General Dance Discussion > Why isn't Partner dance taught in school?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by mjnemeth, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    It occurred to me that parnter dance is a more useful "skill" than most other sports .
    Besides athletic skills It teaches team work like football/baseball/basketball .
    There are a few other sports that are socially useful like tennis and golf and they are more expensive.
    If you saw the movie "take the lead" about Pierre Dulaine NYC schools ballroom dance program, in the more he list many of values in it.

    There are many(?) college dancesport teams why has that not propagated down?
    Certain dance is cheaper or just as cheap as other sports.
  2. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    A few thoughts.

    Dance is in ambiguous position between art and sport, which is part if its joy, but which makes it complicated to fit into an educational system organized by neatly labeled blocks. Both arts education and physical education are under significant budgetary and time strain, as high-stakes testing of "academic" subjects becomes ever more a focus of the school day. Perhaps DWTS is changing the perception, but at least in the recent past, partner dancing has not been seen as particularly athletic, so it isn't usually included in the education of the PE teachers, and if they don't know it, they can't teach it. Plus you've got the complications of boy-girl pairings, which are different at different ages, but which teachers may not want to add to all of the other complications of their day. College dancesport clubs and teams are made up of self-selected participants -- even at that more mature age, imposing dance instruction on the entire student body would not go over well. Having it as an after-school "team sport" could work in middle school/high school, but getting such a team started when there's not a tradition of it would require committed advocacy from at least some adults and students, plus some source of seed money.

    So, basically, the question isn't whether it would have benefits. The question is whether those benefits are strong enough to justify the reallocation of scarce resources (time, money, attention) from other things that the schools do, and whether there are people who care enough about it to make the case strongly enough to cause change in a complicated system.
  3. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    Yes there has some advocacy is need, whether for an after-school "team sport" or classes.
    I remember when soccer was always dismissed as a high school sport b ; did take continual advocacy for that.

    I have couple questions are there any dancesport teams from high schools? I not sure how
    college team done so how could high school teams be done . Also any on cne know of know of non team ballroom/swing/dance activity clubs in schools?
  4. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    They don't have the time or money to teach half the stuff they're SUPPOSED to teach and a lot of schools have cut PE programs to almost nothing. (Not that I would have had a problem with that as a kid, as I hated gym and still hate all the sports and activities they tried to teach us on principle.) Private schools could probably work it in, public schools have to do something easy and preferably cheap.
  5. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member

    Part of it may be that in the 1960's, dancing came to mean something different, and the word 'partner' disappeared.
    To most people, 'dancing' means either the 60's-80's style Hippie/Rock Jerk or the 90's-today Hip Hop Crotch Grind.
    Neither require touching, frames or any partner at all.

    Another part may be that before High School. boys tend to think of girls as having cooties (why would you want to touch that??) and once in High School, there's already so much pregnancy (at least in the US) that any further boy-girl contact isn't very...desirable.....from the school's point of view.
  6. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    Yep you got it right. One of my pet peeves 60s dance. But parnter dancing made small come in mid 70's with hustle and early 80s with county dancing the first killed by Travolta and the second lauched with urban cowboy. LOL
  7. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    Depend on school system . Some would never cut team sport . My local NJ school system
    was force to cut weekly student trip to wall street! Some school system spend as they like,
    except when voters turn the the school budget (actually they MAY have to turn down the same buget TWICE in nj per law). And why does dancing have to come out of the PE buget; what about the arts budgets and dancing certain can be debated as cheaper and easy than say football.

    Really it does come down to advocacy . Im just wonder there aren't more school doing dancing especially because of budgets.
  8. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    COMPETITIVE teams, they can usually find the money. When you have twenty kids doing a cheap sport like soccer, that's easy. Specialty sports with limited appeal requiring outside instructors? That's another matter. PE classes that everyone has to take on school time? The cheaper, the better.

    My local district has trouble funding buses for educational field trips (even us, where not only are we free, we can do mileage reimbursement for county schools.) They're not going to hire a dance teacher or even buy expensive DVDs for one of the gym teachers to show. And honestly with 90% of the kids, if you're going to try and do a dance PE, your money would be better spent on a couple DDR games or Wiis.
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yep. IMHO, a lot of it is about the money. DS's PE programs have, at least a couple units per year, focused on "lifetime sports" which is how I would characterize partner dance, for most people (many, if not most, DFers excluded) In every case, the kids were asked to pay the expense -- to rent the roller skates or pay for bowling balls or whatever. PE for non-athletes** doesn't get the funding. PE for jocks? Yes. PE for the rest of us? Again IM very HO, not so much.

    Partner dance, especially ballroom dance, is expensive. I can't see random school districts forking over the cash, when they have football programs to subsidize and standardized tests to prepare for.

    ** And ballroom dance in most of the US is just not considered a sport by many people. My $0.02.
    JoeB likes this.
  10. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    This may be pedantic, but you kind of do need a partner to grind. :raisebro:
  11. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Also keep in mind that there are still some places where there would likely be moral objections to teaching dancing. Just saying.
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yep. totally agreed, P. :)
  13. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    This earlier reply; put in the wrong thread...

    If I were to ask this question to say a school administrator I'll bet I'd probably hear something like dancing is just not important enough to student development to devote the time and resources needed. Just to take a guess. Now, if say a school has enough student interest then maybe the best thing to do would be to form a club. There was one high school here that did just that. They would often come to the Friday dance at the studio.
  14. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    mjnemeth, it seems that you are going to reduce dance to partner dance, and partner dance to teaching steps! Dance ranges from artistic, athletic, historic, musical theory, cultural or religious, social, and folkloristic aspects. Theatre at school also is a lot more than simply acting, it is make-up and styling, it is stage lightening, tailoring, set painting, writing, advertisement, studying body language, history, and so on.

    That is so true.

    The problem is, that we´ve got limited resources for cultural education. Years ago the students had to choose between music and fine arts. Now theatre came along, too. If dancing also was a subject (what I am fighting for), the piece of pie will get smaller and smaller.
  15. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    You're quite right PE teachers probable would reduce it to step. Or try to. But I suggest that
    better than nothing; might peak interest in do more in some students!

    Really there are two things Ballroom as a team sport and Ballroom as a PE/Ats ubit.

    As a team sport I'll agree unlikely to happen.
    My question wasn't about dance in school! That a separate topic!
    Perhaps I'll re-state my question. Why is square dance taught and not ballroom in many(?) school? Is it merely a historical thing, because henry ford promted it in the US?
  16. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Ok, mjnemeth, but that would mean something neither art nor sport, but kind of basic cultural technique like politeness, table manners, or etiquette. Agreed. But it´s getting difficult now: I am a teacher, and I am working in a social hotspot. Why waltz and ländler (ancestor to VW), why then square or other folk dances, why salón and BR dances? Why not zybek (turkish) or vallja e shotës (albanian), yabara (african) a.s.o... You actually ask serious questions!
  17. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member

    Originally, dance was a mating ritual.
    That's why schools -especially in culturally puritanical countries like the US or India - don't like it.
    Why Ballroom and not 'ethnic'?
    Because ballroom is standardized, homogenized, pasteurized, watered-down-ized, PC-ized and so on-ized and will (hopefully...) not 'offend' anyone.......
  18. GGinrhinestones

    GGinrhinestones Well-Known Member

    Interesting discussion - and in the politically correct sensitivities of most US public schools, I can only imagine the pandora's box that would open if you start teaching ballroom ("why are students forced to learn these "European" dances? What about other "ethnic" dances?"), and what happens when you start teaching latin/rhythm...or rather, the "Europeanized" interpretation that is latin/rhythm...or do you go strictly to "authentic" forms of dance, which is a whole separate (and volatile) subject on many fronts...and suddenly "dance in school" becomes a legal battle...

    To say nothing of the art vs. athleticism debate, the social challenges of partner dancing for children/teens, the potential for uneven numbers of males/females (and do we want to throw in the potential for gender identity debates?)...

    All that said, of COURSE I think it's a great idea to get dance (or any fine/performing arts, for that matter) firmly embedded into schools and society, and the younger we start the better...but it doesn't surprise me that with limited funding and resources and increased demands on time, increased teacher/student ratios, and increased media and societal pressures, most school districts just don't see the benefits. Besides, in the overall population, how many people *really* understand what dance is all about? I know I didn't have a clue, until I became a dancer. The very vast majority of people I meet don't know, and don't really care - it's a novelty to them, and not something they would consider a "serious" academic subject they're willing to put taxpayer dollars towards supporting. Unfortunate, but true.
  19. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    We just were told by our work study (who is not dumb by any stretch) that she didn't know who General George Custer was and they'd never even mentioned that in high school history.

    I don't think I'm going to worry overmuch if they're teaching dance or not. Between that and the collection of dimwits who didn't realize Titanic was something other than a James Cameron movie until the 100th anniversary, I'm too busy facepalming.
    JoeB likes this.
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Clearly, your work study person is not from Texas. Oh.My.Gosh! *shakes head*

    And yes. I agree wholeheartedly. You have a point. Let's get the fundamentals under control before we start fretting over what the kiddos are doing in PE class.

    I do have to say, though, that it certainly would be nice if kids learned a few dance basics during their middle school years somewhere. It wouldn't have to be a lot; a box step and a couple turns would ease the lives of SO MANY kids, boys especially, when they grew up. (Witness the many, many anguished cries of men here in DF who are struggling with confidence while learning to dance for the first time in their lives.)

    When I was in middle school, everybody had to take a half year of home ec (where we learned how to set a table, pick the right fork and generally be swell) and a half year of wood shop (in which I learned absolutely nothing I remember, with the exception of how not to kill myself with an x-acto knife :lol:) That seems, to me, like the perfect time frame in which to make sure that kids can navigate a dance floor (box, box, left turn, right turn, emergency step out of the corner.) It's a basic life skill that would serve them well. :cool: Of course (remember that I am, in fact, old.) I spent middle school PE doing calisthenics and taking that dadblamed Presidential fitness test. :headwall: Dance would have been so much better!
    JoeB likes this.

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