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Local schools offer program encouraging people to discover dancing


Boogie-ing in the hallways, traditional Mi’kmaq dancing, flash mobs and zumba are some of the ways students in Pictou County are celebrating National Dance Week as part of Dance Nova Scotia’s Dare to Dance program.

Five local schools are participating in the program, which encourages students to dance for 20 minutes at least once between April 22 and 29. The idea is to encourage all Nova Scotians to discover the joy of dance.

At Pictou Landing First Nation School, students donned shawls and vests and danced to traditional rhythms in the gymnasium on Monday.

Teacher Nadine LeBlanc said this is the first year the Pictou Landing school has been involved with the program. She said the dancing was a way to promote school spirit. “It’s fun and easy and the kids love stuff like that.”

Thorburn Consolidated started each day with a little dancing during the week. Principal Stephen Barker said over the course of five days, students spent the first four minutes of the school day grooving in their classrooms while music played over the intercom.

“We ring in spring and start the day with a bit of physical activity. The kids absolutely love it,” he said.

Barker said the school has participated in the program for three years. “It’s a lot of fun. The kids really enjoy starting the day with a song and dancing.”

At Frank H. MacDonald in Sutherlands River, older students practised a dance and will teach it to their younger counterparts on Wednesday. Principal Frank MacNeill said his school has taken part in the program several times before, and found that one big dance for the whole student body got too chaotic.

“We thought it would be something fun to do here at the school to engage the students,” he said. “It’s a fun activity to support Dance Nova Scotia and build a little school community.”

On Friday, students at West Pictou Consolidated in Lyons Brook all danced in the hallway at the same time, and then teachers surprised them with a flash mob. Individual classes were also doing their own dancing activities.

Principal Cindy Turner said the school has been working on strategies for engaging students socially and emotionally and this accomplishes that goal.

“What a great way to bring the whole school together for fun things,” she said, adding that it also promotes physical activity.

That’s one of the reasons for A.G. Baillie Memorial School’s participation. Physical education teacher Matt MacGillivray said Dare to Dance shows kids they can be active in other ways than through involvement in typical sports.

“For kids not involved in dancing, it opens up opportunities – they realize how much fun it is.”

The New Glasgow school is organizing a zumba session for the whole school on Thursday.

He said participating in Dare to Dance was a good way to introduce dancing, which will be part of the physical education curriculum next year.

The Dare to Dance program, promoted by Dance Nova Scotia, is marking its 15th year. A record 13,000 students from 65 public schools registered for the challenge, with 14 schools in the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board taking part.

Participating schools can send in a video of their activity, with the opportunity to win a session with professional dancers.

National Dance Week events are designed to get Nova Scotians dancing, with Dance Nova Scotia promoting lifelong health and wellness, one step at a time.

“Dance can be easy, fun and for everyone,” says Cliff LeJeune, interim executive director for Dance Nova Scotia.

“Whether through province-wide programs like Dare to Dance or the wonderful work done by dance schools and companies in our communities every day, we believe dance is the near-perfect exercise.

“The combination of movement and music offers unique, lifelong benefits – physically, mentally, creatively, and socially.”

 

 

SIDEBAR:

Dance Nova Scotia – the umbrella service organization for all forms of dance in the province – celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

One of eight provincial cultural service organizations of the Cultural Federations of Nova Scotia, Dance Nova Scotia encourages, promotes and advocates for dance as a cultural, educational, recreational and healthy activity for Nova Scotians of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

Dare to Dance and National Dance Week are annual events, marking UNESCO’s International Dance Day. Established in 1982, International Dance Day recognizes the contribution of dance to cultural identity, health, education and social cohesion.

Five local schools are participating in the program, which encourages students to dance for 20 minutes at least once between April 22 and 29. The idea is to encourage all Nova Scotians to discover the joy of dance.

At Pictou Landing First Nation School, students donned shawls and vests and danced to traditional rhythms in the gymnasium on Monday.

Teacher Nadine LeBlanc said this is the first year the Pictou Landing school has been involved with the program. She said the dancing was a way to promote school spirit. “It’s fun and easy and the kids love stuff like that.”

Thorburn Consolidated started each day with a little dancing during the week. Principal Stephen Barker said over the course of five days, students spent the first four minutes of the school day grooving in their classrooms while music played over the intercom.

“We ring in spring and start the day with a bit of physical activity. The kids absolutely love it,” he said.

Barker said the school has participated in the program for three years. “It’s a lot of fun. The kids really enjoy starting the day with a song and dancing.”

At Frank H. MacDonald in Sutherlands River, older students practised a dance and will teach it to their younger counterparts on Wednesday. Principal Frank MacNeill said his school has taken part in the program several times before, and found that one big dance for the whole student body got too chaotic.

“We thought it would be something fun to do here at the school to engage the students,” he said. “It’s a fun activity to support Dance Nova Scotia and build a little school community.”

On Friday, students at West Pictou Consolidated in Lyons Brook all danced in the hallway at the same time, and then teachers surprised them with a flash mob. Individual classes were also doing their own dancing activities.

Principal Cindy Turner said the school has been working on strategies for engaging students socially and emotionally and this accomplishes that goal.

“What a great way to bring the whole school together for fun things,” she said, adding that it also promotes physical activity.

That’s one of the reasons for A.G. Baillie Memorial School’s participation. Physical education teacher Matt MacGillivray said Dare to Dance shows kids they can be active in other ways than through involvement in typical sports.

“For kids not involved in dancing, it opens up opportunities – they realize how much fun it is.”

The New Glasgow school is organizing a zumba session for the whole school on Thursday.

He said participating in Dare to Dance was a good way to introduce dancing, which will be part of the physical education curriculum next year.

The Dare to Dance program, promoted by Dance Nova Scotia, is marking its 15th year. A record 13,000 students from 65 public schools registered for the challenge, with 14 schools in the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board taking part.

Participating schools can send in a video of their activity, with the opportunity to win a session with professional dancers.

National Dance Week events are designed to get Nova Scotians dancing, with Dance Nova Scotia promoting lifelong health and wellness, one step at a time.

“Dance can be easy, fun and for everyone,” says Cliff LeJeune, interim executive director for Dance Nova Scotia.

“Whether through province-wide programs like Dare to Dance or the wonderful work done by dance schools and companies in our communities every day, we believe dance is the near-perfect exercise.

“The combination of movement and music offers unique, lifelong benefits – physically, mentally, creatively, and socially.”

 

 

SIDEBAR:

Dance Nova Scotia – the umbrella service organization for all forms of dance in the province – celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

One of eight provincial cultural service organizations of the Cultural Federations of Nova Scotia, Dance Nova Scotia encourages, promotes and advocates for dance as a cultural, educational, recreational and healthy activity for Nova Scotians of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

Dare to Dance and National Dance Week are annual events, marking UNESCO’s International Dance Day. Established in 1982, International Dance Day recognizes the contribution of dance to cultural identity, health, education and social cohesion.

Students at Pictou Landing First Nation School did some traditional Mi’kmaq dancing on Monday as part of the Dare to Dance program, which encouraged school students and staff to dance during National Dance Week. Carol Dunn – The News

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