At Friends Academy, we understand the pivotal balance between the physical and cognitive and the importance of exploration and experimentation. In Yoaldri Messina’s Upper School Dance class, students explore varying techniques that provide them with a comprehensive foundation for later endeavors in performing arts.
Within her classes, Ms. Messina explores storytelling with her students through both movement and music. “I like to work with instrumental music because it allows students to create their own stories and make connections through the music.”
Movement also plays a critical role in cognitive development and function and when it is incorporated within a school setting, it can help to improve alertness, attention, and motivation, while helping to build new brain cells to help students store information. “In the cognitive area, dance helps to improve neuron connections,” explained Ms. Messina. “It can help to develop different areas of the brain and offers a variety of mental health benefits, including increased memory, perception, language, attention, emotion, and decision-making,” she added.
For Ms. Messina, the key to successful teaching is using the framework that a Quaker school can offer. “During the class, I provide an environment where individuals can develop a sense of community and integrity with other dancers, while equally fostering the development of leadership abilities for all.”