schools programme

Raising the Barre

In 2016, with the help of a grant from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and additional support from Ernest Cook Trust, DanceEast launched an exciting new project – Raising the Barre.

There was suddenly a moment in the third term, where it all started falling into place and we could see we were onto something really exciting – something truly special. The idea of repurposing the traditional school hall as a digital space and bringing the world’s best culture to every child.
Tom Hobden Lead Artist

The ambition of this project was to employ new technologies to develop an innovative model of delivering affordable, high quality and authentic dance learning in schools. The aim was to build a teaching programme that would combine both remote and real experiences. – maintaining a human connection, whist establishing the conditions to ultimately extract an economic and creative dividend from digital technologies.

DanceEast embarked on a ground-breaking series of exercises, interrogating and experimenting with traditional teaching techniques and how they might be adapted to, and enhanced by, new technologies. Through this, new territories were explored in the methodology and conditions required to create an innovative, dynamic experience for both pupils and teachers.

Results from pupil interviews demonstrate that a model of dance education can contribute to pupil’s wellbeing and transferable skills, as supported by considerable pre-existing research. The project set out to test whether the use of virtual teaching would have a comparable impact to face-to-face delivery in achieving these outcomes.

It helped me hang out with class mates I don’t usually hang out with. I can get really shy when I am around people, but the project helped me because it was different.

There is without doubt more work to be done, however initial investigations have untapped a wealth of possibilities to transform the opportunities available to pupils, regardless of their background or location.


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