Learning Science through Dance: Innovative Dance Program Gets Kids Moving

This fall, Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services staff will be working with the Pacific Northwest Ballet to expand the Dance to Learn program into four Burien schools.

Dance to Learn is an integrated arts residency program led by Pacific Northwest Ballet teaching artists in collaboration with classroom teachers. Sessions with the students blend creative movement, choreography, and concepts from other subject areas with live musical accompaniment.

In May 2023, students from Shorewood Elementary had the chance to participate in a Dance to Learn program that used dance to explore and communicate ideas from their science unit on the life cycle of plants. Over the course of the program, students participated in several dance classes and created their own original choreography. 

One six-year-old student stated, “dance class is the best class of my life,” illustrating the inspirational and transformative power of art. 

This fall, Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services staff will be working with the Pacific Northwest Ballet to expand the Dance to Learn program into four Burien schools. City funding is supporting the program.

When asked about why the City is supporting this program, Caroline Bobanick, Recreation Supervisor, answered, “So many young children are kinesthetic learners absorbing knowledge best by fully experiencing it through hands-on activities and movement. Dance to Learn allows them to engage with their subject matter in a dynamic way that deepens their understanding and gets them excited about learning.” 

While dance and movement units are taught in elementary schools through general music and physical education classes, artist-in-residence programs allow students to interact with professional artists resulting in richer experiences and greater opportunities for creative expression.

“Engaging in art has been shown to connect students more deeply to the world,” said Bobanick. “It opens them to new ways of seeing, and nurtures their creativity.”

Emily Inlow-Hood
Communications & Public Engagement Manager at | More posts
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