Vision – to enable all students to engage with dance, to learn dance skills, create their own dances, and enjoy performance opportunities.
Mission – to create a dynamic and connected community that inspires all students to be creative and curious about dance.
Dance was introduced to Grand Avenue State School in 2017 with the aim of giving access to dance to all students and to enable and encourage them to participate in classes and performances.
Students are taught basic fitness warm ups, technical skills, dance steps and whole routines. They are taught how to do stage make up and care for costumes. They are taught how to manage their belongings when performing, and competing. Students are given the opportunity to participate in classes, to learn routines and create their own, and to participate in competitions and performances.
There is a multitude of research studies which show the benefits of dance can be across many areas. Dancing can be a way to stay fit for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. It has been used successfully for therapy with people with dementia and Parkinson's Disease. Dance has a wide range of physical and mental benefits including:
- improved condition of your heart and lungs, and increased aerobic fitness
- increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness, as well as stronger bones
- better coordination, agility and flexibility, balance and spatial awareness
- improved academic scores and mental functioning
- greater self-confidence and self-esteem
- better social skills and a sense of belonging
- improved self-management skills
- improved psychological well-being
In 2019, dance was incorporated in to the curriculum along with other Arts subjects, now ensuring all students participate in some form of dance along with all the arts subjects across the school. The outline for curriculum dance can accessed through the section about the Arts at Grand Avenue.
General Dance Classes:
General dance classes are available to all students from Years 3-6, on Thursday afternoon after school from 3-4 pm in the auditorium. Students from the junior school with prior dance experience can apply to join by contacting the dance coordinator. The students are taught fitness and dance skills, as well as some routines. There is a small levy each year to cover costs.
Talent Quest and Choreography Competition:
All dance students are invited each year to participate in a talent quest which is open to all the school, and in the Annual Choreography Competition for the dance students. There is a guest judge and winners often get the opportunity to perform at the school's Dance Nights.
Each year the dance students are able to participate in a variety of dance workshops with guest teachers and choreographers. In the past these have included: the Queensland Ballet Company, RAW Dance Company, previous Grand Ave students and other guest teachers.
Each year, 25 of the top dance students from years 4-6 are invited to become a member of the school competition Dance Troupe. The Dance Troupe members participate in extra rehearsals before and during school hours, and during interschool sport. Year 6 students who are unsuccessful are often invited to become understudies and have often stepped in when dancers are absent or injured.
During the year Dance Troupe compete in at least 3 eisteddfods, as well performing at community and school events. They are considered to be school representatives at a high level and their behaviour expectations are set accordingly high as well. Many go on to perform in high school dance troupes as well. The Dance Captains are also badged school representatives similar to Sports House Captains.
The Development Squad is made up of year 4 and 5 students who have expressed an interest in becoming part of the Dance Troupe but still need further skill development before they are ready to join the troupe. They rehearse with troupe and learn the routines, with the view that they can step into dance troupe more easily when the time comes.
Creative Generations Onstage:
Creative Generations Onstage (CGen) is a performing arts initiative run by the Queensland Department of Education for Qld state schools. Around 1700 P-12 students participate each year in rehearsals over term 2 and 4 days of rehearsal and performance at the BCEC at the beginning of term 3. Students generally participate as dancers, actors, choir, vocalists, instrumentalists, media crew, and backstage crew. The performances are arena style in front of several thousand people and are an incredible experience for the students.
Grand Ave State School has participated in CGen Dance since 2017 (excepting 2020!) and usually takes 20-25 dancers from grades 2-6, with some making it into the featured dance sections each year.
Wakakirri is a national story dance competition that is open to all schools across Australia. Students tell stories through the use of dance and drama in local and regional venues, with National Awards being decided through their videoed performances. The students are encouraged to choose to create their own stories, with a strong emphasis on environmental or indigenous stories, or stories about the students themselves. Some schools may create their own story or retell a classic. The students are encouraged to be hands on with costumes and choreography and must also do their own backstage work.
In 2018 Grand Avenue participated for the first time in Wakakirri and won the regional awards and a National Story Award for first time schools, for their local environmental story about the lake at Forest Lake. Grand Avenue will be competing in Wakakirri on a biennial basis.
All dance students – whether dance troupe, general classes or curriculum students, get the opportunity to perform in front of audiences at regular times throughout the year. Performances may include competitions, school assemblies, P&C events such as the Ekka Fun Day, school events such as Grandparents Day, twice-yearly Performing Arts Nights, and larger events such as Wakakirri and Creative Generations Onstage.
"Dance is the hidden language of the soul"
― Martha Graham