Learning through Creative Movement “Movement awakens and activates many of our mental capacities.” ~Carla Hannaford, Ph.D.

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Dance as we all know is a very beautiful and graceful way to express our feelings and emotions.  It is therapeutic. My first dance lesson was after the birth of my second child which gave me a different perspective to teaching and learning dance. I saw dance as an important tool for educating and enhancing a child’s overall personality. Since then I have spent the last 3 years in studying how dance can help a child in his/ her growing years. My research involves intensive reading, following Anne Green Gilbert –Brain dance, Creative Movement techniques, application of these methods while teaching kids, reviewing them and working further on their benefits. Over the years, I have realised creative movement is a very effective way to teach children dance as it encompasses all the growth parameters – Physical, social and cognitive. The best part of following creative movement is that it can be a great accompaniment to any dance form- Indian or western.

What is Creative Movement?
In simple words, it is an overall development of a child through exploration of various movements of the body. Creative movement can be termed as communication through movement and drawing on our own inner resources to create and express emotion, thought or feeling. The aim of creative dance classes is to constantly expand and extend the range of movements. There is no right or wrong way of moving. Creative movement uses body actions to: communicate an image (the wind), communicate an idea (a journey) or communicate a feeling (strength).
Creative Movement is a way for children to understand themselves and their relationship with the world. It can be used to enhance all areas of learning and growth.

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Application of Creative Movement 
It is amazing to know, how Creative Movement teaching techniques can be used to teach anything and everything to a child. I have listed down few applications below.

1) Every subject in school can be reinforced through creative movement.  It could be

– Maths – angles, shapes, addition
-English – language development , verbal memory, verbal discrimination, prepositions
-Science – water cycle, water properties , animals,
-Geography – countries, people

2) Creative movement also introduces the use of elements of dance wherein a child gets exposed to dance concepts like- Body, Energy, Space and Time. These concepts are used to teach a child the art of choreography. The child can learn to create their own dance beautifully in few of these sessions. I have seen almost all students in our academy making brilliant choreographies in groups and individually.

3) Creative movement enhances team building skills
Lot of activities of the creative movement can be performed in groups. Thus it helps them understand the importance of working together as a team and being participative in the activity. The teacher has to play the role of a facilitator and watch these students behave in a group. It is very natural for the shy and introvert kids to follow the instructions of a child who is more of an extrovert. This will eventually change, as inputs from each child are encouraged. As a teacher, this can be challenging but you will see how kids start being more participative, feeling more open and also encourage other kids.

Other benefits of Learning Creative movement

PHYSICAL
It develops strong, healthy bodies and brain- body awareness, balance, control and coordination. Helps release energy through positive physical activity.

SOCIAL
Helps learn a universal, nonverbal language that is inclusive of all cultures and abilities. Kids learn to be more cooperative and self-disciplined through sharing space, and interacting safely with other dancers

EMOTIONAL
They become more self-aware, being expressive about their emotions. Increase of self-esteem through positive and non-competitive experiences can be observed.

INTELLECTUAL BENEFITS
Acquires a movement vocabulary, verbal and physical, applicable to all areas of a child’s life. It develops problem-solving skills through the experience of solving movement problems. Helps strengthen the ability to listen and follow directions.

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Creative Movement – Indian Scenario

Despite of so many benefits most of the schools and dance industry in India have still not adopted creative movement as part of their curriculum. This is mainly due to the lack of awareness of the benefits of creative movement and availability of skilled teachers who can effectively conduct creative movement sessions.
My efforts in writing this blog is to reach out to people and create awareness about dance as an educational and personality development tool. I would love to further go in depth about the same. I would also like to share creative movement lesson plans and ideas through this blog.

Swara Patel
Director
Rhythmus Happyfeet Dance Academy
thehappyfeetacade  my@gmail.com
http://www.rhythmushappyfeet.com
Facebook:- RhytmusHappyFeet1

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