Our toddler teacher, Stacie, joined a year-long dance program for educators. The program began over the summer when Stacie, joined a cohort of dance educators for a week intensive at Luna Dance Institute. Stacie’s summer study of dance included theory, structuring dance lessons across different subject matters, human development, inclusion practices, culturally relevant dance lessons, and extensive practice in teaching dance.
Stacie’s background in dance began in middle school with ballet. She began to dance ballet so intensively that she left high school to pursue it. Chronic injury in dance motivated Stacie to pursue engineering, which she ended up studying in college. Throughout college, Stacie still danced, branching from ballet into choreography, modern, improvisational, and contemporary dance. She continues to dance in contact improvisational and in musical theater.
Now, Nia House has the great fortune of Stacie sharing and teaching dance with our children! When asked what her vision for bringing to dance to Nia House was, Stacie shared that it is an experiment to see what might arise. She is excited for the child to become the choreographer, to empower them with choice making through movement, and to give them space to create and observe, and describe the movements of others.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, a group of our eldest children join Stacie for a 45 minute dance class. The classes include a warm-up, an Ohlone land acknowledgment, a brain dance (what’s that? Stay tuned) and then, exploration games. Exploration games include playing with fast and slow, high and low, towards and away, sneaky and surprised, over and under and through, and more. Then, the game gets applied to a problem solved through movement. Lastly, the children perform, watch one another, and reflect with closing questions and observations.
Stacie even brought a mini-dance exercise to the staff. It was an expressive, fun, and bonding experience. Thank you, Stacie, for bringing one of your passions into your work with Nia House’s children (and teachers!).