Seeing that only one school in the District of Columbia Public School system has federal funding for dance programming, Joy of Motion Dance Center stepped in with Motion Express. This standards-based, dance education outreach program has brought free weekly classes to DCPS youth from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade for the last decade.
And this year the teachers are finding their groove, too!
Recently, our Director of Programs and Services, Heidi Schimpf joined Quynn Johnson, our Outreach Manager who oversees the Motion Express program, to give a workshop for teachers on incorporating movement into their daily lessons.
“The teachers asked for the workshop,” states Quynn, noting that “a major component of the program is to transform education through dance.” Motion Express does provide technical training to students in DC’s underserved communities, but it is also fueled by the concept of using dance as an educational tool. Passion is contagious and several DCPS teachers seem to share JOMDC’s enthusiasm.
Interested in connecting science and math lessons with dance movements, six pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teachers from Maury Elementary School came to the JOMDC Atlas studios for the workshop. On the difference between working with students and teachers, Quynn comments: “I did have to break them out of their comfort zone. The kids are ready for anything.”
While Quynn focused on getting the teachers moving, Heidi, who served on the committee which created the DC Public Schools Dance Standards and holds over nine years of experience teaching dance to at-risk youth, led the workshop. Both hope to continue the sessions with more teachers in the future.