Trinity Grammar School recently piloted a programme that saw 80 Year 8 students participate in a Dance Enrichment Programme that covered African Drumming, and Hip-Hop, Pop and Break Dancing. Designed to get the boys engaged with physical exercise, Activities Master Lachlan White said, “Rather than ask why dance should play a role in an all-boys school, we asked ourselves why it shouldn’t. There’s so much more to it than simply having fun – there are many health and wellbeing paybacks as well.”
The Dance Enrichment Programme was split into two elements: African Drumming and Dance. The African Drumming component saw facilitators perform for students to give them a feel for the rhythm and sound of the drums and to get them to actively listen and become aware of the acoustic effects in the space. Clearly engaged, the boys were then encouraged to get involved and work together to create music and dance in time with the drumbeat. For most, the experience was unlike any they’d encountered before, with awkwardness quickly turning to enthusiasm as the boys let go of their inhibitions, culminating in a concert at the end of the African Drumming programme.
The benefits of African Drumming can include:
- Stimulated cognitive functions such as perception, attention and memory
- Increased blood flow and improved metabolism through movement
- Promotion of active listening
- Release of negative feelings leading to improved self-esteem and feeling of wellbeing
- Sense of connectedness as boys participate together
- Increased musicality as they learn to recognise beats and rhythm
- Development of ensemble performing skills as they work together to create a unified sound.
The Dance element of the Programme saw students learn how to pop, lock and break from members of pop music and dance band, Justice Crew, and facilitated by Dance Zone. Boys were taught Hip-Hop, Break and Pop dancing. “Although the moves didn’t come naturally to some, great fun was had by all,” said Mr White.
Split into two groups, the Dance Programme culminated in a dance-battle between the two groups – pitting moonwalk moves against ‘running men’ and ‘chest pops’ against ‘dougies’ – dance moves that were foreign to most of the boys before the Programme.
The benefits of dance are well documented and include:
- Aerobic exercise – for improved cardiovascular function
- Anaerobic exercise – strengthening muscles particularly the thighs, glutes, calves and abs
- Improved coordination
- Mental focus as rapid-fire choreography is memorised and performed
- Reduced stress and anxiety – the fast-paced combination of moves leaves little mental capacity for worrying or stressing
- Increased confidence and self-esteem as moves are mastered
- Promotes creativity and self-expression
- Gives the boys moves with which they can impress at School dances!
One student was overheard commenting, “These sessions are great, can we do this every day?” Following the success of the pilot Dance Enrichment Programme, Trinity will make it a yearly offering.
Dance transcends language, gender, cultural and religious barriers. While mastery requires time and skill, these activities can be enjoyed by those with little or no skill. The benefits are therapeutic, releasing feel-good endorphins and improving state-of-mind and body. With all of these health benefits why should dance be limited to the realm of girls?
At Trinity we have guided boys to grow in mind, body and spirit for over a century and we know what boys need to truly flourish and succeed.We take creative and performing arts seriously and offer a range of programmes to suit a wide range of needs. To learn more about the Trinity difference, download our prospectus.