CREATIVE DANCE TALES is storytelling through dance. Conceived, developed and led by Philippa Donnellan, it began as a pilot workshop series supported by The Ireland Funds in 2015, offering children and primary school teachers an imaginative, kinaesthetic learning experience in dance. It included an invitation to go see a CoisCéim Dance Theatre’s performance of THE WOLF AND PETER by David Bolger.
CREATIVE DANCE TALES is designed to link with the Primary School Physical Education (Creative Dance) and Visual Arts Curriculum through ‘looking at and responding to art’ , with the aim of encouraging ‘additional ways of learning for children and enable them to record real or imagined ideas and feelings’ (Arts Curriculum, NCCA; 1999). As part of CREATIVE DANCE TALES workshops, teachers are invited to link with other aspects of the curriculum such as Drama, Literature and Visual Art and Design, and to utilise these elements as appropriate.
Nine primary school groups took part in the CREATIVE DANCE TALES pilot workshops in 2015, either before and/or after they had seen a performance of THE WOLF AND PETER. The workshops drew from the characterful choreography and dramatic story of The Wolf and Peter and the powerful music of Prokovfiev. They enabled the children to explore themes through simple, lively movement tasks, and fun choreographic activities. Together, the children were encouraged to share and exchange ideas, and respond to all they had experienced by inventing a unique creative dance tale of their own making.
In 2015, DANCE EDUCATION workshops also took place with primary school teachers in Galway and Dublin. These workshops unpicked some key approaches to working creatively with young people in dance and movement. Drawing on material from THE WOLF AND PETER, participants had the opportunity to engage in varied and dynamic movement practices, discover new tools in the teaching of dance with young people, and share their own dance experiences with other teachers/artists working in education.
The key aims:
- support the development of teaching skills in creative dance
- build confidence in planning and delivering creative dance projects with young people
- facilitate discussion and share experiences surrounding dance/arts practice in schools
- increase awareness of creative dance practice as an aid to cross-curricular learning
In 2016, CREATIVE DANCE TALES workshops took place at Uillinn, West Cork Arts Centre with 3 local primary schools. These coincided with a performance on Saturday 18 June of a new work choreographed by David Bolger, Fancy Dress, for Croi Glan Integrated Dance Company to celebrate their 10th anniversary.
In May 2017 CoisCéim BROADREACH and the Physical Education Unit School of Arts Education and Movement at DCU launched the CREATIVE DANCE TALES Digital Resource for primary school teachers. This resource evolved through the pilot workshops and the continuation of the workshop programme nationwide in 2016 & 2017. It is also a legacy element of the company’s three year Arts Council funded residency at the College.