MCGD Outreach Dance Program:
In April 2006, the MCGD started a scholarship program for Brooklyn children seeking dance instruction. The program has grown and currently includes six weekly classes at P.S. 24 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and one weekly class at the MCGD’s Studio. It is important for Ms. Giordano that children of underserved neighborhoods and low-income families be given the chance to study dance with the best teachers.
Ms. Giordano’s modern dance classes for young people have several goals. First, they aim at improving the physical and mental coordination of the child. With coordinated movement comes the development and sustaining of new neurological paths and “muscle memory.” The resulting sense of physical dexterity enhances confidence — a vital for young people. Ms. Giordano finds that this process is particularly valuable for children whose differing athleticism or body style may result in their being shy and negative about their abilities to move and enjoy dance. After several classes, they are smiling happily, and as enthusiastic as everyone else. Secondly, sessions with Ms. Giordano teach the students a sense of structure and discipline. This is tremendously effective in increasing their susceptibility to learning. A focus on students’ active engagement in the curriculum — facilitated by the combination of mind- and body-work — finds academic support in the consensus among education experts that arts’ training promotes students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills. Use of the imagination and specific imagery is encouraged. One afternoon, boys in the class found a similarity between the movement Ms. Giordano was demonstrating and a starting position in typical karate movements. At this, the children became very excited, having made their own connection to something new. Creative associations of this sort are encouraged, making the classroom activities more relevant and fun. In addition, music from many cultures (including Native American, African, Indian, Baroque, and Arabic, among other styles) is used in the room and varies often, adding further color and vitality to the experience. As developed by Ms. Giordano, group dance training for young people promotes a sense of accomplishment and community that is likely to stay with the children for the rest of their lives. The program promotes healthy self-esteem and a sense of wonder for the child, who finds that imagined limits can constantly be pushed further away.
MCGD is proud and eager to be involved in important community outreach activities such as these. If you interested in a partnership with MCGD to develop similar programs, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marie-Christine Giordano Dance Company’s outreach dance program is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Copyright 2009 Marie-Christine Giordano Dance Company