Minds in motion israel
BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS THROUGH THE UNIQUE POWER OF DANCE
Minds In Motion Israel is a fully inclusive program open to all students, regardless of ability, with a dance curriculum that focuses on self-confidence, creative expression, and self-efficacy. It improves interpersonal skills by building on values of teamwork, interdependence, and empathy; and builds relationships across multiple levels: student to student, school to school, and community to community.
Minds In Motion Israel is distinct from Richmond Ballet’s other MIM residencies, because it not only provides dance education during the school day, but utilizes movement as a platform to create opportunity for cross-cultural encounter at a young age.
In Israel, the education system is divided into separate school streams: Jewish students learn in Hebrew, while Arab students learn in Arabic. Even though the children often live within close proximity, they rarely meet each other. This lack of interaction fosters stereotypes and prejudices, which further entrench the growing cultural divide. Minds In Motion Israel fills the need for positive connection by using the shared language of movement as a platform for students to meet, learn, and create together. By partnering Jewish and Arab schools from neighboring communities in a shared residency, Minds In Motion Israel is able to cultivate relations not only between Jewish and Arab students, but also between their teachers, schools, and broader communities.
Since its inception, Minds In Motion Israel has doubled its reach and expanded its participating partnered schools. Each pair of partnered schools provides a two-week residency, with 45 minutes of professional dance training daily, during school hours. After one week of separate classes, students use their new skills to meet and engage with the students from the partnered school. Following combined rehearsals, students perform in shared final performances in both communities. Minds In Motion Israel also provides additional programming such as English learning workshops through movement, cross-cultural encounter preparation workshops, and facilitated activities and icebreakers connected to subjects focused on shared community and environment.
Dance as a peace-building tool
Minds In Motion Israel often connects with students more than other encounter programs. We believe this is because dance and movement are an innate means of communication and expression – a shared language, and passion, that can easily bridge divisions. Dance is also an embodied experience. By actively engaging both their brains and bodies, participants experience deeper learning, with greater lasting impact. Research conducted on our program has statistically proven that our curriculum is especially effective in developing interpersonal relationships. It also improves the self-confidence and self-efficacy of participants, which, in turn, fosters better facilitation with intergroup relations.
Reflections from a residency
“To witness and be a part of the final performance was truly a gift. There were three performances in all, one in each the individual schools, and then a larger community performance in a high school. By the end, the students were so comfortable with each other, the dancing, and performing that they didn’t want the experience to end or to say goodbye. These students worked very hard to achieve a goal and present a gift to each other and the audience. This shared experience between communities is very powerful and demonstrates the power that dance has to bring people together.”
– Katherine Smothers, Associate School Director, Community Engagement
Generous support for Minds In Motion Israel provided by:
United Jewish Federation of Tidewater
With additional support from:
Jewish Federation of Richmond
Rabbi Gary Creditor
May and Charlie Fox
Mr. and Mrs. Marshall N. Morton
Mr. Bruce D. Perretz
Annie and Art Sandler
Your support allows us to provide a valuable opportunity for students. Please consider making an online donation to support our community engagement initiatives.