By Adam Stokes, Queen Mary Community Elementary Vice Principal
At Queen Mary Community Elementary, this year's Asian Heritage Month means getting a move on! As part of our recognition of Asian Heritage Month, we felt dance would provide a memorable experience for students and help meaningfully integrate cultural learning and the curriculum.
This year, every student at Queen Mary participated in Bollywood dance lessons virtually with professional instructors. Drawing inspiration from a variety of traditional South Asian dances, Bollywood is a modern dance style made famous in popular movies from India. The movements are big and energetic, and the music is fast-paced.
Queen Mary teamed up with Dance'N'Culture from Toronto. This group of professional dance instructors led each class in a virtual session to teach the dance moves. Lessons were rich learning opportunities, as the instructors made a point to explain the cultural context and traditions that inspired the dances.
The sessions were informative and exciting. Students were smiling and sweating by the end of the class, and it was clear they enjoyed this full-body cultural learning. We hope this experience has inspired students to take a greater interest in exploring and learning about different cultures, and in this case, Bollywood movies and dance.