Every time I hear Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield”, I think back to my seven-year-old self performing a routine at my dance school’s annual recital. The memory is especially pertinent because I was selected as a leader for the rest of my classmates. I recall the tenacity with which I carried myself on stage and the how confident I felt as I turned around to see my fellow dancers anticipating my next movement. It was in that moment, and others like it, that I discovered my particular knack and zeal for dance, and the special role it would have in my life.
Dance is a powerful tool for creativity and self-expression. Martha Graham famously proclaimed that, “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” Through dance, I became bilingual, so to speak, and found my voice, something I hope to grant to girls in STEM from Dance. My experiences with dance have shown me that when utilized effectively, it can be a powerful instrument for developing positive self-concepts, strengthening communication and leadership skills, encouraging collaborative learning, and fostering creativity, self-expression, self-acceptance, and self-efficacy. Participants in STEM From Dance will experience these revelations, as well as gain the technical dance skills to joyfully and comfortably use it as an expression of emotions. Their progress in dance and maturity will be significant and noticeable. Ultimately, a teenager’s self-efficacy is strongly correlated to her success in education, and we believe that this mindset and skill set are crucial for success in STEM fields. Thus, the unique approach of STEM From Dance, which combines a dance and STEM education, sets the program up to significantly impact a young girl’s life, and ultimately, contribute to the next generation of minority female leaders.