A dance student from north London has taken her fight to get dance more recognised in UK schools all the way to Parliament.
Grace Turner, a dance student at Middlesex University, met with the secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Dance Group, Frank Doran MP, to discuss the lack of provision for dance in schools.
Currently writing her final year dissertation on the subject, her argument centres on the severe underfunding of dance for youngsters. According to figures from Dance UK just 58 pence per school aged child is currently spent on dance activity, compared to £38.21 per child invested in music, and £79.47 per child invested in sport.
She was invited by Frank Doran MP, after initially writing to the MP for her hometown of Newtown, Glyn Davies MP. She is hoping that through her campaigning, more resources will be put into getting children dancing at schools, receiving quality teaching.
Grace, who lives in Whetstone, said: “Dance is the second most popular activity for children in the UK after football and is the most popular among girls. So it doesn’t add up that just 58p spent for each child. Dance offers youngsters so many health and creative benefits – it incorporates many elements of art and fitness.
“Frank Doran agreed with me that more needs to be done to get dancing recognised and taught better in schools. In many cases it’s taught by general PE teachers rather than dance specialists – we need more qualified dance teachers in our schools.
“Dance is all around us like never before. It’s on prime-time TV, and things like street dance have gone crazy in the last year or so. Now is the time for more resources to be put into dance so more people can benefit.”
Grace became involved as a campaigner for dancing in UK schools when she started her degree at Middlesex, realising that there were so many barriers to getting into dance both for youngsters and for qualified dancers looking to get into teaching.
Once she graduates in the summer, Grace is planning to start up her own dance company with another student to bring a higher calibre of contemporary dance to schools.