Pacha learns about the interconnectedness we share with nature through her dream adventures with animals and she discovers more about her identity. We came up with the idea of the Connected Dance Challenge as a fun way for children and allies around the world to have fun expressing their love and realize that we are all connected.
Dance is a public performance that allows us the freedom of expressing ourselves. An art that is all about having fun, dance doesn’t have to be a perfectly choreographed routine or moves executed with the precision of a ballerina. Anyone can get up and have a good time dancing with the music as we saw at the launch of our Connected Dance Challenge at Swan’s Market last week.
We are a team behind an environmental children’s book and we value learning. While we have a passion for spreading knowledge about the natural world and issues like climate change, we believe the arts are also important for self-discovery. Children should be encouraged to participate in the arts, but there is less of that opportunity being offered to children now as funding for schools is being cut and arts programs often suffer the first blow.
The link between the arts and learning has been proven through several studies, and parents may be familiar with music having an impact on learning ability. Dance can also have a positive impact on children – studies show that students in dance have improved grades in addition to demonstrating qualities such as persistence and acceptance.
In an article by The Atlantic, children in underserved communities who attended dance programs reportedly were more cooperative, respectful, and accepting to others. While it is hard to quantify dance leading to increased empathy, schools report that the children in dance classes show more positive qualities. Funding for a full dance program is hard to achieve, but a short routine like our Connected Dance can encourage children to freely express themselves.
Dance is a bridge that brings together people from all backgrounds. Once the music plays, anyone can join in the dancing without any special training. It is a unique art that promotes the development of social skills. Children learn to be accepting of their peers, and they are connected by the freedom of expression granted by dance.
Rob Horowitz, the associate director of the Center for Arts Education Research at Columbia University’s Teachers College, studied programs by a nonprofit dance organization in New York and said “[Dance] is incredibly effective in terms of social-emotional development and in terms of being able to incorporate kids from different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different social backgrounds and have them do something common.”
Getting kids around the world from different cultures and backgrounds together through dance and thinking about interconnectedness is exactly what the Connected Dance Challenge was created for. We hope more children can experience the joy of connecting with others and be part of our global movement.
The Connected Dance Challenge comes out of the children’s environmental book, Pacha’s Pajamas. In this kid’s environmental book, Pacha learns through her dreams that we are all connected and awakens with the intention to show the world that we are all connected. She does this by initiating the Connected Dance Challenge.