By Mrs Gibson, Headmistress
One of my earliest memories is watching my grandparents dance at a family wedding. I was so envious of how they glided round the room and my grandfather took pity on me and tried to teach me the waltz. Dancing was so important to them: they first met at a dance after World War II; they celebrated many major family milestones with a dance together; and in their twilight years they enjoyed nothing more than going on cruises and attending dinner dances. It is a shame how the generations that followed them did not always place such importance on dancing together.
When travelling around Cuba, this was clearly not the case. Salsa dancing was everywhere: in bars and cafes; in the streets; and at family celebrations. All generations of the family would dance together and it was always so lovely to see grandparents and grandchildren spinning and twirling together at speed to the energising salsa beat. I spent many happy hours dancing there too and the joy it brings you cannot be matched in my opinion.
That is why it was so special to see so many of our students participating in our dance shows, All Kinds of Legends, last week from our Year 3 right up to our Upper Sixth. It was clear that they found so much joy in what they were doing too. There were looks of concentration and ecstatic smiles at the end, safe in the knowledge they had performed well. The audience too, were brought along with the emotion of the performances, some were happy and upbeat, whilst others were more pensive and drew us on an emotional journey. The students were able to articulate their thoughts and emotions so vividly through their dance. We have certainly felt the lack of opportunity to perform over the past few years of covid. And I am sure like most of us I am very glad that we are back to being able to bring our community together through dance again once more.
Dancing is such a natural thing for humans; we have all seen babies and toddlers swaying to the beat of music. Students here are able to foster their love of dancing through exploring different types of dance and the progression they make from their first performances in Year 3 to the accomplished ballerinas and tap dancers we see in the Sixth Form is phenomenal. Perhaps, we adults need to take a leaf out of their books? We may not all dance like our grandparents did, but we should still try to find opportunities to dance and remember the joy it brings us. Whether it is dancing round your kitchen, going to Zumba or dance classes or throwing some moves at a family gathering or wedding, let’s show our children that we understand the importance of dance and what a great effect it can have on our wellbeing.
As the dancer, Agnes de Mille said: “To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.”