It’s true. I wouldn’t lie to you! “How?” You might ask. Through organizations like Dance 4 Peace. That’s right, Dance for peace. When this nonprofit popped up on my google search, I knew I had to share this absolute gem. Two of my passions combined into one?! Who doesn’t love a good twofer? And once I found out it all got started in my hometown of Bogotá, Colombia it suddenly became a threefer and just too good to pass up.
Dance 4 Peace was started by life-long dancer Sara Potler. It’s a community education program that promotes mediation skills, anger management, conflict resolution, emotional and civic engagement through dance. They give youth social and emotional competencies for peace using music, movement, and experiences. With programs in Baltimore, DC, New York, Colombia, Nepal, and Philippines it’s a fast growing movement.
Their lessons are easy to incorporate them into any school day through physical education, music, dance, social studies, art, theater, or global studies. It could even be used as an after school activity. With so many curriculum themes (all found on their website) students are not only motivated to work out, but also develop communication, social and emotional skills that can be applied to their lives in order to promote peace. Empathy, understanding, respect, cooperation, and acceptance are all skills emphasized and developed through Dance 4 Peace. The best part? Dance doesn’t discriminate, so youth of all ages and backgrounds can partake in all the knee-bending and hip-shaking.
A lesson from Dance 4 Peace can be as short as 30 minutes or as long as 2 hours depending on what the educator wants. So, whether it’s a simple ice breaker, a bonding activity, or an entire lesson plan this program is the perfect one-size-fits-all for educators everywhere. Just have everyone grab their most comfortable kicks, open up their minds and hearts, turn up the music, and bend those knees.
In my opinion though, I think the most important thing to take away from all this is that just like Sara Potler, you can use your passions and talents to make a statement and create social change. Yes, you! You can make a difference doing what you love. So get creative, take a risk, and make your ideal twofer a reality. My motto for any such twofer: you had me at two.