Performing Arts program gets out into the community

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Date: Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, 974-7642

For Immediate Release


Celeste Anderson Staton

The Performing Arts Department of the University of Hawaii at Hilo reaches out into the community in October and November as ten students of DNCE 419-Dance in Education take their teaching skills into area schools for practicum sessions in real classroom situations.

“The Big Island Dance Council, which sponsors a Dance Education project, partially funded by State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, approached me with a serious need for trained instructors,” said Instructor Celeste Anderson Staton. “These UH Hilo students have an opportunity to progress immediately into part-time employment.”

Anderson Staton has many years experience working in public and private school classrooms instructing in Creative Dance with the goal of integrating the whole child into their education. With 20 years of contact with schools and teachers on the Big Island and administrative background with the Dance in Education project for five years, she has built a strong support system adhering to the fact that children need and respond to the kinesthetic approach to learning. “Children are natural movers, they learn by doing,” she said. “They ingest information, build social skills, and evolve problem-solving techniques through the use of the elements of dance.”

The UH Hilo students have practiced their skills with their peers and will progress to team teaching Kamehameha preschool classes at the Kinoole Branch. Lead preschool teacher, Diane Theroux, has coordinated 12 classes with 40 four-year-olds. The next step will take the UH Hilo students to Haili Christian School for practical experience with the older grades. They will engage ten classes of K-4th graders in movement exploration, incorporating curriculum studies, encouraging children to explore their boundless creativity and energy.

“There is a growing group of Dance Educators nationwide that continue to research and implement Creative Dance/Movement theories into the school classroom with positive results,” explained Anderson Staton. “The American Alliance for Heath, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance hosts a national convention in Chicago highlighting innovations in the field relating to Dance Education and the brain, all pointing to enhanced learning opportunities through movement.

“Hawai`i’s children will benefit with trained movement specialists in their classrooms. We are seizing the need and working to fill Big Island schools with this enrichment as well,” she noted.


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