The "Aha" Series: Can Learning the Virginia Reel be Fun? in Movement Class

This week, we asked Colleen Quinn, our Lower and Upper Elementary movement instructor, to share a favorite story that illustrates that moment of joyful discovery when an idea really clicks for a student and the “aha!” epiphany brings new life to learning.

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Colleen’s Virginia Reel Story

“Aha! Dancing CAN be fun!”

The Upper Elementary students come bounding into the barn for movement class. They are smiling, laughing, and full of energy. I say, “Today we are going to learn the ‘Virginia Reel.’ Their response is less than enthusiastic. Some are excited but many lose their smiles; they stop laughing, they are not jumping up to participate. Still, I persevere. We do-si-do, link elbows, cast off, reel the set. It is a surprisingly intricate dance, challenging for the mind and body.

After 45 minutes of full-out dancing the class is dismissed. One of the students who was most reluctant to participate comes to me, smiling, laughing, very excited and says, “I didn’t think I was going to like that, but actually it was a lot of fun!”

I always thought dancing was fun. I AM the dance teacher, after all. But it is endlessly satisfying when the students come to the realization that aha!—dancing can be fun!

[This post originally appeared in Rhythm & News, the Inly School newsletter, on May 1, 2009.]

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