Artist-in-Residence Teaches PE
By Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager
Physical education and dance come together to inspire rhythmic movements in Lower School students.
Music makes the world go round and makes Lower School students dance with glee. This year, the Rhythm and Movement section of the Grades 1–4 PE curriculum was taught by Artist-in-Residence Elyssa Rosenberg, founder and director of the nonprofit Seaside Arts Center (formerly Isadora NOW dance foundation).
Rhythm is the basis of music and dance. Students worked in sync to move their bodies in the same pattern simultaneously, following a beat or rhythm. Movements were semi-structured to give students creative freedom. They moved like animals or objects, with prompts like “move like a feather blowing in the wind.” Elyssa introduced choreography that progressively advanced throughout the week and gave students autonomy to create their own dance movements both individually and collaboratively.
“It was fun to see different students who are more artistically inclined really shine throughout the week and embrace the opportunity,” observed PE Educator Krista Jackson. “Some students were reluctant to jump in at the beginning, but I believe every student walked away having learned something new about rhythm and movement.”
Introducing dance in Lower School presents a relaxed environment, where students can explore and have fun learning different dance styles unrelated to performance.
“Our youngest Torreys have the least hesitation to dance and try new moves,” shares Director of Visual and Performing Arts Cindy Bravo. “We want to build their confidence; there is no right or wrong at this stage. It’s about the enjoyment of learning and moving your body with the natural connection between music and dance. We found that when we offered dance as an elective in Middle School, students thought they had to already know how to dance instead of taking the class to learn how to dance in different genres. Incorporating dance with PE and music in Lower School will plant that positive memory and reinforce the connection as they get older.”
Elyssa will return in January 2022 to collaborate with the music department to incorporate dance education with music education.