Essentially Dance is a new initiative to teach Ballroom and Latin American dance within schools' core Physical Education provision. It is the first training package to be launched in the UK that will train only school staff to teach students of all ages from Key Stages 1 to 5 and of all abilities - beginner, intermediate and advanced.
The programme, formed by dance professionals, including Championship winners Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova, best known for their roles on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, and by Physical Education experts, will give every child in participating schools the chance to learn a new life skill whilst encouraging community engagement, intergenerational learning and physical activity. The pilot programme, developed alongside The Aldridge Foundation, was extremely successful, with an evaluation report by Roehampton University (available here to view online.)
Strictly Come Dancing has been a fantastic motivator for all generations and, until now, there has been a gap in Ballroom and Latin American dance provision. By providing teachers with the skills to teach this style of dance in schools, Essentially Dance has made a stereotypically expensive activity accessible to all, regardless of financial or social barriers. Ballroom and Latin American dance requires a certain level of etiquette and manners and promotes communication between youngsters and adults. When placed in a school setting, it also provides families and communities with an activity that they can enjoy together.