Today is International Dance Day and so it seems appropriate for me to share the very first Splatter Dance blog.
After the past year International Dance Day is celebrating dance, it’s importance in society and the impact it has on people and their lives. This last year, more than ever, it has been important to remember the answers to each of these things because they are the reason we do what we do.
Writing about why I do what I do is easy because I believe that dance is just magical.
Yes dance stirs your emotions and is mesmerising to watch, and you feel energetic, free and completely lost in the moment when you’re dancing. But, dance is magical because it is always about more than dance.
It’s about the individual who is so overwhelmed by a new location and class that they sit behind the curtain for the first 6 weeks. Then, very slowly over time they develop the confidence to not only independently participate in the whole class, but to lead parts of it too.
It’s about the Mum who is so nervous about bringing her child to class because her confidence is on the floor as she was once asked not to return to a class because her little one couldn’t sit still. Yet when given the time, space and freedom to explore movement and express themselves Mum could enjoy dancing with her child and see him interacting with the other children, listening, following instructions and having fun.
It is also about the child who is quiet and easily overlooked in the classroom but is hiding, or masking, their anxieties until she gets home. However, dance plays to her strengths; she moves with flair, shares her ideas with peers and goes back to the classroom feeling relaxed and ready to take on the rest of the day.
These are just three examples but the one thing all of these participants have in common is that they fell in love with dance, the ‘magic ingredient’. When you hit the jackpot and find this magic ingredient, we can then support people to learn a huge variety of different skills which will transfer to and positively impact other areas of their life, and in turn, their contribution to society.
“A child like ours, at a mainstream school, is the best at nothing. But through his dance classes, he is able to take part on a level playing field. He loves getting others to join in and it gives him the unusual experience of being the one ‘in charge’ rather than always following.”
The ‘skills’ I’m talking about here are people’s creativity, physical, social, language and communication, whilst also boosting their resilience, mental health and emotional wellbeing – and dance is the vehicle through which all of this is possible.
The cherry on the top is that when you are having fun, which I imagine you are if you have fallen in love with dance, then you are able to learn without even realising it.
It isn’t just participants who fall in love with dance either:
- Parents fall in love with dance because they find a class their child enjoys, that is accessible for them, that plays to their strengths and meets their child where they are rather than having unrealistic expectations.
- For schools, they see that the benefits their students gain in dance filter into their wider learning, health and functioning. Dance enriches their curriculum and school life as a whole.
So, falling in love with dance opens up a whole new world of possibilities to everyone; this is why dance is about more than dance, why I celebrate dance everyday and why Splatter Dance exists.
This blog is written by Emma Jones; Splatter Dance Founder and Artistic Director. To subscribe to our next blog or to let us know what you think please get in touch.