Hello! I’m Marie, one of the SDD Primary School Programme Dance Artists. I mainly work on Extend It which is our professional development programme for teachers. Our approach offers teachers creative methods for advancing and enriching the learning and engagement of their pupils. We use movement and choreography to open up lines of enquiry in other curriculum areas, incorporating the ‘Philosophy for Children’ approach http://www.philosophy4children.co.uk/
Choreography is at the heart of our workshops and we always use the professional work of Siobhan Davies Dance as a starting point for our planning. Last term I delivered a number of workshops for Primary PGCE students at the Institute of Education and London South Bank University. These workshops used sculpture and senses as a theme and provided solid links to the Art & Design and Science curriculum. These inquisitive and reflective students were an absolute pleasure to work with. I was inspired by their enthusiastic and curious approach to the workshops and am excited that these teachers of the future are so keen to celebrate kinaesthetic learning both in the classroom and the hall space!
Yesterday I delivered an Extend It workshop called The Thinking Body at the Barbican. This was part of Siobhan Davies Dance’s new work material / rearranged / to / be, an installation of live performance, film projection and sculptural objects exploring how the body and mind work together to communicate through action and gesture. https://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=19954 14 teachers from a variety of primary schools across London attended the twilight workshop and all arrived with a burst of fresh, joyful energy.
The workshop started with a visit to the installation where I gave the teachers a series of tasks to complete such collecting gestures and finding particular images and text. They came back to the dance studio with a thoughtful and questioning state of mind. We discussed their experience and I was encouraged to hear about all of the connections they observed between mind and body and non-verbal communication. I explained that the work is inspired by the art historian Aby Warburg’s practice of gathering and arranging images to reveal new meanings and the works featured in the installation inhabit an ever-changing arrangement, so their experience of the installation will be different with every view. We then did a two hour practical workshop that explored The Thinking Body practically. We used all of the collected gestures and explored the images and text through a clearly structured lesson using the Siobhan Davies Dance methodology. We also looked at some sensory and curriculum based activities.
I was amazed by the teachers energetic, open-minded and creative approach to all of the activities and the work produced as a result was so rich. I am looking forward to hearing about their experiences of trying the activities in their schools and am hoping that the experience inspires them to continue to investigate with their pupils the fascinatingly complex world of the body and mind.