Whilst many activities programmes have opportunities for children and young people to engage in dance and drama, James Moore, host of The Drive Phase, decided to look closely at how organisations who specialise in these areas have worked and thrived.
On The Drive Phase, we featured guests from Ydance, a Scottish programme for classes, advocacy and outreach alongside the internationally franchised Performing Arts Programme Stagecoach, which offers dance, drama and music classes to students from young children to young adults.
So, how do the arts fit into the activities sector?
Representing the sector in school PE
Ydance is a unique organisation encouraging both traditional dance in Scotland and creative expression through dance. Anna Kenrick, Artistic Director and a seasoned performer and choreographer spoke to James Moore on The Drive Phase podcast about the unique pressures of getting dance onto the school curriculum.
“In England, there has been a real push to retain teachers with a specific dance background, but in Scotland, it’s the PE teacher. They may have some relevant recent skills from their teen years, but for the most part, they’re PE teachers with that specific skill set.”
Getting recognition for dance is only half the issue when schools are up against their own budgets and skills shortages for finding professionals in the field. This is where organisations like Ydance advocate dance as a form of activity and self-expression, offering classes and direction.
Creating broad opportunities for performers in the sector
Stagecoach is an international franchise with six countries under its expansive belt. On The Drive Phase, we were joined by the Global Marketing Director, Jo Scapello and the Principal of a Stagecoach franchise, Tilly James, where they discussed how physical activity through performance was essential for teaching children and young people courage. Jo Scapello added:
“You can teach and teach and teach, but the only way that students consolidate everything they’ve learned is by performing. We raise expectations about how they stand and perform on stage because there’s a difference between knowing your lines in a safe environment and performing your lines on stage.”
Tilly James, a former performer herself, is a Principal of her own franchise dealing with the day-to-day challenges of running a business. She manages the franchise whilst translating her passion for performance to her students. Networking with local schools and keeping in touch with both former and current students and customers is a full-time job.
“Running a business is almost like looking after your baby. You want to make sure your customers are happy, and your students are engaging. I think a massive thing for me is customer service. When you work in a front-of-house-facing role, you can’t plan too much of your day because there are always different daily challenges.”