• CoMotion dancers teach through movements. Photo by William Munoz

    CoMotion Dance Project redefines curriculum through movement

    Story and photos by WILLIAM MUNOZ

    Five second graders walk carefully into the open space in the classroom as their peers sit quietly as the audience. Music begins and they perform their science-inspired choreography of evaporation, condensation, accumulation and precipitation.

    Curled up on the floor as molecules, they lightly swirl and rise to standing. Soon, the clouds condense into the long wispy shapes of cirrus clouds. The 7-year-old performers spread out and twirl softly to the ground as snowflakes and freeze.

    The students have just danced the water cycle.

    Different from the science classes many remember, these students are participating in the CoMotion Dance Project’s long-term residency program, which uses creative movement and dance to reinforce elementary school curriculum in math, science, social studies and language arts.
    The CoMotion Dance Project was launched in 2006 by Karen Kaufmann, professor of dance at the University of Montana, to support the philosophy that movement can enliven the learning experience for many students, especially those who don’t learn easily through traditional methods.

     

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