All about Dance. "RRAC Dance".
The patter of little feet, the giggles, the challenge and the joy.
Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council (RRAC) has been working to propel dance into the local artistic repertoire. Through an ongoing partnership with Country Arts WA, The Regional Arts Partnership Program presented an opportunity for RRAC to further nurture the love for Dance.
Since the dance project (a long term goal of the organisation) was pitched in 2016, RRAC has coordinated a network of professionals, partnerships and tools that is delivering a dance program across 5 regional towns, giving every school child the opportunity to participate. Aimed to enhance liveability, connection and opportunity, the "RRAC Dance Project" will continue into 2019.
Our local pilot project was carried out in school Term 4 2017, in the schools and communities of Munglinup, Jerdacuttup, Hopetoun, Lake King, Ravensthorpe and Jerramungup, led by professional dance artist Alice Lee Holland (who flew in from Melbourne). Last year’s five-week ‘test run’ enabled professional insight, efficient scheduling and an effective mentorship program ahead of Term 1 2018. The mentorship of local dance enthusiasts is at the epicenter for the sustainability of dance activity in these regions.
The nine-week dance project in Term 1 2018 included mentorship for 6 dance enthusiasts living across Jerdacuttup, Munglinup, Ravensthorpe, Lake King and Jerramungup. As with Alice, our Mentees worked with professional dance artist Dr. Anja Ali-Haapala (from Brisbane) on a weekly basis. In-school classes were held in Munglinup, Hopetoun, Ravensthorpe and Jerramungup. Adult classes were sucessful in Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun, and after school classes for children in Hopetoun, Ravensthorpe, Jerramungup and Lake King. Sound like a lot? Yes, trust us it’s a big project! 190 dance classes were taught in Term 1, to over 300 children and 24 adults. Anja drove over 7,200 kms during the 9-week residency!
Term 1 Feedback from Year 2 Students
Making sounds with my body is fun. (Body percussions)
The music and the moves make me feel happy.
Dancing makes me feel happy and excited.
I feel proud when I achieve something in dance.
I feel happy when I win musical statues and happy when I’m in the audience helping.
With community feedback and the insight from two professional dance artists, we will now prepare for the next Term of the project which will commence in October 2018 (School Term 4).
Even if dance is not your cup of tea, the positive effect that the project had on the children is obvious and immense. This project gives every school child in the targeted regions the opportunity to dance. Arts education provides far reaching benefits for students across their whole school life. Students who are exposed to high quality, creative arts learning are more engaged at school, have more self confidence, resilience and better problem solving skills.
By bringing in professional dance artists to upskill our community members so that they can teach dance classes beyond the life of this dance project (ending June 2019), RRAC is striving for excellence and sustainability.
The Regional Arts Partnership Program is supported by the State Government of Western Australia and Country Arts WA.