Inside Outside Upside Down: Students Express Themselves through Dance

July 29, 2016

Dance Photo JPEGPre-kindergarteners and kindergarteners dance, learn, and discover their individuality through a program at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School titled Inside Outside Upside Down: Discovering the World through the Language of Dance.

This early childhood dance and literacy initiative was funded through an Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI) Teacher Grant, and reached 70-75 Beverly J. Martin students in pre-K and kindergarten during November and December of 2015, as well as April and May of 2016.

The funds received from IPEI allowed Beverly J. Martin teachers to invite Lisa Tsetse as a community partner. Lisa has 30 years of dance experience, and teaches dance to a wide range of students from toddlers to adults.

Inside Outside Upside Down, led by Tsetse, combined movement, English, and the arts as a means to physically engage students with literature. This initiative sought to foster the development of body awareness, cognitive movement, literacy, and music experience. Through these sessions, students were given the opportunity to become immersed with music and literature as they made conscious choices about their bodily movements.

Each pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classroom received six to eight class sessions from Tsetse throughout the 2015-16 school year.

The students partook in various exercises and poses, such as “walking on the ceiling,” in which students lied flat on the floor, gazed towards the ceiling, and tapped into their imagination. Each student created various ways to represent their body walking on the ceiling, such as swinging their legs or moving their arms as if they were truly moving upside-down.

In another exercise, “I am a sculpture,” students carefully positioned their bodies to create their own unique sculpture. One student froze in place on one knee with her hands on her hips, while a boy across from her set one hand firmly on the ground with both knees bent as if he was beginning to breakdance.

Through Inside Outside Upside Down, children explored their emotional and physical development, as well as improved their spatial awareness. Students discovered who they were, both inside out and upside down.

Teacher Grants provide up to $1,500 for projects that fund ICSD teachers’ great ideas involving community partners and aligning with NYS Learning Standards.

Students Learn to Make Energy DecisionsAmplify! IPEI Empowers Students With Technology