Leaping into a new way of learning

Published 12:00pm 24 February 2023

Leaping into a new way of learning
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Students from Bray Park State High School are embracing a new way of learning, with dance classes added to the curriculum.

With the school’s enrolments continuing to rise, Principal Peter Turner says he is committed to expanding the arts program to provide more opportunities and spaces for students to express themselves creatively.

“Enrolments at Bray Park State High School have grown dramatically in the past six years, meaning we have doubled in size, therefore we are always looking to increase the opportunities, programs and subjects available for all our students,” Peter says.

“I am particularly passionate about seeing our students participate in extra-curricular pursuits because not only does it give them good balance in their studies, but gives them the opportunity to meet other students and engage with other people from outside their normal friendship groups.

“It also helps the kids’ wellbeing to be physically active, find new challenges, build their self-esteem, learn discipline and work as part of a team.

|“Our new dance curriculum gives our students that opportunity, and the kids love coming to class.”|

Variety of dance styles

Leaping into a new way of learning

The dance curriculum is compulsory for students in Year 7, and is an elective option for students in Years 9-12.

The classes are suitable for all skill levels, catering from beginners through to more experienced dancers, with students learning a variety of dance styles.

Since the introduction of the dance curriculum, the school has also started its first dance troupe, which has about 30 young dancers involved.

The students are expertly guided by teachers Nicole Johnson and Amber Kerr, who both started dancing when they were children and later studied dance and education at the Queensland University of Technology.

Preparing for eisteddfods

Nicole says offering dance at the school is a big drawcard for the region.

“Dancing has always been a popular extra-curricular activity for a lot of young people, and now that it is offered here at Bray Park State High School, it is going to attract more kids who want to go down that pathway, or just want to have some more fun at school,” Nicole says.

The young dancers have been hard at work practicing their routines, which they will perform on stage at the Sunshine Coast Dance Eisteddfod at Caloundra in April.

“The kids will perform a musical theatre routine, a lyrical routine and a jazz routine for the judges,” Nicole says.

“They have been practicing one morning a week and on their lunch breaks.”

The Bray Park Dance Troupe will also compete in the Brisbane Performing Arts Challenge held at Forest Lake from May 27 to June 25, as well as in interschool dance events.

Amber says she is looking forward to seeing more students join the troupe.

“We started off with only 15 or 16 kids last year, and after holding auditions throughout the year, we now have more than 30 kids that are part of the dance troupe,” Amber says.

“It’s great to see more kids becoming interested in dancing, whether it be just for fun, or they want to pursue this when they are older.”

Making new friendships

Leaping into a new way of learning
Images: RENAE DROOP

For dance captains Caitlyn Graham (Year 10) and Karlie Gorbal (Year 11), the dance troupe is a fun way to take time out from regular classes and studying schedules as they work towards a career in medicine after they graduate.

“For me, dancing is another fun thing to do at school that’s not just school work,” Caitlyn says.

“I have been dancing since I was three, and I love being able to express myself and have a good time.

“I also like connecting with other people and sharing my love of dancing with those who share the same passion as me.”

Karlie says the dance troupe helped her meet new people when she moved to the region.

“We really are like one big family here. When I was new to Bray Park at the start of last year, I didn’t know anyone, but the dance troupe helped me to build my confidence and make more friends,” Karlie says.

“I have friends from all year levels now.”

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