creativeDANCE is an accessible, challenging and highly enjoyable creative movement form for children aged between 6-11 years old. Classes are suitable for boys and girls with no previous experience AND children who are already fluent in other dance forms.
creativeDANCE helps children develop creativity, confidence, problem solving skills and self-expression. Children learn to improvise, choreograph and express their imaginations in a nurturing and challenging environment.
For 6-7 year olds, classes include games and improvisations. Children experiment with moving on impulse to create shapes and actions, explore independently and in groups, and develop their own, unique imaginations as a stimulus for dancing.
For 8-11 year olds, classes include warm-ups, taught movement vocabulary and sequences, improvisational tasks and explorations into the craft of choreography. Children experiment with choreographic tools such as unison, canon, contrast and contact, as an aid to discovering and developing their own creative voice and style.
creativeDANCE is not primarily focused on technique, a set style or ‘learning’ dances. Classes do, however, include warm ups and teacher-led movements to ensure development of a child’s physical abilities and to widen their awareness of the rich variety of movements that can constitute ‘dance’.
creativeDANCE focuses in particular on placing the imaginative and creative potential of a child first and foremost, and on nurturing the development of this potential.
creativeDANCE in 2017… Amanda is not currently teaching creativeDANCE while she focuses on working for San Diego arts in education organization Collaborations between Teachers & Artists. If you are interested in dance and the arts within a mainstream school environment, please visit their website. If you are interested in independent creativeDANCE classes, contact Amanda for details of future projects.
AMANDA’S BACKGROUND WITH CHILDREN & CREATIVE DANCE
After training as a contemporary dancer, Amanda performed with European dance companies for over ten years. In Europe, most contemporary dance companies engage in educational outreach work alongside the performance touring schedule. Amanda was fortunate enough to work with three companies in particular – attik DANCE, Panta Rei Danseteater and Bare Bones – that placed a strong emphasis on teaching as a means to inspire and educate young audiences. It was during this time that she gained a strong grounding in teaching creatively focused dance and physical theatre workshops.
As Amanda transitioned away from performing she became interested in the relationship between dance and learning in general. With Arts Council England funding, she established a pilot project in seven primary (elementary) schools, applying dance and movement as a tool to engage children in a kinesthetic learning process, as well as developing their physical and creative skills.
Unbeknown to her at the time, this project was the spark to light a fire. For the next six years, Amanda worked as a dance specialist in over 50 primary schools across East Sussex, England, hired directly by schools and contracted to the South Downs School Sport Partnership (SSP; UK government funded organisation improving and coordinating high quality sport and dance provision in schools).
Her work in this time included the provision of creative dance classes for children aged 5-11. The classes took place within the school day and were designed to meet curriculum standards for dance and to support student learning across all subject areas (e.g. science, geography, history, literature). Amanda also collaborated with the South Downs SSP and East Sussex County Council to design, direct and produce a filmed dance resource entitled ‘Learning in Motion’ which was delivered to primary schools along with a written resource pack. To complement the resource, Amanda delivered after-school training sessions for school staff.
In addition to this work, Amanda worked with individual classes, whole schools and consortiums of schools to choreograph performances; performances which highlighted the creative skills of the children themselves. She also co-choreographed, directed and performed in a duet entitled ‘This is How We Do It’ about the art of dance making, which toured into approximately 30 schools.
After relocating to California, Amanda is working both within the community and educational environments. With many years experience working with dance and children, she is highly aware of the role that dance can play in a child’s life; encouraging imagination, creativity, self-expression, self-confidence, communication, problem-solving, cooperation, thoughtfulness and critical thinking. She has witnessed enough moments of “Wow, that child has come to life, I have never seen him/her so engaged in something before!” to know that creativeDANCE can be a truly life-enhancing aspect of a young person’s life, capable of leaving a positive legacy that can last well into adulthood.