Sessions for a popular dance and physical literacy program were offered to community members for free last week, getting families out of the house and grooving to some of the radio’s most popular tunes.
‘DANCEPL3Y’ is a worldwide program that helps build physical literacy through dancing and fundamental movement skills, such as hopping, skipping, jumping and running.
“Every song we do, I give a simple movement and I encourage the kids to make it their own,” said Amanda Grobbecker, a master trainer for the program. “If we’re having our hands up in the air and waving, they start to add their own style of how they wave their arms.”
Grobbecker facilitated a class for adults on April 15 and one for kids on April 18, both at the Midnight Sun Complex. She’s been hosting similar classes throughout communities in the NWT for the past five years.
“It’s a great way to get kids to be fun and playful, and to also get their movement in for the day. Oftentimes they’ll leave saying that they’re hot and sweaty, but they are happy when they’re leaving,” she said. “It’s not a complaint. They’re really happy when they leave.”
The program follows three rules of play, hence the “3” in DANCEPL3Y.
“The first rule is to be positive, so the idea of thinking ‘I can do this, I’ll try my best, I’m getting better, I’m awesome at this.’ The second rule is to be fun. It’s the kids’ chance to be fun and creative,” she said. “The third one is to be yourself. The idea of taking a simple movement or a pose that they make into their own style and it doesn’t look exactly like mine.”
What she loves most about the program, she continued, is watching participants get creative with their moves.
“You get to be yourself still. I’m not asking you to be someone else. It involves that movement and those fundamental movement skills. Those skills are so key, and I think oftentimes they get missed,” she said. “So really learning that balance: the skipping, hopping, jumping and even the throwing. If little kids can learn and develop that, their participation in other things will be even larger.”
She added that her goal is to see participants leave the session in a condition that is better than the one they came in with.
“My favourite is – not that I want people to come with a crappy mood – if people are feeling low and they come to class, and then afterwards they feel like they can take on the world,” she said. “I just love when people come and they feel so energized, empowered, motivated and feel good about themselves when they leave.”
She said that she’s planning on organizing an instructor course in Inuvik and in other regions throughout the NWT so that the program will be an ongoing activity in each community.
“Not every kid loves playing sports, so this is just another way of getting people – kids and adults – to physically move that’s not necessarily a competitive thing, because you’re just doing your own style,” she said.