Dance for Physical Fitness
Dance is a performance art which doubles as an effective form of exercise. Not only is expression through movement cathartic, but physical activity itself produces endorphins in the brain and positively affects the body as well as the mind. Movement activities incorporate the basics of physical fitness to include the development of agility, balance, flexibility, endurance, and strength. These elements are not just focused upon in the realm of physical health, but they are discussed as qualities to possess and to be applied in other aspects of life.
The Structure of the Course
Eighth graders are offered the opportunity to enroll in Dance for high school fine arts credit and in preparation for the Waller High School Wranglerettes. This course explores all forms of dance from Social and Ballroom to Classical and Theatrical types to Urban styles. Students study famous choreography, learn basic techniques associated with each style along with a sequence, and then arrange their own pieces in small groups for class and pep rally performances. In addition to famous choreographers, dancers, and their works, research activities include identifying dances linked to each student’s cultural and ethnic heritage.
The Value of Fine Arts Education
Performance Arts are an important part of each child’s educational experience. Students develop valuable skills used throughout life by learning how to present themselves and by gaining the confidence to perform in front of others. Students are encouraged and provided opportunities for personal expression through the creative process and are challenged to think ‘outside of the box.’ By working in small groups, students learn to coordinate efforts with their peers towards a common goal which requires individual accountability along with teamwork. Students learn to evaluate performances while forming an awareness of appropriate audience etiquette and how it is applied in different venues.
Integrating Content Areas
Dance integrates many content areas beyond the Fine Arts. In relation to Science, major muscles and muscle groups are identified throughout the movement process while concepts such as momentum, balance, center of gravity, and force are experienced while turning and performing other techniques. To support math objectives, directional changes and rotations are expressed in fractions or degrees while the movement is counted to correlate with the syncopation of music. In respect to Social Studies, the merengue and the Charleston are two of many dances which evolved in response to significant historical events. Dance has always been an integral part of social interaction and cultural heritage. Language Arts objectives are addressed through research activities and written projects.