Spearheaded by highly regarded dance teacher Dani Miller, the programme cements the school’s commitment to delivering world-class opportunities for growth both inside and outside the classroom.
“I am so excited to be given the chance to grow performing arts at ACG Tauranga and develop something new for the students and the school,” says Dani, who is teaching dance to both our Years 1 to 10 students, as well as our youngest preschool learners (as part of our early childhood education programme).
“I think it is very important to allow every student the opportunity to shine, whether it be academically, through sports, or the arts. A wide range of students find their place in drama and dance, and we are often surprised by those who really excel in these areas. You can never predict it!
“For students who are trained dancers, dance as a subject requires them to think outside what they’ve been taught and create new, unique movement. It also exposes them to a range of different dance genres and cultural dances.”
Dani brings a wealth of experience to the school, both as a dancer, and a teacher. She has a Bachelor of Dance and a Graduate Diploma in Primary Teaching, and has taught dance, drama and general classroom subjects at Baradene College, Diocesan School for Girls, and Sydney’s Cranbrook Junior School for Boys.
After moving to Tauranga, she taught dance and drama at Papamoa College and Mount Maunganui College and launched her own business - Bay of Plenty Performing Arts - which she ran for six years.
Now back in the classroom full-time, Dani is delighted to be sharing her expertise and love of dance with ACG students, paying particular attention to those who may be shy or unsure of the subject.
“My first priority has been getting to know my students and creating clear expectations within the classroom. Every student learns differently, and I really enjoy trying to work out the best way to help them as an individual. It’s so important to create a safe space for students to experiment with movement without feeling like they’re being judged.”
So far this year the programme has seen each year level focus on a specific dance genre. Hip hop was a highlight for our Year 4 pupils, with their outstanding efforts culminating in a high-energy class performance at the end-of-term assembly. A host of new extra-curricular opportunities are also now on offer, including the chance to perform at external events and compete at DanceNZMade.
Fresh and innovative, dance is giving ACG Tauranga students – and Dani – much to be excited about.
“What I enjoy most about teaching is that lightbulb moment, when a student may have been struggling with a particular movement or task and then it suddenly clicks. I love the joy dance and drama brings to students and I love seeing what they create.”