Sometimes it’s interesting and informative to practice what you preach… And to value the process
When you use Dance Notes’ teaching schemes, the emphasis is on giving ownership to your pupils. In so doing, you need to give up control and allow the process to take on a life of its own. Which is analogous to the way in which these resources and the work that goes into them have themselves evolved.
Go Where Your Passions Lead
The chief lessons developer for Dance Notes has, for many years, been Michelle Rochester. She is somebody who did not start out to teach dance. In fact, she hadn’t aimed for a career in dance at all. However, she went where her passions led. Today, Michelle not only shapes the way in which teachers throughout the UK deliver movement classes but also heads up the charity ‘Make a Move’.
You may have noticed links and references to this organisation at the Dance Notes site. There is a reason for this: the two entities (Make a Move and Dance Notes) have a symbiotic relationship. And each came to be where it is today more or less by accident, rather than design.
Before setting up the charity, Michelle had been facilitating dance in schools around Somerset, Bristol & South Gloucestershire for many years. Some of the most valued and rewarding work was with children who had learning or behavioural difficulties. Case studies included one child who was initially unable to remain within a classroom setting for more than a few minutes. He ended up actually leading dance sessions.
When the funding for such work was suddenly withdrawn, Michelle began to look for solutions. Somewhere along the way, it was suggested she set up a charity. That way, she could continue this work at no cost to the schools themselves. Since the benefits of movement classes to the disabled and socially excluded were very clear, this took off quite quickly.
From Strength to Strength
Several years on and Make a Move works with vulnerable people from all areas of society. These include: mothers with Post-Natal Depression, Alzheimer’s patients and corporations whose workers are, by their own reckoning, ‘broken’. This latter category – of course – helps to fund the rest and to match core-funding from regular donations.
So, as with the actual lessons and workshops themselves, this whole process didn’t begin with a fixed end in sight. The reasons for carrying out this work are clear and the benefits well-known. However, where this may lead is never a given. And so it should be in any creative endeavour.
Value the Process
Individuals (teachers included) are sometimes discouraged from trying things out because they don’t know if the end product will be ‘any good’. Ultimately, the beauty of creative pursuits is that they are not outcome-led or results-driven (or any other such abuse of the English language). The value is in the process. Or, in modern marketing-cliché parlance, ‘the journey’.
So, go on, get on-board and enjoy the ride. You may not end up where you imagined you would – but you are guaranteed to learn something valuable along the way.