My name is Ebony and I am the Dance Education Apprentice at Northern Ballet. I have been in my role for nearly a year now, and as the apprentice I have been observing, supporting and co-delivering workshops with the Dance Education Officers, which will help guide me towards my goal of becoming a dance teacher.
I have supported workshops with a variety of people of all ages and abilities, which has given me the confidence to be able to work in many different environments. During the past six months I have started to deliver workshops independently, with Early Years and Primary school pupils and people with and without disabilities.
Recently, I have independently created and delivered a project for Year 1 pupils at Clapgate Primary School in Leeds. This was a five week project focused on the four seasons, aimed at improving the children’s knowledge of the seasons and introducing them to creative dance.
This theme was chosen as it worked in line with the children’s curriculum, as they were learning about the seasons through their science lessons, and it was interesting to see whether exploring the seasons in a unique way would have an impact on their learning.
As well as taking part in weekly dance sessions, in week 5 of the project the children took part in a sharing allowing them to show what they had learned over the course of the project with family and teachers.
Each week we looked at a different season, with the children taking part in tasks that would allow them to understand the season and to gain creative dance skills. Images and visual aids were used as a resource each week to help the children with their movement. For example, for winter I showed them a picture of a snowflake and we discussed what it looks like and how it moves, such as 'sharp, pointy, floaty', and then the children would move like a snowflake based on the words they had just spoken about.
As part of the evaluation process, I asked the class teacher to fill in a weekly evaluation form to assess the impact on the children. It became clear that each week the children were improving as they were becoming more confident with their dance skills and could answer questions about the seasons more easily and quickly.
‘I personally believe the children have really benefitted from the project. The focus of the seasons fit perfectly to the science curriculum objectives for Year 1. The children have a good understanding of the seasons as a result of the project and their confidence and ability in their movements has really improved’ (Georgina Gutteridge, Year 1 teacher)
It’s positive to see that the project has made an impact on the children’s learning and understanding of their dance skills. It has also made me grow as a dance artist and since creating and delivering my own project my confidence has improved, showing me how far I have come since the start of my apprenticeship.