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For many of the youth in the Salt Lake community, dance lessons are not a regular part of their day or week. Few public schools provide lessons for students during the school day and life outside of school often doesn't accommodate all that comes with taking dance lessons. The Tanner Dance Arts and Education program serves dozens of schools in the community by giving over 4,500 students a week this opportunity in scholarship classes. "When dance can be part of their regular school day, it really enhances their learning and gives them an experience that they might not have otherwise," says Woodrow Wilson Elementary Teacher, Maggie Hortin.
"The dance classes," Director, Mary Ann Lee, says, "are designed to use dance and movement for our kinesthetic learners." This fulfillment of the fine arts core helps the students learn about and relate to other subjects taught during the day. Some dances, for example, are made up to show the students how the planets rotate while orbiting the sun. Similarly, dances with different time signatures are taught so the students learn to count and divide in half.
Maggie observed, "There are some students in my class who are wiggly. When they have the chance to go to dance I've noticed its easier for them to focus later on in the day, and they are better able to internalize what they're learning in dance about math or science or things we've been reading."