by Issie Lloyd, Dance Development Worker, Valley and Vale Community Arts
In January I started up a dance project with the Cardiff ESOL group alongside the 5×60 programme. The 5×60 programme aims to increase the number of secondary age pupils taking part in sport or physical activity for 60 minutes, at least five times a week. This Sport Wales scheme increases opportunities for extra-curricular sport and physical activity sessions for primary age children.
This project is set to run until June when the group will have the opportunity to perform a dance piece based on what they have learnt at a community event.
The ESOL group consists of 6-8 teenage students who have started to learn the foundations of the funk styles and social dances and will soon learn how to make their own variations. The project has currently been running for four weeks and already I can see immediate progress. Each session is focused on partner and group work, giving individuals the opportunity to improve their interactive skills and the ability to work in unison together. The group’s physical ability and confidence has risen in such as a short period. We have already started prop work with handkerchiefs and chairs, which the group have grasped really well, and are happy to experiment with. The main aim of this project is to encourage and develop individual creativity, communication skills, English language and expression through dance. The group will be completing a weekly dance journal to record their progress and understanding of the session content. This will develop their writing and language skills and present itself as a clear structure for the individuals to measure their progress against by the end of the project.
This class definitely emphasises the importance of ‘having fun together’… the proof being when the Soul Train begins at the end of each session! I adore teaching this group as they give me something fresh to work with each week and are always determined to learn more and contribute their own ideas. It is evident that there are no communication barriers and their language skills are already improving. On the whole this is certainly going to be a rewarding project, for them and also for me!