OAKVILLE, ON — Hannah Beach created the I Can Dance series to help support children and youth in exploring feelings, ideas, and experiences through movement, and extracting the dance from within. With 6 inspiring titles, the I Can Dance series promote self-expression and learning through movement by representing themes like colours, feelings, and even food in a dance movement format. The books are designed for children Kindergarten to Grade 6, and are accompanied by a CD with music to help participants dance out the themes in the book.
Hannah was inspired to create this series after growing up with her foster brother, Jason, who had Down syndrome. While Hannah studied dance growing up, Jason was excluded from that practice at the time, and Hannah wanted to remedy this situation. Of the I Can Dance series, Hannah states: “I set about to create a resource that celebrated all bodies and abilities and supported all children in seeing that dance is a way to experience, communicate, and reflect on our world and ideas – not a set of memorized steps for a small select group of people with the ‘right’ body and coordination.”
The series encourages movement and dance across all age groups and stages of life and development. It is perfect for the classroom to help bring all children together, while at the same time encouraging them to express themselves individually in an artistic way while still learning about the themes of the book. Hannah encourages the participants to dance without worrying about what their neighbour or friend is doing. “I have a quote framed on my living room wall that I live by and share with all my students: ‘To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong’”. This is what Hannah strives to achieve for all children with the I Can Dance series — to express themselves wholly, creatively, and individually.
Rubicon is now offering 6 titles of the I Can Dance series: I Can Dance Feelings, I Can Dance Colours, I Can Dance Dinner, I Can Dance the Zoo, I Can Dance Textures, and I Can Dance Outdoors. They are adopted by many school boards across Canada, distributed internationally, and are available in English or French. When asked what her favourite book in the series was, Hannah responded: “My personal favourite is ‘I Can Dance My Feelings’. I think children are often only allowed to express happy or peaceful feelings, and I think allowing us to express the full range of what we feel in a safe and non-threatening way, actually creates more space for our happy feelings”.
To learn more about the I Can Dance series, please click here.