Melissa Moore talks about VG/DE's High School Residency / by Valerie Green

Valerie Green/Dance Entropy has been partnering with the NYC Department of Education and providing a High School Dance Program. Meet one of our teaching artists and hear about her experiences:

Dance Experience Teaching at a High School Residency.

Academic life isn’t easy. Prepping for exams. Reading assigned chapters. Designing presentations. Writing essays. Meeting deadlines.  Even coping with a social life. This kind of regimented schedule leads to a buildup of pressure, with no release.

 Mix that with a bowlful of hormones gone haywire, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. So what’s the solution?  Dance!

Coming from a professional dancer background, I was given the opportunity to teach at the Brooklyn Institute for Liberal Arts. 

Teaching at Brooklyn Institute for Liberal Arts high school has slowly shown me how important building a community through dance is created.  I was able to see students developing long-lasting bonds, Improving existing relationships, learning group accountability, all while being physically active and engaged.

Starting the residency in October many of my students were very shy, resistant to moving their bodies, and for some taking a dance class was very new to them.

I had to not only have a strong detailed lesson plan, but I also had to take my time with the students knowing that everyone was on different levels.

One common factor at the beginning of class, everyone was in their own shell and felt uncomfortable to open up to not only dancing but dancing among their peers.

I had to relate to the students, and one way was by playing music that would not only get them moving but music that will also break down the barriers to reveal themselves and to get them moving. Releasing the happy endorphins.

I developed fun and simple exercises, drills, and combinations with repetition and over time,  dance somehow slowly broke down the barriers and I was able to see how every student was unique and at the same time all in the same boat together.

As the students put their bodies in sync with the music and each other, dancing helped to stimulate powerful bonds, all while also increasing overall mental and emotional well being. I was able to notice right before my eyes a boost of self-confidence amongst the group and their peers.

Smiles emerged, connections were created, and people who rarely  spoke were amazing movers compared to those students who were very outspoken. Students worked together and equally to achieve a mutual, agreed-upon goal.

Dance is a hidden language that brings people together.

I am proud to offer a curriculum, as a part of the residency, that sparks students’ intellectual interests and fosters their physical well being at Brooklyn Institute for Liberal Arts high school.

Melissa Moore 

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