Monday, April 22, 2019

Movement & Dance: Working with Young People and Personal Practice

I am in mad, crazy love with dancing, moving my body and helping others figure out how to do the same. As a student, teacher and human I am at my best when I am moving and experiencing kinesthetically. The core of all the work I do with young people hinges upon my drive to observe and react to how our bodies move, communicate, agree, disagree, dance and make art.

If you had asked me several years ago to describe my relationship to my own personal movement and that of others I wouldn’t have had much to say. As an adult and emerging artist, my body had become this foreign, removed thing that I navigated around in. Working with extremely savvy, movement-centered mentors and my time spent watching young people move and moving with them inevitably woke up an instinct to move out of curiosity, to dance because it felt good and to play more. I now use movement as a tool in the classroom because I believe in its power to create social and emotional connections between students, to activate and change a physical space and to strengthen the ties between the brain and body of all involved.

I am still negotiating movement for its own distinct, special sake and movement that is inherent in all drama and art. I am still negotiating titles and identities like creative movement instructor, movement educator, teaching artist and person who dances with other people. I am also still negotiating my ability to guide young people in discovering the creative potential of their intelligent bodies while continuing to establish my own personal movement practice.

With the help of the committee at the TYABlog, I now turn to the community to expand this conversation. My curiosity about dance and movement in the classroom leads me to wonder…

  • How do you define movement or dance when working with young people? 
  • How do the worlds of movement, dance, creative drama and TYA interact or connect with each other? 
  • In what ways are you using movement as a tool in the classroom? What have you seen or experienced as a result?
  • What narrative can our moving bodies communicate to and with the young people we work with?
  • Is there a specific age range that you think is best served through movement-based practices?
  • How does your own personal movement practice affect your pedagogy? 

The goal of this discussion is to open up, explore and wonder more about how we engage with movement and dance in our lives and in the classroom. Stay tuned to read blog posts about this topic and if you want to join the conversation, feel free to email me your questions or even your blog post of 500-1000 words around this topic to

This post is the first of an ongoing series about Movement and Dance with Young People.

Join the conversation!


Students move their bodies like butterflies and caterpillars in class with Theatre for the Very Young company Kerfuffle (Tempe, AZ) Photo by Kara Chesser

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