While it has only been about six months since I shared a story about the Philadelphia based project DanceLogic which teaches girls to code through choreography, I saw another piece recently on the Dance Magazine site and wanted to call attention again because it is such a great connector of art and STEM. There have been so many efforts to create a bridge between art and science that feel crammed together, but the way this program is structured makes the melding feel near effortless. (Though I don’t doubt there was as much perspiration as inspiration involved with the developing a successful process even before they started dancing.)
I would encourage reading my previous post based on a Chalkbeat article because it discusses mentorship and leadership outcomes from the program. Dance Magazine has a bit more detail about the structure and process of the program.
During one of our recent classes, the girls were assigned to create a dance based off their knowledge and progress of the coding techniques. The coding suggestions were written on the board, and then we assembled the codes into actual choreography.
An example would be “move forward, toggle switch,” and the choreography entailed this demonstration. The girls had the opportunity to perform their creative code dance number for their parents during our midterm presentation.
I especially appreciated how they quoted DanceLogic co-founder Franklyn Athias about learning through failure and how developing muscle memory was important to both dancing and coding.
“Before long, the muscle memory kicks in and the student forgets how hard it was before. Coding is the same thing. Learning the syntax of coding is not a natural thing. Repetition is what makes you good at it. After learning the first programming language, the students can learn other programming languages because it becomes much easier.”