Angela Perry, Prep School Cultural Studies Teacher
Angela Perry is Cultural Studies Teacher at Christ Church Grammar School’s LW Parry Preparatory School.
DipPerfArts(WAAPA) BA(Dance)(ECU) DipRE(Catholic Institute) GradDipArts(RE) GradDipEd(Dance/Drama)(ECU)
Prior to joining the School midway through 2006, Angela spent five years working at universities introducing dance and creative arts programmes to students studying to be teachers. This followed 10 years as dance co-ordinator at Perth College, where she also taught drama and religious education.
After training at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Angela spent 10 years performing and choreographing before moving into teaching. During this time, Angela did a lot of work with Moving Images, a performance-based group that toured schools and churches. She said a highlight was dancing in front of the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Entertainment Centre in 1988, with the event telecast on national television. “That is definitely an event I won’t forget,” Angela said.
During this period, Angela also worked with Chrissie Parrott, taught dance at specialist dance schools for the Education Department, and did a lot of choreography for opera and musical theatre companies.
As Cultural Studies Teacher at Christ Church, Angela uses the dramatic arts, including dance, drama and story telling, to teach the Prep School boys about cultures and world festivals.
“It’s very practical and hands on,” Angela explained. “It’s really nice to be able to bring dance and drama into normal everyday life, and use the creative arts to highlight cultures present within the School and across the world. It’s great that we have children here from different backgrounds and it’s important that we bring their different experiences into the classroom. It’s important for the boys to be aware that within Perth there are a number of different festivals and cultural events that do exist.”
Angela said she aimed to educate the boys so they gained understanding and tolerance. “A lot of these boys will travel the world when they are older and it’s important they have a good understanding of global issues.”
When Angela first came to Christ Church, she had just started a Masters of Education. “I did a whole lot of research on boys’ education, specifically dance education and how to get boys motivated – what they like and how they learn,” Angela explained.
“I had previously mostly taught girls so I thought I should get an idea of how boys work and think. Boys are physically built differently so it’s important to use different stretches and warm-up exercises. Physically, boys can do anything. They have an energy I’ve never experienced before. And how you present instructions is very different between boys and girls. Boys just want to ‘get in and do’. They don’t want to sit and listen for too long.”
Angela graduated with her Masters last month. It was the culmination of a lot of research and hands-on work, which she said the School had been extremely helpful with. “I’ve done a lot of statistical research at school and around dance companies and training centres. It’s been a very worthwhile study.”
Angela said she loved teaching dance to boys. “There’s this myth that boys don’t dance. But it’s not true. They love to dance. They love to move their bodies and love to be creative.” The popularity of Angela’s after-school iMove Physical Theatre Club is testament to this. Numbers have tripled since she started the club in 2007.
At the iMove Physical Theatre Club, male tutors help with some of the programmes such as stage combat, martial arts, theatre sports and dance. “The boys see male tutors involved in physical activity that’s healthy,” Angela said. “It’s great for them to see these role models – fit males using their bodies in a physical capacity but different from sport.”