How a Dance Flash Mob Changed Everything

  • 2 Min Read

Canada’s National Ballet School is taking dance education to the next level with their out-of-the-box approach to teaching.

Like so many other wonderful things in life, it all started with a flash mob.

Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) was celebrating their 50th anniversary and decided they wanted—perhaps needed—to do a flash mob to celebrate. Wanting to teach the routine to those involved, they decided to make a video.

The video helped participants learn the routine, but then something unexpected happened. An eighth-grade teacher got a hold of the video and used it as a tool to teach her students how to dance. That’s when NBS realized they could take a completely new approach to teaching dance.

“Dance is a tradition that is passed down from person-to-person—two people sharing space in a room—so how do you leverage technology?” – Kevin MacLeod, Manager, Digital Media and Learning Technologies at NBS.

Once they understood how important video could be for teaching instructors, they realized that it could allow them to reach beyond their usual one-teacher, one-classroom model which helped the Sharing Dance Program evolve.

“It does sometimes seem counter-intuitive to take something that’s so physical and so much about being present and put it into an online medium,” explains Ashleigh Powell, Manager of Sharing Dance at NBS. “But it does really fit with the philosophy of what we’re trying to do.”

The challenge was outlining what makes them unique and valuable, then conveying not just the material they teach, but the way they teach. When they showed their first instructor what they had put together, he jumped up and down—perhaps doing an assemblé—letting NBS know that they had scratched an itch.

Now, NBS has combined documentation along with videos using Brightspace Capture as the de facto resource for educating their teachers. “We know that dance is an amazing learning tool,” says Ashleigh Powell. Now NBS has the full arsenal in their toolbox.

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