Dancing Classrooms Northeast Ohio is working around our socially distanced school year by “BREAK” Dancing for students. The nonprofit has launched a free virtual program that’s available to area grade-school classrooms, and the acronym BREAK stands for Breaks Reset Engagement Attention and Knowledge. The series offers a mental break for students while also providing movement and physical activity that’s a signature of the organization’s other programs.
“While we don’t know what classrooms are going to look like moving forward, we’ve learned that ‘brain breaks’ are always utilized (even in the most ‘traditional’ of learning environments) and are confident that BREAK Dance can both fulfill this need and complement our signature Dancing Classrooms residency program,” said Jo Jo Carcioppolo, founding executive director of Dancing Classrooms, which, during typical times teaches social development through ballroom dancing to grade-school students. “Whether it’s due to challenges with the material presented, lack of focus, needing to strengthen connection, or a combination of all; we’re utilizing the power of movement to address students’ Social Emotional Learning (SEL) – a critical component of their academic learning.”
While Dancing Classrooms provided an eight-week virtual ballroom program for schools during the area pandemic shutdown this spring, students expressed a need for “brain breaks,” said Carcioppolo. This inspired the current program, whose curriculum was created with a priority toward the nonprofit’s core values (Belonging, Respect, Hope, Trust).
BREAK Dance content was developed to be relevant to the organization’s predominantly 5th-grade audience, but content in the videos also is appropriate for 4th- to 8th-grade audiences. The curriculum is available free to area schools, which can register at https://bit.ly/BREAKDance20-21
“As an organization whose signature program takes great pride in providing a safe place for individuals to physically connect in a respectful and meaningful way, the socially-distant reality of the pandemic has presented us with an opportunity to evolve and imagine how else we can instill our core values in students using the “tool” of dance,” said Carcioppolo.
Dancing Classrooms has just released a new unit of BREAK Dance videos. To participate in this free series, visit www.dcneo.org.