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The Case for Dance in Education

The late Sir Ken Robinson wrote and spoke about the impact of schooling on children's capacity to think divergently and the need for a paradigm shift in the education system. In his book, You, Your Child and School; Navigate Your Way to the Best Education, Sir Ken Robinson shares the personal, social, economic and cultural benefits of having dance in schools. Robinson states that dance, which tends to be low in status within the academic hierarchy, has the power to not only enrich children's lives but to also transform education.

Dance researcher, Adrienne N.Sansom, calls for the need to include the whole child in education and to move away from the cartesian split of mind/body where the body has been put aside, restrained and cut off from the learning experience in order to fill the mind. In the chapter titled The Body in Education, Sansom writes:

"Movement and other physical requirements are restricted within a structure where routines and rules dominate to construct a compliant body that learns to remain still and obey instructions...The concept of the body as knowledgeable, let alone as a free agent with its own volition, are important components in my attempt to place the physicalizing of learning at the heart of education and pedagogical practice, particularly as it relates to the early years. Dance has an immense body of knowledge in itself, but also requires the physical body to be the creator of new knowledge, as well as the performer or presenter of thoughts or ideas. In order for this to happen the whole body needs to be involved, that is, all that the body possesses, the feeling, doing aspects of the body. This means that the holistic body must be present as a vital part of the process of learning in, through, and about dance as well as the manifold areas of learning the young child will encounter."

- p.57 Movement and dance in young children's lives: Crossing the divide; Adrienne N. Sansom, 2011

In many countries around the world, including Australia, dance is included in the national curriculum and is offered to children within the school setting in various ways. What are your thoughts on dance in the education setting? Is dance offered to children in your school? If so, how? If dance is not happening, what are the obstacles?

Please leave a comment or email me at I'd love to hear from you!

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