Dance In Public School Curricular Essay

This essay has a total of 1516 words and 6 pages.

Dance In Public School Curricular


Dancing is a form of art that allows many children to express themselves through body
motion while developing many skills. Children throughout the world have been dancing since
the day they began walking. When a child to take their first steps and puts together the
simplest combination of movements, that would be considered as dancing. Music also plays a
major role in the development of children understanding dance, because it is can be used
as an accompaniment, and can help children get a better feel for the rhythm in dances.
Over the past century educators have come to the conclusion that dance serves as a form of
art, and should be taught in public schools and colleges to help the growth in children of
all ages both physically, mentally, and academically.

The development in dance in education, during the 19th century in the United States, was
linked to the sudden increase of elementary schools, secondary programs, colleges, as well
as the establishment of private dance academies throughout the nation. Dance had always
been thought as being just a form of socializing and not as a form of art. Private
academies introduced dance as an art form before public schools. The private academies
felt that through dance children would benefit greater academically, and physically, than
those children who did not have the luxury of taking dance. Enrollment increased in
private academies, while throughout the United States the enrollment in public schools
steadily decreased. This was when educators decided to begin including dance in public
school curricula.

Kraus (1969) found that " a major influence in helping to bring dance into public schools
and colleges was the work of the French dramatic teacher, Francois Delsante " (p.127). By
the beginning of the 20th century, dance had become accepted by public schools throughout
the United States and was now a required class. The only negative part about dance being
taught in public schools, was that not all teachers who taught the dance classes were
certified because there main objectives were to teach core classes. Throughout the United
States, dance classes provided a form of exercise for children, but the dance were so
basic it was not until public schools adopted the concept of modern dance, that children
began exploring. According to Kraus (1969), there were three educators who provided a
spark that eventually led to the adoption of modern dance in public schools; they were "
Gertrude Colby, Bird Larson, and Margaret H'Doubler " (p.131). Gertrude Colby developed a
method of dance, which allowed a dancer to move freely through space, creating as many
shapes, using different body parts, and different movements. This method of dance was
known as natural dance. Bird Larson developed a system of movement, which would have its
origin in the torso of the body, which would in effect represent a scientific movement.
Margaret H'Doubler probably had the greatest impact in public school of the three.
H'Doubler developed a dance program which was based on a scientific understanding of the
nature of physical movement as well as a sound philosophy of creative expression. She also
founded Orchesis, a dance club which served as a model for future clubs that followed.

Throughout the study of dance, people began realizing that dance was not a form of
entertainment, but it also served as a great form exercise. When dance was first
introduced into public schools, some educators embraced the new class, while others wanted
nothing to do with dance in physical education. This meant that in some schools that did
not have enough teachers to teach dance, the dance class was given to football coaches who
did not believe in dance in school. Educators were not the only people that objected to
dance in public schools, some community members felt that a boy and girl dancing in school
would be inappropriate. Community members also argued that dance may go against some
religions. Those community members, who had embraced the idea of dance in public schools,
quickly began exploring new cultures, while getting great exercise. Physical educators
believed that through creative dance children would be allowed to develop their bodies for
expressive uses, to supplement other ways of learning, and receive satisfaction their
dance experiences. Parents also began feeling more comfortable with their children dancing
in school, so some started sending their children to private dance studios. Attending
private dance studios allowed children to learn different dances away from school. Ballet,
tap, clog, and character dance were among some of the dances that were taught in private
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