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All I Want to Do Is Dance
By: Physical Education Teachers Larry Huusko and Jenna Lucas
What do you think about when you hear the word dance? Most likely, half of you smile ear to ear and the other half cringe at the thought. That is pretty close to the reaction our Upper School students have when we announce our dance unit each year.
The first week of the unit is spent listening to music, learning to find the beat and practicing setting each move or combination of moves to an eight-count. Each year, we also study a specific dance style, so students have at least four different types of dance in their repertoire upon graduating.
After this introduction, students are assigned to teams, they vote on a class song, and then the real fun begins. The teams have four days to implement what they have learned and apply their creativity to choreograph and perform a two-minute dance. And if that isn’t hard enough to do alone, imagine getting five to seven people on the same page — better yet on the same beat! But each year we are so pleasantly surprised at the outcome. We love watching the teamwork, the creative styles come together and the dancers’ proud faces as their friends cheer for them on performance day.
Our dance unit offers students a new setting and new challenges to develop their rhythm and coordination. Meanwhile, we emphasize teamwork and cooperation. Students learn there are no bad ideas (just ones harder to put on an eight-count).
One of our goals in Rossman's physical education program is to help children discover their wheelhouse. A diverse curriculum creates opportunities for each child to find the sport or activity that makes them say, “This is what I was born for.” We also want to challenge our students, not only so they know they can overcome challenges, but also so they develop humility and empathy toward others who are challenged in areas where a student excels. Our dance unit especially is an opportunity for students of all skill and comfort levels to help one another, work together and grow in their appreciation of the sport.
Everyone has an experience that has shaped their feelings towards dancing. That is exactly why we added a dance unit to our curriculum in P.E. We want to be the positive lasting memory that comes to mind when our students hear the word “dance” and leave them smiling ear to ear in years to come!
Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in Creve Coeur, is an independent preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills. Request a free Rossman School brochure here.