The classroom is about to become noisy and fun for over 100 primary school pupils and their teachers with the arrival of a touring ensemble of dance and movement practitioners from Texas State University.
The ensemble will visit Trinidad as part of Coco Dance Festival’s Coco in the Community programme, from October 19 - 24.
The visitors are part of Creation in Motion Touring Ensemble for Young Audiences (CIM TEYA!) –made up of dance majors and professors from the Texas State University’s dance department. Their mission is to help children learn academic and social-emotional concepts through educational programmes that are integrated with dance and technology.
Their work seeks to instil an appreciation and excitement for science, literature, engineering, math and other academic concepts, as well as social-emotional issues such as bullying –by increasing children’s retention of important academic and social concepts through motion. The programme also enhances dance literacy, inspires future dancers, choreographers and educators and creates new audiences for dance, said a media release.
In Trinidad, CIM TEYA! will visit four primary schools –Guayaguayare RC, Ortoire-Mayaro, Morvant Anglican, and Holistic School, in St Ann’s– working with teachers and their pupils on dance lesson plans incorporating the scientific concepts of the local environment. The classroom teachers will learn teaching strategies for integrating dance within their current curriculum, while the students will engage in creative movement inspired by local environmental issues. At the end of the training, teachers will be left with manuals and guides to support the sustainability of the programme.
The lead facilitators, Kaysie Seitz Brown and Nicole Wesley, will also hold a free workshop on integrated arts for primary school teachers, on October 28, from 9 am - 11 am, at Queen’s Hall. There is no registration, and participation is on a first come, first served basis.
Referencing the benefits of dance Wesley said: “All children benefit from being given the chance to creatively think and learn through movement. Children explore the world through movement long before they learn to walk, thinking with their bodies before they learn to think with words. They learn most readily from experience – primarily ones that are physical and sensoral. While the physical benefits of dance are widely accepted, the emotional, social and cognitive attributes have only recently begun to be acknowledged and appreciated.”
Sonja Dumas, of the Coco Dance festival said: “Coco has long recognised the transformative power of dance, and works through our COCO in the Community programme to reach out to various communities, offering dance instruction and educational and performance-based projects that they might not otherwise have access to. We are thrilled to be working with the dance professors and students of the Texas State University to encourage alternative forms of teaching and learning for a wide range of groups.
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