Story Dances is a dance and creative movement program for preschool children that will take place at The Loft at the South Orange Performing Arts Center.
Almost 20 years ago, before Story Dances was a fully developed program for preschool children, it was a way for Sheila Rees, a recent M.Ed graduate of the Temple University Dance Department, to engage young children in her creative movement classes by making up stories around movement words. These stories led the way for children to jump like superheroes, twirl like spinning tops, gallop like horses, and fly in the air like beautiful butterflies. They used their imagination and creativity to explore movement. Could they jump high like a kangaroo and jump low like a frog? What level does a bunny jump?
Her students responded enthusiastically and were soon using dance to express their ideas and make each dance personal. While dancing, students collaborate with each other to share the dance space, sharpening their movement skills, enhancing their coordination, and supporting their brain development. They are happy to have fun.
Today, Story Dances continues to place a premium on having fun while telling stories through dance. Now there are more stories and they are backed up by research on active learning and the ways in which the arts facilitate the education of young children. When children link dance with stories they expand their movement vocabulary as well as their literacy skills; setting the stage for learning in reading, writing, science and math. They consistently make choices, initiate ideas and actions and demonstrate their independence within a supportive environment.
Story Dances will run from January 31 through June12. Get more details and register online here.