Janet: Guelph Dance’s Workshops In Schools series lies close to my heart. As the main facilitator of this series, I’m privileged to be on the front line with the kids who attend these workshops.
It is Guelph Dance’s passion and commitment to foster and encourage artistic and self-growth in our youth. Guelph Dance’s commitment and inclusion of youth is a rare and vital component of our organization. We provide performance, training, camps and in-school dance education to the population of Guelph.
We work closely with at-risk or marginalized schools in the Guelph area. To continue this work, we would like to bring a dance artist for a week’s residency at these schools to develop dance awareness and skills, but also to encourage the growth of self-identity and discovery through movement. This week-long residency allows for a relationship to develop between the facilitator and students, as well as providing time for a more meaningful and effective experience for the learners.
Guelph Dance has longstanding relationships with many schools throughout Guelph and a clear, strong rapport with many principals and staff, creating a vital pathway for the growth and inclusion of their students. The Guelph Dance artists intended for this project are highly accomplished choreographers and performers, as well as experienced and passionate teachers. Offering these affordable workshops helps to create a stronger sense of community in Guelph, as well as offering an arts education experience.
Having facilitated many workshops-in-schools, I have witnessed profound physical and emotional development in the learners. I watch the non-verbal become verbal, the challenged become able, the dynamic of a classroom become celebratory, almost victorious. It is here, in this arena, that I frequently hear teachers declare in astonishment that they never knew the drive, interest, and/or skill a particular student had for dance/movement.
In the wake of the recent cuts to extracurricular activities in the public school system, we believe it is all the more important and necessary to develop and fund activities that promote physical and artistic enrichment for students. With a non-successful grant application from the Ontario Arts Council in hand, Guelph Dance has chosen to avoid defeat, but has chosen instead to raise money within the community to be able to offer a few day-long workshops for schools to at-risk students. I am immensely moved by and grateful to our community for their help so far, and hope we can offer these workshops to more schools with your help.
Please visit our indiegogo page to donate to this year’s Workshops In Schools program. Any amount helps! Thank you.