Sweden’s National Institute for Dance in Schools

Dance is an innate language and has always been an important means of human communication. Under the Swedish curriculum, all school stu­dents must now be offered physical activity every day. The Government's Creative Schools Initiative opens up a wealth of opportunities for child­ren and young people to explore their own creativity, including dance in schools. The Dance in Schools Institute has been set up, in which edu­cation, culture and health policy initiatives join forces to introduce dance in schools.

 

The objectives of the Dance in Schools Institute are:

  • to ensure that all pupils have access to dance as a subject in its own right and as an art form in schools,
  • to improve the status of dance in schools by developing methods and through research.

The Dance in Schools Institute is to inspire and support municipalities, schools and teacher training, such that all children and young people have the chance to dance at school and to encounter dance as an art form.

 

The demand for dance teachers is increasing across Sweden and there is a great need to improve the dance skills of class teachers, sports teachers, play leaders and other school staff. For this reason, forming opinions, improving expertise and research are all important elements of the Institute's work.

 

In Piteå, Luleå University of Technology has been running Sweden's first degree for dance teachers since 2003, while Karlstad University will be starting a teacher training programme focus­sing on dance in autumn 2011. Today dance is on the school timetable, being taught by dance teachers in around a hundred municipalities. The Dance in Schools Institute runs seminars, conferences, courses and activities to provide inspiration, improve skills and enable participants to share their experiences. It is important to highlight and raise the visibility of the hidden knowledge underlying the encounter between children, young people, teachers and dance artists.

 

Why Dance in schools?

  • Dance is communication. Dance gives children and young people the opportunity to shape and express internal concepts and emotions, as individuals and in groups.
  • Dance strengthens motor skills and provides greater physical awareness.
  • Dance is joy! Dancing is fun!
  • Dance is a subject in its own right and fosters learning in other sub¬jects, such as history, mathematics and languages.
  • Dance improves the self-esteem of children and young people.
  • Dance transcends the borders between people, countries and cultures.

 

Dancing each other's dances is about sharing each other's cultures and creating understanding and involvement.

 

Schools reach all children. This means it is important that schools give all pupils the opportunity to discover dance as a means of expression. Dance is of great importance to children and young people in strengthening their own identity and inspiring them with the confidence to take their place in society. Dance brings children and young people together across linguistic barriers. Dance in Schools in Sweden is unique and is attracting a great deal of international interest.

 

Good examples and meeting places

The Dance in Schools Institute brings people together in schools around Sweden to highlight good examples and inspire new schools to incorporate dance in the curriculum. Regional conferences and summer courses are held where skills are developed through meetings between dance artists, school heads, teachers, pre-school teachers and play leaders.

 

Creative Schools Initiative

The Government has earmarked SEK 112 million a year for grants to stimulate culture in schools. This project is called Creative Schools Initiative and focuses on pupils in years 4–9 of the Swedish comprehensive school system. The Creative Schools Initiative opens up major opportunities for dance in schools.

The purpose of the initiative is to:

  • help to integrate cultural and artistic expression in the long term from year 4 of comprehensive school on the basis of the school's commitment to culture in achieving its educational objectives.
  • help to increase professional cultural activities for and with pupils from year 4 upwards so as to increase access to all forms of cultural expression and to their own creativity.