Dance Education For Fun, Accessibility And Cultural Inclusivity, led by Teaching Artists

“It’s fun to run and jump and play, and to be artists with our bodies, feel a kind of artistry or a creative impulse, and express it. It’s important to create a support or a safe space together so that we can be ourselves.” Kerwin Barrington, Dancer and Teaching Artist

Dance Education: A Place For Dance In Life And The Classroom

When ArtistsInspire asks educators which discipline their students have the least exposure to at school, the most frequent answer is Dance! Our Teaching Artists facilitate engaging movement activities that students can do in their chairs, standing beside their desks, and moving in the space available, whether this space be a classroom, gymnasium, hallway, outdoors, or via video conferencing with students in their own spaces at home.

All our Teaching Artists are vetted for their professional work and experience engaging children and youth in movement activities. Our current ELAN Artists specializing in Dance include: 

Alida Esmail, Ariana Pirela Sánchez, Carol Jones, Charles Gao, Corinne Roucoules, Eryn Dace Trudell, Kerwin Barrington, Leti&Lee, Letizia Binda-Partensky, Luca Patuelli, Montreal Steppers, Roger Sinha, Sonia St-Michel, Suzan RichardsStephanie Nairn, Valerie Sabbah, West Can Folk Performing Co., Yvon Soglo

What Can Dance Education Bring To Schools?

Dance offers students the opportunity to get to know themselves by exploring their bodies through movement, developing proprioception, coordination and spatial perception, and relating to each other and their environment through non-verbal modalities. As Teaching Artist Kerwin Barrington says, 

Dance brings the opportunity for students to tune in to their bodies, to understand a felt sense of their being, and to notice some subtle cues that the body is giving, just as a kind of way of checking in to seeing how they’re doing.

Dance And Youth Mental Health

In a time when virtual learning is prevalent, this checking in is essential to maintaining connection and presence. As Teaching Artist Charles Gao asserts, “Dance reminds us that we are living beings, not boxes on a screen.” According to Teaching Artist Sonia St-Michel, “when I dance, I feel happy, I feel alive. I get a lot of energy and I also release energy. I feel more focused. I have more intention, and I get my worries out and all of my anxiety out.” Whether online, in-person or in hybrid learning contexts, the emotional benefits of dance are clear.

Dance And Accessibility

Dance is also accessible to all, regardless of prior experience. As Teaching Artist Luca ‘Lazylegz’ Patuelli says, 

I open up my teaching to all different styles, all different types of musics, and most importantly, all different types of bodies. While I teach movements, I don’t necessarily expect my students to repeat everything I do. I really want my students to take the movement that I’m showing and allow them to get inspired and move freely in whichever way they want.

Dance As A Means For Fostering Cultural Inclusivity

Dance education can also be a great way to communicate and share cultural practices and promote cultural inclusivity. For example,  Stepping, a style of dance in which the body becomes a musical instrument through foot stomps, claps and chants, teaches teamwork, discipline, resilience and important concepts in Black History. As Teaching Artist Kayin Queeley of Montreal Steppers says, “we are so excited that we can share this part of our history with so many participants. It always guarantees incredible fun, incredible learning, and ensures that there is a place for dance in every aspect [of life], including the classroom.”

For more information, see:

Artist Profiles (select Dance in the search engine)

School Grant guidelines and application

Dance artist Eryn Dace Trudel with Gerald McShane Elementary School students

For complete ArtistsInspire interviews:

Sonia St-Michel: What Can Dance Bring to Schools & Students in These Times?
Luca Patuelli: Everyone can Dance, with Luca Patuelli
Kayin Queeley of Steppers: What does dance offer to schools?
Kerwin Barrington:What does dance offer to schools?

For participant testimonials:

Everyone can Dance: What did you think of the workshop?
Everyone can Dance: What did you think of the workshop?

For ArtistsInspire projects in Dance:
Everyone can Dance, Anywhere! Accessibility and Expression Online