Juilliard Creative Classroom - Dance

This week the Physical Education Department welcomed Salla Saarikangas, our Dance specialist from the Juilliard School of Performing Arts School in New York to BIS Abu Dhabi for her second visit of the academic year.

Salla arrived with a full programme of Dance that included lessons taken from the Juilliard Creative Classroom, a teacher’s online website dedicated to dance material for Nord Anglia staff. In Year 5 students were introduced to Chance Choreography a technique created by Merce Cunningham, before exploring images from the world of football to create their own movement material. In Year 7 students were exploring movement ideas that came from choreography cards before exploring descriptive words to link with the ‘Captive’ scheme of learning. In Year 4 students were introduced to Flamenco dancing led by Salla herself. Salla found our students to be “polite, fully engaged and interested in their dance lessons”.

The main focus for the visit from Juilliard was to observe the delivery of the Juilliard Creative Classroom by the male PE teaching staff and to discuss the development of this new and exciting resource that we have as a Nord Anglia school. Salla was hugely impressed by the students and teachers and described their engagement and talents as ‘amazing’.

The aim of the Juilliard programme is to engage all students in a creative environment. Year 2 have been developing movement material to reflect George’s Marvelous Medicine, taking key words from the book such as firecrackers, whizzing and bubbling, whilst Year 1 are using Fairy Tales to explore gestural movements in ballet to tell a story without words.

Salla ended the day with a ‘Community Dance Workshop’ for parents from across the year groups. The idea of the workshop was to give parents an introduction to a Juilliard Creative Classroom lesson and to experience what the students do in dance. Pictures on our social media here....
Candice Woodhead a parent of children in Primary said after the Community Workshop “ I’m excited that dance is incorporate in our children’s curriculum at BIS Abu Dhabi. This afternoon Salla from Juilliard took us through a mini workshop where we used step, reach, circle and twist movements to create a dance to no music! That was the challenge! It was brilliant!”

Gaynor Heptinstall – Lowe