Dance: New Curriculum Boosts Participation
The appointment of two new Dance teachers this academic year has prompted a total overhaul of Bede’s Prep School’s Dance provision, and the ensuing surge of pupil involvement across all year groups has seen the newly-reformed Dance department at Bede’s Prep rushed off their feet.
“Every child at Bede’s Nursery has an hour of Dance a week, and that lasts up to Year 4,” explains one of Bede’s Prep’s new Dance teachers, Nicci Ward, who joined the school last January.
“This is brilliant in and of itself, but we will soon be expanding again, adding in-timetable Dance to the Year 5 curriculum. Plus we are running several new activity groups in the Co-Curricular Programme for Year 6, Year 7 and Year 8. It has been wonderful to see the children reacting so enthusiastically!”
The new programmes developed by Ms Ward and her fellow Dance teacher Ms Emma Manes, who joined Bede’s Prep School in October and also teaches at Bede's Senior School, have been designed to enable every boy and girl to know their body, establish good posture and develop valuable skills such as lateral thinking, creativity and team work.
“Fun is at the heart of it all of course,” Ms Ward explains, “with the idea being that the children don’t really realise how good it is for them. And between what we are doing in Dance, working hand-in-hand with the Physical Education department and our colleagues in the School Kitchen, Bede’s Prep is being particularly forward-thinking in offering children the heathiest possible start to the children.”
In addition to developing fitness, imagination and improved physicality, part of the objective of these new Dance programmes is to provide pupils with the opportunity to acquire real-world qualifications, much as would be the case with Music grades or LAMDA Drama certificates.
“We offer examination qualifications for all year groups in RAD Ballet and ISTD Tap as well as ISTD Jazz/Modern Dance, with children being able to train with us during their Games sessions and during the Co-Curricular Programme if they opt to,” Ms Ward explains.
“This is in addition to our new Musical Theatre Club, Street Dance Club, Tap Dance Club, Ballet Club and Choreography Club. There really is a lot going on!”
To celebrate all of these burgeoning developments, Ms Ward has organised a Presentation Day on 28 April during which dancers from the various year groups at Bede’s Prep will perform some of their works in progress.
“I would love to make it a really special performance in future years, but we’re still in the early days of the new programmes so it might be a little bumpy,” continues Ms Ward. “Nonetheless, it is important to me that we put the work out there even now and start to look towards Eastbourne Music and Dance Festival next February.
“I say that because, as the School offers Performing Arts Scholarships in Drama, Music and Dance, we see it as very important to encourage families throughout Eastbourne and beyond to understand that what we are offering here is really special.
“We have a clear link to the Legat School of Dance at Bede’s Senior School, with a number of our Prep School dancers having gone on to great success both there and at performing arts schools including Tring and Elmhurst, and we are actively looking for both dancers and would-be dancers.
“All of that aside, Dance is just a brilliant hobby and something I would recommend to anyone. Indeed, I urge any parents who reads this to come by and say hello if they would like more information. After all, who knows where a conversation like that might lead?”