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Juilliard Dance PD Hero

Nord Anglia teachers learn about dance history and technique

In March teachers from Nord Anglia schools around the world arrived in New York City to take part in a professional development course at The Juilliard School. The intensive course will become the foundation of The Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme's dance curriculum launching in select schools this fall.
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As part of the September 2017 launch of the dance curriculum, teachers from Nord Anglia schools around the world gathered in a dance studio in New York City listening attentively to an elegantly dressed, grey-haired woman bespectacled in black-rimmed glasses. Her name is Hilary Easton, Director of Global K-12 Dance Programs for The Juilliard School. Hilary has been teaching dance composition at Juilliard since 2012 and has been integral in developing Nord Anglia’s performing arts curriculum. Over the next four days, Hilary will give teachers the opportunity to explore dance across history and culture; practice movement using various techniques; and most importantly, teach these skills in Nord Anglia classrooms worldwide.

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“This is a fantastic opportunity for our teachers to interact with the best in the performing arts and learn the different techniques behind dance, along with the history and stories that this art brings with it. I know that our students will benefit greatly from what our teachers have learned in the last four days,” said Mark Orrow-Whiting, Nord Anglia’s Director of Curriculum and Student Performance, who helped to facilitate the professional development. “This will surely be a great complement to our educational approach of hands-on, experiential learning.”

Each day began with intensive study of Juilliard’s core works. Physical conditioning, reflections and discussions on how to best impart these skills to students also made up a large part of the professional development. At the end of each day, participants shared their experiences working in international schools and the unique challenges they face as international educators.

Juilliard Dance PD 2

A vital part of the embedded dance curriculum includes an intensive study of Juilliard’s core works—dance repertoires featuring choreography that have made an impact across cultures and time. These works include ballet, flamenco and modern dance among others and categorised into the following themes: Space, Time, and Dance; Folk Origins and Forms; Dance as a Dramatic Expression; Dance that Tells a Story; Spiritual Dance, Ancient Roots; and Choreography of Today. Each of these categories are intended for students to connect with dance and understand cultures, history and expression through dance.

Along with studying the significance of the core works, teachers also practiced the physical aspects of dance. These include posture and alignment, balance, articulation and coordination and ways to stay healthy among other things. Through physical conditioning, teachers are expected to educate students the value of staying physically fit and healthy while building mind-body coordination at an early age.

Juilliard Dance PD 3

According to Jenny McWalter, Nord Anglia’s Assistant Director of Student Services, the goal of this professional development is to help teachers have a lasting effect on students that comes from personal interaction with these core works. Through these activities, students will be able to enjoy the performing arts, while finding new perspectives of the world.

“And what’s more, ultimately, this professional development workshop and the launch of our dance curriculum will give students another opportunity to develop skills such as creativity, discipline and resilience through hands-on experiential learning,” said Jenny. 

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