It was an inspirational idea that led to a life-changing experience and one powerful performance. In a bid to build students confidence and self-esteem, and to build their understanding of inclusivity and diversity, Loganlea State High School (LSHS) Dance teacher Samantha Williams formed a partnership with local hip-hop professional dancers and community services which cater for people with disabilities and other diverse needs. LSHS Lead Mentor Marney Blythe says the Hip Hop Inclusion collaboration, which culminated in a 15-minute performance at the Logan Youth Week celebration, was a success on many levels.
“The course was developed with a strong focus on having a positive learning environment and included activities to safely work to build confidence and self-esteem in the students and members of the Lutheran services,” Marney says. “Students were able to see the physical and mental challenges that members of the Lutheran Services overcame to participate in dance, which inspired them to participate and achieve, as well as building on their social and interpersonal skills,” Marney adds. “Many students overcame personal barriers and were able to reach a performance goal. “It used the power of dance to celebrate inclusion and wellbeing in the community.” The collaboration is just one example of Samantha’s ability to think “outside the box” to meet the needs of her students. “Through her own Creative Industry practices and professional work, she regularly engages the community to create dance projects for the school that are innovative, and industry-based,” Marney says. Samantha has also facilitated dance workshops and parade performances with international troupes from Taiwan. “These projects enabled students to immerse themselves and celebrate an alternative culture at the school,” Marney says . “Samantha goes above and beyond the requirements for her role at LSHS within the Dance department.” Congratulations Samantha on your nomination.