Laura Roe graduated from Lincoln in 2014 with a deree in dance.
Laura Roe graduated from Lincoln in 2014 with a degree in dance. Photo: Åsmund Løvdal

Recent Lincoln graduate Laura Roe fears the arts are being lost from our education as the number of young people studying arts for their GCSEs has dropped. To help bring back the arts she has formed a dance company called Basin Echo with some friends and are developing workshops aimed at schoolchildren and college students.

She told The Linc that while traditional academic disciplines such as maths and science are important, too much focus is put on remembering facts and numbers, not on developing young people’s ability to think critically.

“Exams especially are a kind of remembering game,” she said. “I don’t necessarily need to understand what I write, as long as I remember the right facts. If you don’t remember the right facts, you are seen as unintelligent. But is it more intelligent just to remember other people’s ideas if you are not coming up with any yourself?”

As most Britons now have to stay in some form of education until the age of 18, Laura explained she is worried that students are missing out on learning valuable skills not measurable in an exam: “If we don’t learn to think properly for ourselves during our time at school, will we manage to do it when we are thrown out there in the real world?

“Our company specialises in accessing people’s imagination. We want to create work that people watch and not fully understand, but build their own ideas from it.”

One of the group’s current projects is a dance film due to be shot in May, and hopefully schools will be interested in including it in their arts education.

“It’s based around mathematics, as it is a language for everybody. From that we elaborate our dance piece. When we hold workshops in schools we want pupils to watch it, find a connection with it and develop their own work from it. “

Laura said the key aim is to encourage independent thinking among schoolchildren through the workshops.

“We want them to believe in their own ideas and use their imagination to access ideas or toughs they might not have had otherwise.

“Right now we are working with the Fibonacci sequence. From the numbers we will try to be creative and come up with different associations, and then share with the rest of the group.”

As for many things in life, money is an issue for the dance troupe. Basin Echo is currently seeking funding from local councils, grants, and Arts Council England. The group’s members will also have to chip in some of their own cash.

They are all working or studying, but Laura spends most of her spare time on the project.

“Every spare minute, I use on this,” she said. “Even when I am doing something else, I can find myself drifting off. That’s how important it is to me.”