Why do we dance?
The answer to this - and even why some people are better dancers than others - can be found in evolution. A genetic study in 2006 suggested that long ago the ability to dance was actually connected to the ability to survive.
According to the study, dancing was a way for our prehistoric ancestors to bond and communicate, particularly during tough times. As a result, scientists believe that early humans who were co-ordinated and rhythmic could have had an evolutionary advantage.
Here at Dame Allan’s Schools, we are clearly genetically advanced as dance is a long established tradition for both girls and boys in the Junior and Senior Schools. We believe that dance facilitates our uniqueness and provides an opportunity to develop and express our creative individuality.
This is why dance is an integral part of school life both inside and outside the curriculum. Dance clubs are on offer for any pupil who wishes to take part and they get to perform at least once in the annual dance show which is held at Dance City. Other performance opportunities are on offer also. Dame Allan’s has four dance companies which are part of a gifted and talented initiative; selection is by audition only. The companies meet once a week during term time and also take part in dance projects where they work with professional choreographers. There are also opportunities for the companies to be entered into regional and national competitions which Dame Allan’s have been extremely successful in over the years. In addition to the above, various house competitions include dance in some form with the department being very closely linked to Music and Drama activities. Dance camps in the holidays also supplement term time opportunities. Residential trips to London and the Netherlands have taken place in recent years.
In the Junior School, they get a half hour lesson a week for all year groups. They also do workshops with invited artists. This year we have had Ballet Lorent, Scottish Ballet and Bad Taste Cru for a breakdance workshop. They also all perform in a combined arts performance at least once in the year. Year 6 also perform at Dance City. We also run dance clubs for them to attend both at lunchtime and after school.
In Years 7 to 9, dance is taught within the physical education curriculum. It is also offered as an examination subject at GCSE and A Level meaning that opportunities to dance are available both in the curriculum and co-curriculum. As a result, we have been fortunate to see several pupils leave Dame Allan's at the end of Year 13 to continue dancing at a incredibly high standard at schools such as the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, Liverpool institute of Performing Arts, London School of Contemporary Dance, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.