What is dance?

Sarah here again! Back again for my second week of the term at Charlotte Sharman Primary School. Had a very interesting discussion today with the Year 5 students that still has me thinking!

In a quest to evaluate the students learning in new ways this term, I have been asking the students to question their own learning a little bit more closely. Asking questions like ‘what did you learn about your body today?’ and ‘how is movement helping you learn?’. The answers are varied in both focus and sophistication depending on the year group and student – but today I wanted to try simpler and yet a whole lot more complicated. With it being the beginning of term I thought it might be useful to ask the all important question at the beginning and then ask the students to see if they still agree with their answers at the end of term.

So, I asked: ‘What is dance?’

I wanted to pose them with a simple question that has been debated extensively in the dance world both physically, philosophically, and intellectually.

The first and most poignant answer I got, straight to the point: ‘Movement’

We then carried on to have a discussion about then….what movement is? Answers being ‘actions’, ‘rhythm’, ‘feelings’ and ‘flexibility’ – resulting in some heated debate as to whether you needed to flexible to move or not. Ultimately, they decided that you didn’t.

I then encouraged them to keep this in mind throughout the lesson – remembering that any movement response they had to the tasks given, was dancing. Because they were moving. This conversation still has me thinking as I was blown away by their ability at a young age to have such a focused, clear, and sophisticated discussion about the question I posed. I am excited to see if, at the end of the term, they have any more insights.