Across a crowded room;Cross-phase;Reviews;Books;Music and the Arts

12th February 1999 at 00:00
DANCE MATTERS 11-14. By Barry Gibson. Heinemann. pound;64.95. IMAGINARY DANCES. By Rosa Shreeves. Ward Lock Education. pound;12.95.

Designed with PE, performing arts teachers and dance specialists in mind, Dance Matters provides comprehensive coverage in an impressively accessible ring-file format.

Barry Gibson begins by laying out a rationale for dance education and offering hints to the non-specialist about how dance can be organised and taught.

This introductory section, as full of good sense as the rest of the file, covers such practical questions as what pupils should wear, types of notation, homework and the use of video.

Diagrams are plentiful and help to clarify the text. The need to locate dance in the rest of the curriculum is not forgotten.

This introduction is followed by the core of the file - nine imaginative and carefully structured projects, each divided into manageable units. While Barry Gibson sensibly recommends a flexible approach to these projects, there is certainly enough material here for a complete key stage 3 scheme of work for dance.

As if this were not enough, the author concludes by throwing in some handy games and improvisation ideas before taking us on a canter through world dance styles - accompaniment for which can be found on the CD.

The latter contains more than two hours of music and features tracks as diverse as "Techno Barrier", "The Lost Fiddler of Mull", "Khosid Wedding Dances" and a Brandenburg Concerto, giving an indication of the range of ideas on offer.

All the material in Dance Matters is designed to be photocopied and the whole package is very good value.

Aimed at primary schools, Imaginary Dances is essentially a collection of ideas for dance in the form of nine topics. Themes such as "dreams", "feelings", "animals" are familiar enough and there is much here which will help the busy class teacher concerned that dance is not getting much of look-in.

David Hornbrook

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