The aim of the Dance Program at MSC is to provide an inclusive and child-centered environment for developing young dancers, choreographers, and lovers of dance. Under the guidance of an experienced, full-time dance teacher in our beautiful and sunlit studio, children learn to express themselves in a variety of movement styles, to work with others through improvisation and choreography tasks, and to use the body as a vehicle for exploration and problem-solving.
Perhaps more importantly, the Dance Program encourages every child to fully inhabit their body, providing healthy opportunities to take up space and to move as an individual. Using the work of professional mixed-ability dance companies as our guides, children at MSC learn to celebrate difference. MSC’s dance teachers have been at the forefront of designing a dance program that serves the needs of children with physical challenges in an inclusive environment; in other words, rather than exclude children with physical challenges from dance instruction or separate them from their peers, dance classes are designed to fully include every child in the class.
As children progress in age, they are taught to analyze movement, to distinguish between different dance styles, to utilize a wide range of choreographic structures to create their own dance pieces, and to explore and make connections between the aesthetics and the cultural context for different dance styles. Older students also learn how to conduct themselves in rehearsal and are supported in developing the perseverance and flexibility needed to perform more complex dance pieces.
Dance at MSC provides an opportunity for personal and artistic expression and promotes children’s physical, social, and emotional development. MSC’s dance teacher works closely with classroom teachers, on-site physical and occupational therapists, and teaching artists from partnering arts organizations to create an arts-enriched environment for every child at the Manhattan School for Children.