Shen Wei Dance Arts in New York City’s Public Schools

Shen Wei Dance Arts partners with NYC public schools to provide arts-in-education programming to at-risk New York City public school students. Our programs seek to open students' thought processes to a lifetime of learning and to encourage creativity, foster self-confidence, build body awareness, learn team skills, and develop respect for individual expression.

At PS5 in Inwood our CONNECT TRANSFER Program serves a 150 third-graders annually. Our PS5 curriculum explores the idea of metaphor in color, words and movement; students create paintings and use their paintings to explore physical expression. Ultimately, students form both solo and group dances in relation to their art while learning about shape, rhythm, and spatial constructs.

At IS311 in East Brooklyn, Shen Wei Dance Arts works with English Language Arts classes. IS311 has a number of special needs and ESL students, and a number who live in foster homes. These students struggle to express themselves both verbally and in writing; our program is designed to help students develop self-expression. Students write a personal text and explore the rhythm & emotional content of their writing through movement. The program demystifies the creative process and frees students to verbalize. In this process SWDA teaching artists encourage self-expression and the understanding of syntax and language structure through the development of movement, using students' own writings. Students keep journals of their workshop experiences to promote writing skills and reinforce the connections they learn.

SWDA's program observes the goals of sequential arts instruction and addresses NYC BOE standards for visual arts and music, tying dance to other arts and to core curriculum subjects. Students learn to analyze, create and perform dance. To practice meta-cognitive thinking, they are encouraged to draw connections between dance and writing, visual art, anatomy and geometry.

At both PS5 & IS311 Chinese history is integrated by way of Shen Wei's background. Students also study abstraction and develop the ability to identify meaning and inspiration of specific artworks. As well, students learn dance-specific vocabulary; demonstrate quality, rhythm, tempo, and dynamics through movement; learn to follow music by counting and translate that to dance; harmonize through group movements; observe and recall; and watch professional dancers in performance.

For more information about Shen Wei Dance Arts in the Schools or to arrange a program for your school please contact Diane Rosenblatt 212-962-1113 or