Rebekah has been teaching drama, dance and performing arts across Auckland schools for the past six years, most recently at Diocesan School for Girls. Prior to that she spent several years in Wellington, running performing arts programmes at Hutt Intermediate and Tawa Intermediate, and managing and teaching drama and singing at Spotlight Performing Arts.
She has now come full circle, returning to her hometown of Papakura to inspire local teens with ACG Strathallan’s dynamic and innovative new dance and drama programme.
What values are most important to you in a school?
Respect, participation, a positive mindset, and a can-do attitude. I love seeing students push themselves outside of their comfort zone.
What was it that attracted you to ACG Strathallan?
Having been born and raised in Papakura, the idea of working in my hometown at a fantastic school was hugely appealing. I was also excited to be part of growing arts in the school and putting my own creative spin on things within the dance and drama programmes.
Can you briefly explain what the dance programme involves?
Introducing dance within the junior programme is a very exciting opportunity, and it will run alongside the junior drama programme. Students will learn about the elements and devices needed to create their own choreographic pieces. They will explore different genres of dance, how to perform a dance for an audience, and how to analyse a dance to understand the story behind the movement. Students will learn how to give and receive feedback in a constructive and safe manner, developing their skill base, confidence, and creativity.
What is it that appeals most to you about teaching dance and drama?
I believe dance and drama are integral facets of human life, and unique mediums for learning about ourselves and the world – dance being a non-verbal form of communication, and drama a verbal and physical form. In dance we express our thoughts and feelings through movement, and in drama we learn to understand the ideas and emotions of others through the analysis of a variety of characters. Both subjects function as cultural expression, art, social interaction, education and entertainment. I believe dance and drama promote personal and social wellbeing by developing self-esteem, self-knowledge, social skills, creativity and confidence through physical and verbal expression.
How do you connect with students who are a little self-conscious to make these subjects engaging and enjoyable?
The dance and drama programmes are designed to be accessible and achievable for every student, no matter what experience levels they may have. The junior programme is based on the development of the following core skills:
- drama techniques
- voice/movement/body and space and the elements of dance
- body awareness/space/time/energy and relationships.
Through breaking down these core skills, students will develop the ability to shape and create drama and dance that is purposeful and inspired by a chosen stimulus. Units of performance work will be group based to allow a sense of teamwork and creative collaboration.
What can we expect to see from you for the rest of the school year?
An awesome junior drama and dance programme that promotes the building of confidence and performance skills. Plus, the incorporation of extracurricular dance and drama opportunities to expand on skills learnt in class, meet new people, and perform and explore creative performing arts.
What do you personally enjoy most about teaching?
The most rewarding aspect is witnessing my students fully expressing themselves in a creative way and developing their self-confidence.
If we could ask your past students to describe you in five words or less, what do you think they would say?
Fun, energetic, kind, nice, and caring.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love to sing, spend time with family and friends, and get out into nature as much as I can.
What advice do you give your students to take into the future?
You get out what you put in, so set goals and conquer them! Have a vision for where you would like to be at the end of this year and make it your mission to get to this place, whatever that might mean for you – whether that’s being kinder to others, putting yourself first, or striving for excellence!