From Play to Purpose

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“Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. Be open to possible outcomes,” said Pamela Vail.

Vail has adopted the heart of Angeles Arrien’s The Four-Fold Way program. She uses it as a lens to experience her class. And no, she’s not teaching business students. She’s teaching an eye-opening improv class to serious dance students, ages 14 to 18.

So, what’s the catch? Well, some of these young dancers will be future CEOs, administrators, teachers, and even doctors. A dance education prepares you for a life within and beyond the arts. Don’t believe me? Unfortunately, many non-dancers don’t understand the lifelong benefits of movement-intensive experiences. Allow me to break it down for you: by navigating and constructing dance, students go above and beyond the development of problem-solving skills. They learn how to create problems.

We truly live in an era where being a problem-solver no longer suffices. Take Apple’s iPod for instance. Did society really need a device that transports thousands of music files? No, but Apple created that problem for us, and now they’re making billions of dollars off of an imagined problem.

Dance provides a safe space for our youth to take ideas from play to purpose. Also, it grounds kids with kinesthetic intelligence, design thinking capacities, curiosity about the environment around them, and provides a constant stream of new possibilities. In other words, our BDF Young Dancers are building resumes that future employers (no matter what field) will long for.

Here at BDF, students are constantly taking ideas from play to purpose. It’s called the creative process. Often times, the creative process looks like this:

1. This is awesome.

2. This is tricky.

3. This isn’t working.

4. I’m not good at this.

5. This might be okay.

6. This is awesome, and so am I.

This process builds confidence. Also, BDF Young Dancers learn to assess their limitations, and then safely push past them. Judgment never comes into play. BDF Young Dancers are hearing this over and over again from our stellar faculty. Our students are becoming resilient and observant. They’re realizing it’s not always about them, but it is all about what they do. They’re making group negotiations. They’re discovering that success means hard work, an exchange of ideas, experimentation, and building meaningful relationships with one another.

If that’s not building a well-rounded human being, then I don’t know what is. Support and encourage our youth. Tell them to keep on dancing. The world will be a phenomenal place.

This post was written by Ashley Yergens. Ashley is a Social Media Intern for the 2014 summer.

 

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