The Sticky Dance, a reflection by Rachna Joshi

Welcome to The Sticky Dance a space where the rules are blurred between play, performance and freedom. A space that accepts you and your child - whoever you are, in that moment of time. 

The Froebelian principles underpin early childhood education and practice across the world. These fundamental principles centre children, child development and connections, and are reflected in The Sticky Dance: through the Sticky Tape - symbolising the boundaries that are created and destroyed; through play - offering moments of imagination; and through the relationships children create in the space or relationships that transcend conventions. The Sticky Dance welcomes the unique child, a concept central to educators' understanding of children. 

I was struck by the high energy of the space, and how utterly absorbed the children were with the dance, music and movement. Captivated by each other, and the dancers, they wanted to express themselves in any way they pleased. There was something so freeing watching this from a child's perspective, reminding us that we, as adults, can also be free.  

The Sticky Dance throws the expectations of performance and contemporary dance out the window along with the social expectations of Start, Finish and Participation. In this space, come as you are. You can be you, you can join in, or not. The staggered start times mean you can stay for as long as you want or come and go as you please, depending on what your child needs.  

You can centre the needs of the child, breaking away from passive performance conventions of Start and Finish. With these relaxed rules, you’ll find that you and your child will adapt to the energy in the room, and to how the music and the dancer's invitations to explore movement and boundaries, change.  

The sticky tape that is used throughout the dance in a multitude of ways represents the boundaries that are created, and destroyed, within the whole dance. What might seem like chaos, ebbs and flows, just as the dancers do. The sticky tape offers the adults a role in the performance, inviting you to participate without inhibition!  

Second Hand Dance has designed an open-ended performance that is different each time you participate, with depth and nuance in the themes of children’s autonomy, rules and expectations around performance and play. They have carefully considered the needs of neuro-divergent and disabled spaces to ensure a wholly inclusive space for performance and dance. 

I urge parents, carers and educators to embrace The Sticky Dance space. Throw caution to the wind and see the world through your child’s eyes. You are the harbour for your child to explore the space. Trust the dancers to offer a holistic sensory performance to expand you and your child’s thinking of what dance and performance is. 


Rachna is an early childhood teacher and consultant. She works with children aged birth to five and supports educators in reflecting on their practice.  


Listen to Rachna's writing here