Chloe Greer is a Dance student at Falmouth University in England. She did PAA’s Dance Volunteering program in Costa Rica.
My name is Chloe Greer, and I am currently a 3rd Year BA (Hons) Dance Performance student at Falmouth University, England. As part of this year’s studies, I am undertaking a ‘Practice in Context’ module, more commonly known as PIC. Over the last three months, I have been exploring my own practice, as well as the avenues which I hope to pursue post my degree. When I graduate, I should like to teach, and so, for the duration of my PIC, I have tried to gain as much knowledge and experience in this respect as possible.
Throughout my project, titled ‘Differentiated Dance – A New Way to Learn’, I have been exploring different teaching practices, observing and shadowing practitioners, as well as hosting my own creative workshops. From this, I have increased my knowledge of how one must adapt the way in which one teaches, dependent on whom is being taught, after all “before setting forth on the adventure of teaching the wonders of movement in dance, the aspiring teacher should gain a vast background of experience and training.” (Sherbon, 1975)
Over the course of my PIC I have worked with numerous different organisations, culminating with Performing Arts Abroad. Currently, with Performing Arts Abroad, I am volunteering as a dance teacher at the ‘Ana Frank Day Care Centre’ in San Jose, Costa Rica. The centre, which is part of the YMCA group, has been caring for vulnerable Costa Rican children for over 27 years and aims to provide services for families with limited resources to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for the children.
I am spending a month in Costa Rica, and whilst here I have not only been teaching the children, but also immersing myself in the country’s culture. As well as living with a Spanish host family, for my first week I studied Spanish at the Costa Rican Language Academy (CRLA). What a lot of information you can cram into a five-hour session – everything from describing what Prince William was wearing in a picture, to questioning my classmate why he was carrying miso soup in his bag!
Although originally, I planned to teach for the entire four weeks, to ensure that I got the best out of my Spanish classes, and had the opportunity to take CRLA’s Latin Dance, Yoga and Cooking classes (included with the PAA program!), I decided to only teach for three weeks. On reflection, this was far better, as it allowed me to broaden my Spanish vocabulary, meaning I am able to speak to the children more confidently in their native language.
Last week this ‘confidence’ stood me in good stead as I have been working with the youngest children at ‘Ana Frank’ to create a dance for the centre’s ‘Noche de Navidad’ celebration. After introducing myself in Spanish to all the children, we played some games, but with the Christmas music poised and ready, it seemed criminal not to start what was hopefully going to be a brilliant dance for the children – what a dance it was!! Despite a few hiccups (primarily linguistic!) during the week, the children all performed their dance brilliantly on Thursday evening. Have a look at the video to see how well they all did! (www.chloegreerdance.tumblr.com)
During the remainder of my time at ‘Ana Frank’ I hope to teach a number of different groups, and plan to work towards a final showcase. Not only will the other children and staff in the centre be invited to the performance, but also the children’s parents too – I hope they will enjoy it.
It would be true to say that working alongside ‘Performing Arts Abroad’ as a volunteer dance teacher has, and I am sure will continue to be, an incredible experience. Not only have I grown artistically, but also personally. To quote infamous American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, “it’s what I always wanted to do, to show the laughter, the fun, the joy of dance” and, with the help of Performing Arts Abroad I feel certain that I will achieve this.
Written by Chloe Greer
Performing Arts Abroad dance volunteer in Costa Rica