STEM and Dance Helps Teen Girls Get Into Coding
danceLogic is an unique S.T.E.A.M. program that combines dance and computer coding leading to development of original choreography and performance. Girls ages 13 through 18 years old learn the value of focus, dedication, and teamwork, as well as industry standard coding language.
The program is run by the West Park Cultural Center a Philadelphia non-profit. It's led under the instruction of Shanel Edwards (of D2D The Company), Annie Fortenberry, (of Ballet 180) and Franklyn Athias, Senior Vice President Network and Communications Engineering at Comcast, is an innovative program designed to educate, inspire and cultivate girls of color, to explore the S.T.E.A.M. field: science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics in a creative and exciting way.
Annie Fortenberry adds "My favorite thing about the program is that the students can explore leadership roles. By building their own choreography and supporting each other in coding class, they navigate creating and sharing those creations, as well as resolving conflict to make one cohesive dance. There's a lot of beauty and bravery in that process."
During the dance class the girls learn dance skills and movement techniques. This is followed by an hour of learning industry standard coding language. Dance and coding have similar languages involving repetition, direction, and combinations. The program uses dance to spark an interest in STEAM, now and in the future.
Shanel Edwards, co-instructor of danceLogic, says "danceLogic is helping these girls have access to the arts realm and science world as possible career paths, it is allowing them to stretch their own boundaries of what success looks like for them."
When the girls progress to creating their own choreography, they use coding as a reference. "The combinations of dance and logic have good synergies. Learning something like dance requires practice, just like coding", explains Franklyn. "The dance is more physical, but it requires the students to try, fail, and try again. Before long, the muscle memory kicks in and the student forgets how hard it was before. Coding is really the same thing. Learning the syntax of coding is not a natural thing. Repetition is what makes you become good at it. After learning the first programming language, the students can learn other programming languages because it becomes much easier."
"I'm helping the kids see that someone, just like them, was able to use Science and Technology to find a very successful career."Dance and coding have similar languages involving repetition, direction, and combinations. The program uses dance to spark an interest in STEAM, now and in the future." explains Franklyn Athias.