The field of dance has been evolving in the last few decades with performance art spreading its wings into new dimensions. As the next generation is entering into a world where our understanding of communication and communication patterns have become diversified not only in terms of verbal but also non-verbal, the need for evolution in performing arts becomes a part and parcel of a future facing teaching curriculum. The PYP curriculum being transdisciplinary in nature promotes the evolution of art forms through other disciplines which in turn helps to bring out the individual voice of an IB learner.
PYP students as part of their unit “dancing through the modern eye” co-constructed the definition of dance as “a performing art which uses non-verbal communication to express feelings and ideas.” The initial inquiry and learning engagements through visible thinking routines helped the students not only understand dance as a physical expression but also as a tool to discover their individual artistic expression through the interplay of thoughts, concepts and physical actions.
Drawing inspiration from the works of dancers like Aditi Mangaldas, Aakash Odedra and Crystal Pite, the students started to explore the concept of choreography in terms of the change observed, connections created, and perspectives portrayed.
Things amalgamated into a greater breakthrough when the transdisciplinary theme “how we express ourselves” and the central idea of “technology is a language for human expression” came into the picture. The idea of integrating both technology and dance at a larger scale had been explored earlier through an inquiry into the works of famous choreographers. But the micro level productions in a PYP classroom was indeed a ground-breaking path for us. In ICT classes, the use of green screening and its applications were taught which were then used during dance classes to enhance learners’ compositions.
The students divided themselves into the roles of choreographers, dancers and even technical crew bringing in their voice, choice, and ownership into the class. The process supported the optimum use of the Approaches to learning skills through:
- Extensive collaboration within the different groups
- Creative thinking skills through strategies and planning to create a dance video using ICT skills and movements they had designed
- Self-management skills as they organized and planned strategies to execute the choreography
- Communication skills by giving meaningful and effective feedback to their peers to hone their skills and restructure their strategies for execution.
The reflection activity and discussions also helped the students to identify the learner profile attributes they observed in their peers while working on the dance production.
“It was different, unique, and engaging. We were given the chance to integrate technology with dance to enhance our choreography skills as well as give life to our creative ideas,” said a student.
“The activity brought out the meaning of the transdisciplinary nature of the PYP programme where the students applied the skills learnt in ICT classes and used it creatively while choreographing their dance movements” said the PYP Coordinator.
Vaishak M Raj is an IB continuum educator and has been working in the performing arts department at DPS International Gurgaon engaging both the MYP and PYP students to develop their artistic voice and choice. He is also a CAS adviser for DP. He has been the creative head for the British Council’s project ‘Imperfect Circle’ and has also won numerous scholarships and grants towards his meritorious services in dance.