life.