- Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board (HPEDSB) - http://www.hpedsb.on.ca -

5,000+ students celebrated dance!

Celebration of Dance has become a spring tradition with students in Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board and this year was no different. Today more than 5,000 children from 50 schools and two school boards converged on the Belleville Fairgrounds for the 19th Celebration of Dance. Students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 and two high schools moved and grooved to 11 traditional and upbeat dances.

Celebration of Dance is a fun way for children to get active. Not only does the event build healthy bodies, but it supports both the physical education, and drama and dance curriculum.

“The enthusiasm for Celebration of Dance increases each year," smiled Ian Boyd, Curriculum Coordinator and the event organizer. "It continues to be a fun way to promote a healthy, active lifestyle through daily physical activity. The fact that health and learning are interconnected, combined with an increasing focus on health, especially physical activity, is very important to enhance the conditions for learning,” he added, and said it is another way to reinforce the link between physical activity and character development.

Students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 moved to the varied music styles of 12 songs that ranged through a broad spectrum of genres: from traditional folk dances to modern upbeat selections. In some schools the dances are rehearsed as part of the school day and/or during extra-curricular times at lunch, breaks, or after school. The songs selected were in keeping with the established attributes of ‘Growing with Character.’ Over the years, the dances have been created by staff and students, with different ones introduced since the inception of this grand event in 1991.

Celebration of Dance is a tradition during Education Week and serves to remind us of the value of a fun and safe way to positively promote an activity that can promote a lifestyle that is healthy and active. Practicing and performing the dances also falls in line with the Ministry of Education mandate of Daily Physical Activity (DPA). It links well with the curriculum and may readily be supported by the strands within Physical Education as well as the curriculum and reporting for Dance and Drama. Throughout the process of preparing and performing, there is such a great opportunity to positively portray the eight district character attributes: caring, cooperation, honesty, humour, integrity, respect, responsibility and trustworthiness.

The tone was set for the day as the event began with the song We’re All in This Together! The final dance, O Siem, an Aboriginal selection by Canadian recording artist Susan Aglukark contains lyrics which appropriately state ‘we are all family’ and in support of the spirit of inclusion, ‘all people rich and poor.’ The song also fosters togetherness through the lyrics ‘Take the hand of one close by, Siem O siyeya, of those who know because they try.’

“It’s pretty awesome to watch a sea of 5,000-plus children dancing in unison,” remarked Boyd.

This event has been recognized by OPHEA (Ontario Physical & Health Education Association) as a fun way to promote physical activity. This year’s event included students from three schools from Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, Quinte Mohawk School and Sagonaska Demonstration School.

29 April 2009, Belleville, Ontario

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For more information, contact:
• Kerry Donnell, Communications Officer, (613) 966-1170 or 1 800 267-4350, extension 2354