Dancers Connect (DC) is a community program at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. The program originated in the School of Theater and Dance at The University of South Carolina in 2008 and has continued to prosper at UNCG. The function of DC is two-fold. First, DC is a community program for K-12 students to receive quality dance instruction in dance and to create choreography and perform dances on campus at low cost. Second, DC functions as a laboratory classroom and a practicum teaching opportunity for pre-service dance education students at UNCG. DC classes meet each Saturday and provide interested dancers the opportunity to extend their training and expertise in dance at very low cost to them or their family. In the past 7 years,
DC has served 1300 community students, and 70 UNCG preservice dance education majors and have actively contributed to the North Carolina community through this program.
The goals for the Dancers Connect community partnership are:
To provide low cost high-quality dance instruction for community students that is aligned with state and national dance standards
To build a creative community supporting the needs of all learners in celebration of dance
as a creative and expressive art form
To assist every student, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, geographical location, or
disability in learning, creating and sharing dance
To broaden students’ perspectives and afford them a new way to think, perceive and
To support the practicum needs of dance education students by providing the opportunity to create curricula, plan instruction, guide student progress, and lead dance instruction as well as receive ongoing mentorship and evaluation by peers and DC faculty and DC students
To develop and implement student centered, self-directed dance curriculum which supports collaborative problem solving, inquiry-based instruction, Issue-based curricula, twenty-first century learning skills and best practice in dance
To support pre-service teacher education and the application of innovative instructional strategies and to promote innovative instructional methods that can be widely replicated.
DC training emphasizes best practice in instruction, the National Core Arts Standards, Universal Design for Learning principals, 21st Century Learning Skills, and Howard Gardners’ Multiple Intelligence Theory. Curricular content is aligned with university dance education coursework and promotes interdisciplinary content themes, literacy and language development, culturally responsive pedagogy, and activist or issue-based instruction models (Parrish, 2014).
Articles and Features
“It was an amazing adventure for my daughter and for me! My daughter has attended other commercial dance classes but none could measure up to Dancers Connect…[t]he brilliant teachers and UNCG student assistants taught my daughter the joy of dance. I highly recommend this awesome program that reaches out to all children and teaches them to truly DANCE!” --Dancers Connect parent
"Dancers Connect provides a unique opportunity for dance education candidates. It is a laboratory of creative thinking and doing. Dancers Connect provides a platform for integrating both philosophy and the heart into teaching. As a teaching lab, Dancers Connect allows our young teachers the opportunity to try methods and strategies that are different from typical studio settings. There is a focus on supporting young children through adolescents as artists and choreographers. The voice of the dancers connect students is listened to and utilized to set a warm atmosphere where all young artists can thrive." --Dancers Connect Faculty
"Dancers Connect provided my child with an environment and program that was both creatively enriching and educational. She enjoyed time with faculty and student teachers that fostered an appreciation for creative movement and dance throughout the curriculum that will instill a love of dance for years to come."
--Dancers Connect Parent
"My daughter truly loves being part of the Dancers Connect program. It has taught her a variety of dance skills from ballet and jazz to multicultural dance and student led choreography. I have watched her grow and develop in character over the years with Dancers Connect. She is blessed to have had the opportunity to perform locally and to travel out of state to the University of Utah with the Dancers Connect Program. Dancers Connect provides positive experiences for children that will last a lifetime. I am forever grateful to Dr. Parrish and her team of young dance teachers for instilling a passion for dance and support of my daughter."
--Dancers Connect Parent
"We are such big fans of the Dancers Connect program and have really seen the impact it has made on our children, as well as the wider community. We have enjoyed the diversity of classes offered and the children really connect with the student teachers in a very special way. In addition, the price point makes these classes more accessible to all members of the community! No other program offers the range of instruction, connection with student teachers, and affordability that Dancers Connect offers. We have been more than happy with our experience and would recommend this program to any family interested in dance!"
--Dancers Connect Parents
Alamance for Freedom
As part of the Dancers Connect Community Extensions program, Dancers Connect is partnering with the Alamance for Freedom initiative. Dancers Connect will be holding a dance class for students ages 12-16 in Burlington NC on Friday afternoons.