Tag Archives: dance

What if you do it differently…

Photo courtesy of neloqua on Flickr.

Personally, I have much to be grateful for this year. One of the best things to happen is my younger son being accepted into Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School to specialise in music during his final 3 years of school. It gives me enormous pleasure to know that he will be following his passion for playing and composing music, and doing this in the company of equally passionate students and teachers.

The first newsletter arrived in the mail today, and I so loved reading the end-of-year reports by the principal, the heads of the music and dance departments. Even second-hand, I’m going to enjoy my involvement in this school as a parent. For example, in the principal’s commitment to the students is very inspiring:

If I have been a good role model, offered you good advice and created a good environment for you, that is a pleasing year’s work and one I am proud of. To my students, please have a well earned break, enjoy some family and social time. Read the letter I have written to each of you carefully when it arrives in your mailbox, think about it, but beyond some new year’s reflection, forget VCASS for a little. Well done everyone, I am, as always, proud of you!

I think you can guess where this kind of approach will lead. How will the students react when they feel appreciated, understood, supported and spoken to as individuals? I’m guessing they will want to do their best.

As I said in my last post, I’m reflecting and rethinking now that our long break has arrived. This can appear to be a lazy time, as we understandably try to relax and spend time with family and friends, but this is also potentially the most fertile time, when output diminishes and input increases. By input I mean reflecting and evaluating what we’re doing and what we want to do next year. You need space for that. And patience.

I hope to return to school with a renewed vigour and commitment to the students, and with a refined focus which has come from the distance from the everyday school routine which we all need more than we realise.

I’d like to finish this post with a quote from the same VCASS newsletter. This has been written by Steven McTaggart, Head of Contemporary Dance. Although it speaks to dancers, I think it has metaphorical significance for all of us.

It’s all about the movement not just the shapes you make.

Could you be more flexible, fluid, smooth, sustained, controlled, dynamic, exultant, extended, continuous or explosive?

How can we improve our actions?

What can we do from here?

Where does our body want to fall or move to next?

Could you do it slower, faster, backwards, upside down or in reverse?

What if you do it differently…

What if…

What if…

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Filed under Education, learning, music, teaching

Just do it – together

Allanah King  has made a lot of people smile with her collaborative project dance video. See if you can keep a straight face.

Allanah commented:

The project started out as a bit of fun – it ended up that way too. We thought we would make a collaborative video in a similar style to the Where the hell is Matt video that is wildly popular on YouTube. By having a collaborative dance video we were able to transcend cultural and language barriers as everyone loves to move and dance- it is pretty universal.

Allanah collaborated with schools across New Zealand, as well as Canada, Bangkok and the United Kingdom. She talks about her process on the Time 4 Celebration site.

Why does this kind of thing make me stop in my tracks? Allanah said that she did it for a bit of fun. She also said that it transcended cultural and language barriers since dance is universal. I think it’s a simple example of what makes us human – just getting together and enjoying each other. The fact that there are things like dance or music that we can share across cultures gives me a clue about engagement in schools. It just takes a simple thing, a happening, celebration – as long as it brings us together as a group and gives us a sense of belonging. Great things can come from this.

I like Allanah’s blog title: Life is not a race to be first finished.

It shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be aiming for good marks in a test. It shouldn’t be focussing solely on a result. It’s about enjoying the process and sharing it with others. I love the idea of creating online learning spaces to support, connect, share and celebrate. Learning shouldn’t be a lonely road. Not a journey kept to yourself. Never an experience without good fun.

I’ve been privileged to do some collaborative teaching with Maria Toomey in her English classes at school. Maria understands this instinctively. Understands and lives this. What her students learn in class they do with a sense of being valued as part of the group. She teaches the whole person, and gives of herself in the same way. She and the boys come together to think, discuss, review, display and celebrate. She shows them the value of learning beyond academic content, and they will remember her beyond the classroom.

By the way, do yourself a favour and read some of Matt’s dancers’ comments here. You can also get a Google Earth tour of some of Matt’s favourite places around the world. I loved this.

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Filed under 21st century learning, creativity, Education, film, humour, learning, teachers, teaching, Web 2.0