Page 29 - Independent Schools Magazine
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Royal Verdict - It’s good to dance!
The Duchess of Cambridge hit the headlines when she announced that Prince George will take Ballet classes when he starts school.
The Duchess of Cambridge recognises the value that dance brings not only to the cultural and educational needs of a child; but also what it teaches about discipline and empathy.
Rebecca Curtis, Head of Dance at Ipswich High School for Girls, Suffolk, discusses the importance of creative work in an era when it seems that ‘Arts bashing’ is becoming the norm in some quarters...
Despite all the research that proves that an Arts subject improves overall academic performance; the part people underestimate is that it
also gives you the ‘real world’ skills like communicating and problem- solving. There is also the ‘blue sky thinking’ that corporate companies expect their employees to have. How are they supposed to innovate, sell or present if they have not had an opportunity to work creatively?
What will become of the world
we live in if we keep bashing the Arts and trying to eradicate them from our children’s education and eventually their lives? Where will our next generation of dancers, singers, writers or artists come from if we continue to prevent them from studying these subjects?
How will, what is currently, one
of the largest revenue industries
in the country survive if the next generation believes the only way you can be deemed successful is
to have a set of A and A* STEM subjects? No amount of robots or technology will be able to provoke a reaction, interact or feel as we humans can, especially when it comes to stimulating our senses
through media, art, design, music and dance.
When it comes to starting a career, many employers will be interested in applicants’ characteristics, skills and personalities. They will be asking: will you  t into the team? Can you think on your feet? How will you cope in the boardroom? Are you going to promote your business
and make it thrive? Are you going to convince the judge your client
is innocent? In my opinion, those with a creative background will stand a great chance; it will open more doors than it is ever going
to close. A broad and balanced curriculum is always going to allow a child to be the most successful version of themselves. I am also con dent this is why Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge have chosen a school, which embraces
all subjects for George. We are also fortunate here at Ipswich High School for Girls to have a broad and balanced curriculum from Ballet
to Latin, GCSE Dance to A Level Geology is on offer to every girl from the age of three to eighteen.
We have just had the  rst cohort of GCSE and A Level Dancers take their
practical elements of their exams just before Easter. I am immensely proud of what they have achieved, in view of the work expected from them. The GCSE dancers have four practical assessments before they even make it to the exam hall. Our dancers were required to accurately replicate and perform a set piece
of work as a solo, to research and create a dance based on a stimulus, to use existing material from a professional dance to then create a brand new solo and  nally perform as part of a group using key features of a professional work. This does not even include the hours of evidence recording, noting down and then demonstrating the ways they have used feedback to improve their work, written programme notes or deconstructed motifs. All of this,
and they still have to sit a written paper based on their knowledge and understanding of choreography, performance and their ability to analyse professional dance works; commenting on the effectiveness
of how not only the movement content is important in helping to convey the choreographer’s intent, but also all of the other features
of production too. It is exhausting listing it all and I have not even touched on the A Level yet!
The point I guess I’m trying to make is to look at all the skills they are developing: real, transferable, useful skills that will set them
apart in university applications, job interviews, sales pitches, speeches and life or death situations in an operating theatre. Yet, it is deemed by some to be a ‘soft option’. However, ask any of the girls that have just taken their exams if they feel they took the soft option, I’m sure they would put you straight! As the dance department here at Ipswich High School continues to grow, I am proud to know I am part of not only helping the girls grow more con dent, have fun, learn more about themselves and the world around them. I also know that by continuing to study the subject of dance, it is helping them to ‘future-proof’ their skills set. We never know what may be round the corner, and whilst it is unlikely to be sitting on the throne, it could
be running the country. Whatever comes our way, at least our Dancers can improvise our way around it.
Students of all ages came together for the  rst ever ‘Lewes Big Dance’, which was hosted by Lewes Old Grammar School (LOGS) last month (April).
Thirty- ve children from six local primary schools took part in the inaugural event, which saw pupils put through their paces to learn street and contemporary dance before taking part in a creative dance workshop.
Organised in collaboration with Universal Dance, which is run by LOGS teacher Mrs Jessica Lloyd, the gala concluded with children performing a four-minute dance routine at LOGS’s Annual Dance Gala in Lewes Town Hall. GCSE and A-Level students from LOGS also lent a helping hand as they danced the day away with their younger counterparts by assisting with any of the trickier moves.
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