Alicia DeMellier MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2018

DanceKit: A Guide to K–12 Incorporation of Dance

As Americans, we are chronically unhealthy and subject to avoidable injuries throughout our lives. Our school systems prioritize STEM curriculum over the arts—dance in particular as it is viewed as extracurricular—limiting student’s creativity. For many, a healthy, active lifestyle and desire to be creative is instilled during childhood, making them more likely to continue to strive for the same as adults. Social expectations and norms are also established throughout our lives, beginning as early as age three. Many current social norms discourage dancing depending on gender and reinforce that people should only dance if they’re good at it. By utilizing dance to instill physical literacy in K–12 schools, future Americans will have the groundwork for a healthier, happier lifestyle as they enter adulthood as well as be more comfortable participating with dance. I am exploring strategies to teach dance earlier and more consistently through the developmental years in all public schools. I have outlined a program incorporating dance in K–12 schools and designed a series of soft, interactive, whole-body tools that will encourage dance movement and play. By participating in dance and creative movement of all types from a young age, individuals gain improved physical literacy and will be more likely to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout their lives with the added bonus: they will be comfortable ‘cutting a rug,’ as they (and I) say!

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MFA in Collaborative Design and MA in Design Systems Thesis Works