Dance Education Advocacy by Martha

© Brian Slater

Dance Education Advocacy by One Dance UK Ambassador Martha

It is common knowledge that there has been a decline in young people taking dance and creative arts subjects in recent years, but is this due to a lack of interest or a lack of opportunity? Government figures published in January 2019 show that uptake of creative subjects at GCSE has fallen almost 18% since 2014/15. [1] So why are the creative arts disappearing in education and at what cost?

To not include the creative arts as part of the school curriculum, or even providing it as an option, sends a message that they are not valuable subjects within in young people’s education (or as a career choice). When in fact, dance and other art forms cultivate many transferable skills, including communication and interpersonal skills, critical writing skills, development of intuition, as well as a deeper understanding of one’s own body and mind. Furthermore, there is evidence that participation in school-based dance interventions can result in healthy lifestyle changes outside of school. [2]

Fortunately, all is not lost; there are many organisations across the country that appreciate the importance of dance in education and are trying their best to keep performance arts available and accessible to children and young people. Exim Dance Company, based in Plymouth, is an example of this, who provide a variety of regular classes and outreach workshops to school children from 4 to 18 years, both within and outside of school settings. These opportunities are valuable to the young people who feel they are not receiving enough, if any, creative arts education within the school curriculum.

In their recent statistics report, it is shown that in 2018 Exim Dance Company’s engagement with young people increased by 64.4% from 2017, thus showing the demand for continuing to provide creative arts opportunities. Being able to access dance at this age introduces a huge range of benefits, including building self-confidence, teamwork and leadership skills, and being active which improves physical health and mental wellbeing.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians is a collection of music, dance and drama companies who have come together to boost awareness of the decline of the creative arts in education and to make a change so that they can thrive. The campaign, ‘Bacc for the Future’ has been created, to strive for the English baccalaureate to be abolished or reformed, due to the damage it is doing to creative subjects in schools [3]

To conclude, dance and other creative arts subjects have been proven to teach a huge range of valuable personal developmental and social skills to young people. If you agree that creative arts subjects should be protected and nourished within the school curriculum, you can sign to the ‘Bacc for the Future’ campaign here:

[1] [3] Incorporated Society of Musicians (2019) Bacc for the Future: Write to your MP

[2] Keay, J. and Spence, J. (2009) Essentially Dance pilot project evaluation report, London: Roehampton University