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Dance and Physical Education
Posted by Christos on Wednesday, March 30, 2005

In Greek schools and colleges, dance is often treated as part of Physical Education, and is taught by P.E. specialists. One can see why this is so. Dance, like athletics and sport, involves movement, and Physical Education teachers are skilled in the training of the human body, the physical aspects of movement, the body's strengths and weaknesses, and the avoidance of injuries. All of these are important in the teaching of dance.

But dance is much more than movement. It is not a sport. It is one of the arts, like Music and Drama. These too involve physical movement in their performance, but such movement is a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. So it is with dance. The purposes of dance are very different from the purposes of athletics and sport.

Dance is an expressive and creative art, and folk dance is a folk art. Like a language, it is a way of expressing meaning, and a way of creating something beautiful. And it should be taught in a way that serves these ends.

Treating dance as part of Physical Education often affects the way in which we teach it. When we put more emphasis on the movements of dance, there is a danger that we may neglect its expressive and creative side. Teach pupils the basic steps, by all means, but give them a chance to make them their own, and to use them expressively and creatively.

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