Day 4 of our Exchange!! Today introduced us to a discussion of child development and how it plays into dance education. Specifically, we compared the classes we teach back in the states versus the ones we are teaching here. We noticed and named more similarities than differences between the kids since no matter where they are, kids are kids. It was really inspiring to hear everyone’s opinions and passions about dance education and how it relates to child development. Something interesting that we stumbled upon was that a lot of children in our classes are struggling with cross-lateral movements. It seems to be a trend, in today’s world, that parents are trying to get their children to walk earlier on in life; therefore many babies are missing the crawling stage of their life. This stage is important for developing that cross-lateral body connection. I feel that people don’t understand that there is such a strong connection between movement and the developing human, which goes beyond whether or not that child is going to be a good dancer. We also dove into a discussion about the word dance itself and how to define it. We decided that we couldn’t really come up with a unified definition because dance can mean literally anything to anyone. That’s what’s so beautiful about Movement Exchange! We call it movement so that it is less intimidating to our peers and people of the world, but in actuality, we are getting everyone to dance, whether they know it or not.
– Niki Hofslien, Dance Diplomat
University of Wisconsin-Madison