Championing the place of dance in school

20 Mar 2017

Photo: The Brit School © Brian Slater

In recent weeks, three leading women in the dance world have come forward to champion the place of dance in schools, so that all children and young people can access dance wherever they live.

Starting in January with Darcey Bussell at the launch of the Cultural Learning Alliance’s ImagineNation report. Bussell, who after her own professional career as a ballet dancer, has become President of the Royal Academy of Dance and has nationwide appeal due to her role as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, stated “When celebrities like Ed Balls leave Strictly, they all say that dance has changed their lives for the better…. this should not be restricted to a lucky few, but made available to every child by injecting it directly into our school system.”

Last week Arlene Phillips, acclaimed choreographer and Patron of One Dance UK, joined us and the Bacc for the Future campaign members to hand in a letter to Teresa May, calling for the government to re-think it’s position on the English Baccalaureate and to publish its long-awaited report on the consultation that closed over a year ago. Philips said:

“… from 2015-2016 there was an 8% decline in uptake of creative subjects (arts + D&T); the largest year on year decline in a decade. Uptake of dance alone fell 9% over the same time period.

There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ education. The limiting of creative subjects in schools is short-sighted and cruel. Creativity develops independent, curious and open minds, builds confidence and self-esteem, and promotes discipline, good communication and team-building skills.”

Then on 17 March, The Evening Standard published its interview with ENB’s Artistic Director and One Dance UK board member Tamara Rojo. Not content with just sharing information about her forthcoming triple bill; Rojo made a point of raising her concerns about the place of dance in education, especially in light of its benefits to young people’s health and wellbeing;

There is enough evidence that dance has an incredible impact in the development of children’s health, mental development, their ability to focus and concentrate,” she says. “This Government and the previous Conservative one were very clear that they were only interested in the economic case, so we made the economic case. But they obviously chose to ignore the education case, because education reforms were really detrimental to the arts and creative industries.”

At One Dance UK, we’re continually striving to advocate for dance within and beyond schools. We’re committed to ensuring that dance teachers are supported and their work recognised and we’re here to provide advice and resources for those delivering high quality dance across the country.

Read the Evening Standard Article