The Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival is committed to supporting dance delivery in schools, colleges and wider community settings. To meet this aim we held our very first online Dance Delivery Support Group meeting in February... and the feedback from attendees has been fantastic!
Twenty seven teachers and dance leaders joined us for our first Zoom meeting on the 9th of February. They spanned the length and breadth of Yorkshire with one person even joining us from Italy! The termly gatherings are designed for anyone working with children and young people - whether it's in primary schools, secondary schools, further education or community settings. We all know that it's never been more important for us to network - to share experiences, ideas and approaches and to be a collective voice for dance education.
The meeting began with a national and regional round-up. Laura Nicholson, Head of Children & Young People's Dance at One Dance UK, outlined the support they offer to teachers and dance leaders. Hannah Robertshaw and Sarah Lyon from Yorkshire Dance offered us a taste of what was on offer at RE:FRESH and how they were committed to supporting youth dance provision across the region.
The meeting moved on to 3 breakout discussion rooms: Primary school delivery, Secondary/FE delivery and Community delivery. We were grateful to Roseanna Whiteley (Gomersal Primary School), Sean Selby (CAPA College) and Hannah Wintie-Hawkins (York Dance Space) for facilitating these discussions. Topics included sharing how schools were coping during the pandemic, hints and tips for remote dance delivery and supporting the emotional needs of teachers and students in what has been a challenging time for all of us.
"It allowed me to connect with other teachers and dance practitioners to share thoughts and ideas about how we are currently delivering Dance."
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. One attendee said that she valued "... hearing that I'm not the only one feeling a bit despondent at the moment and getting some top tips for engaging students through online learning. It means I've now got other solutions and some approaches I can try out.". Another said, "There was a common aim; raising the profile of dance in schools. It felt like I wasn't on my own."
Our biggest challenge was time - there was so much to fit in. We've listened to the feedback from people in attendance and have extended the length of the meetings. One person even suggested virtual tea and cake - we like this idea!
The next Dance Delivery Support Group meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 26th May (4.00pm to 5.15pm). You can sign up via Eventbrite to reserve your place. When you register you can opt in to a specific breakout room and we'll ask you what you'd like covered in the discussion - we want the meeting to be as relevant as possible. Visit the Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival website to find out more about the meetings and view future dates.
The Dance Delivery Support Group meetings are made possible through the financial support of Yorkshire Dance.