Encore March 2015

Page 36

A Leg Up Dance education programs benefit students in moving ways by

Kit Almy

photography by

JunFu Han


ancing can improve writing. At least that’s been the experience of Debra Norton, who provides dance education as the artist in residence at Kalamazoo Public Schools’ Woods Lake Elementary, a Magnet Center for the Arts. Norton, along with the school’s fourth-grade teachers and writing coach Peg Luidens, taught narrative writing to fourth-graders by incorporating dance into their teaching. Kids were shown photographs of athletes and asked to develop a narrative related to the photo. The students “had to start to recreate what was in the photograph, and then they had to start to imagine, if they were actually that athlete: What would their story be? What would their narrative be?” Norton says. The students developed storylines with a beginning, middle, climax and end and then developed a series of movements that corresponded to the story and had a logical order.

36 | Encore MARCH 2015

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