This selection of photographs were taken at the dance school where I taught for 26 years. It includes images of the students who attended classes and my documentation of our rehearsals and performances.
But this project is not about that. It’s about learning.
A dance school is a place where children can learn a tremendous amount of skills: they can develop a strong work ethic, learn to follow directions, master their body’s movements, learn spacial sequencing and formation, learn to cooperate and concentrate, to carry themselves with confidence, to present themselves in front of an audience, to feel good for others as they achieve technical goals, and possibly develop a love of learning. A really great dance school will have an expectation that their students will be kind, respectful, and considerate and will keep their egos in check. I have witnessed all of the above.
In my years teaching dance I watched young students study the older students as examples of what they could achieve with hard work and focus. I watched as awkward, uncoordinated little bodies wiggled their way through ballet class, only to emerge a few years later having found their center and stature. I have felt the exuberance of groups tap dancing at break-neck speeds. I have seen a transformation take place when students perform difficult pieces of choreography on stage (at any age) and come out the other side with greater self-awareness.
Education is potential learning, which means children will respond in their own way. Arts education has a way of reaching those who otherwise might be overlooked. What the students learn in the dance school, they take with them into their lives.