I have always had an interest in how dance mixes with other artforms like drama, music, circus, visual arts, creative writing etc and through my own practise. I am always adapting and developing how art forms inform each other and offer something new to explore.
I trained in Dance at Bath Spa University where there was a focus on choreography, improvisation and creativity rather than pure dance technique. After graduating I worked as a dance teacher and freelance choreographer, collaborating with a number of organisations before founding my own company called Citrus Arts in 2009.
My most memorable learning experiences are from blended approaches, where the expressive arts and practical skills have been used to apply to literacy, and numeracy etc. As a child I found certain core subjects like maths and physics a challenge and could not achieve high grades within them. In my final year of studying physics, I had a new teacher who found creative ways to apply physics to everyday activity.
This approach transformed my grades from a D to a B in one year. Moreover, this made me realise how important it is to approach core subjects creatively and find ways to help students to understand them so they don’t become a barrier to learning. Through dance I found that maths and physics are integral to my practice, in the way we move and how we compose and create choreography. It no longer feels like a barrier to me.
I am very pleased that the new curriculum for Wales is being introduced as I am sure that this will greatly benefit pupils. My experience shows me that collaboration and exploration is key, but so is having the tools to confidently deliver. My approach is often simple. I try to break down the tasks into a base idea that has room to grow, develop and expand based on the level of the students.
These simple tasks can be useful for both beginner and more experienced dancers. You don’t have to be an expert but I am keen to help teachers find some simple ways to use dance in the classroom that could make a big impact on a young learner.