40 Startling Facts That Will Totally Transform How You Look At Ballet

40 Startling Facts That Will Totally Transform How You Look At Ballet

We are reposting this article to give wide exposure to it.  It is informative and well-written and full of information that would answer the 40 likely questions you might want to know about classical ballet.  So if you have wondered what it is like to perform the magical feats you see on the stage, here is your opportunity.  Enjoy. Brenda Pugh McCutchen, dba Dance Curriculum Designs, Columbia, SC   Ballet is a beloved art form that has been around for centuries and remained a popular part of culture. But there’s much about it that lots of people do not know. Here, then, we reveal some of the most surprising facts about the dance and the ballerinas that regularly perform it.   A lot of work goes into creating a tutu The tutus that ballerinas wear for their performances take a lot of time and energy to make. In fact, they each involve 300 feet of material, take around four days of work to produce and can cost as much as $2,000 to own. And the high prices all adds up because dancers get through up to 150 tutus in their careers.   Ballerinas get through two or three pairs of shoes each week One of the biggest costs in ballet is the shoes. Ballerinas typically go through pointe shoes at a rate of three a week. Sometimes, a pair won’t even last a night for a principal dancer in a production such as Swan Lake. The Ballet Theatre in Pittsburgh once revealed that it spends $100,000 each year on just shoes for its dancers.   No performance is ever the same Dancers...
“Dance Teacher as Artist Institute” Offered in SC Again in Summer 2019

“Dance Teacher as Artist Institute” Offered in SC Again in Summer 2019

“Dance Teacher as Artist Institute” Offered in SC Again in Summer 2019 May 28, 2019 By Brenda Pugh McCutchen   Dance Curriculum Designs is part of the team offering SC dance educators a special dance education “boot camp” this summer. The one-week intensive–2019 Dance Teacher as Artist Institute (DTAA)– provides abundant opportunities for growth, sharing, refreshing, reflecting, and recharging at the end of this school year when it is so needed.  The institute immerses a select group of 15 SC dance educators in significant aspects of dance literacy and dance artistry.     The June 2019 DTAA Institute takes place on the artistically invigorating campus of SC’s Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, located in the heart of Greenville, SC’s arts district and adjacent to the popular West End in downtown Greenville.  GSAH Campus is within easy walking distance of the vibrant downtown and the scenic Reedy River, the Swamp Rabbit Trail, and the Suspension Bridge.   The DTAA Institute is sponsored by the SC State Department of Education.  It is a collaborative project between four state entities:  the SC State Department of Education, the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project (ABC) which is partially funded by the SC Arts Commission, the College of Charleston, and the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities (GSAH).  The Governor’s School hosts the institute by providing lodging and all meals for participants who get a nice holiday from cooking.  3 hours graduate credit is offered through College of Charleston.  This course aligns with the ABC Project’s mission to increase the artistic presence of the dance specialist in the classroom.  To that...
Heartfelt Congratulations on Culminating The 2018-19 School Year!

Heartfelt Congratulations on Culminating The 2018-19 School Year!

“Heartfelt Congratulations on Culminating The 2018-19 School Year!” May 15, 2019 Guest Blog by Tressa Oswalt     Congratulations! Most of you are getting close to the close of another school term – hopefully, a successful one. We at Dance Curriculum Designs (DCD), know the feelings. Happy, but exhausted. Confident, but contemplative. Ready for the end, but already mapping out the next beginning. This is the time you look back on your year, your semester, or your quarter and congratulate yourself on your good teaching, student growth, and curricular goals met…..and contemplate what could be done better.   We, at DCD, feel you. It’s why we are here. Providing the materials and ensuring that dance is taught as ART is our lifeblood and our mission. Our quest is to make this easier and more effective for every dedicated teacher of dance. We believe in our arts education products and know that they make dance teaching easier and more focused, offering more ways to meet required dance standards. We are working to finalize more teaching kits for K-12 and post-secondary,  and are excited about upcoming products to be introduced in 2019. So as you conclude this term and look ahead to the next, look at our proven materials and consider using them to guide you in designing and teaching your dance curriculum. Please feel free to message us through the Contact page on this website or call to ask questions. We are here to serve you and your students as you move forward to the next term.     Tressa Oswalt is the graphic designer at Dance Curriculum Designs.  She is...
Take a Moment to Dance

Take a Moment to Dance

“Take a Moment to Dance”   By: Tressa P. Oswalt April 10, 2019   If you attended the 2017 NDEO Conference, you received, from Dance Curriculum Designs, a gift poster with a photo of a water splash that is frozen in time. We were searching a stock photography site and Brenda Pugh McCutchen found this image and was fascinated by it. There is so much movement in the parts of the splash, with beads and streams going in different directions. In the center of the splash, you can almost see a figure, like a dancer, and can imagine that the drops flying are the result of the movements from this dancer.   For me, the image evoked a strong sense of time. It is a captured, brief moment of beauty and emotion. I captioned the poster “Take a Moment to Dance,” hoping to convey the sense of time as well as the sense of movement.   Our lives are hectic and busy. Sometimes, as educators, we spend our time doing the nuts and bolts of our profession and guiding others in their creativity. We forget or push aside our need to be creative, leaving us wondering why the thing we love is not bringing us joy.   So, here is a reminder. Dance in the wind with the leaves on the trees. Dance to the rhythm of your heels on the sidewalk. Dance in the shower with the water spraying all around. Dance with the broom or the mop or the dust cloth. Dance because you finished your paperwork. Dance with joy. Dance with sorrow. Dance with a friend....
Creative Presence in the Art of Folding

Creative Presence in the Art of Folding

“Creative Presence in the Art of Folding”   Blog by Brenda Pugh McCutchen, M.F.A. Author of Teaching Dance as Art in Education, (Human Kinetics, 2006) and creative force behind DanceCurriculuomDesigns.com July 2, 2018   What I want to share with you is how the simplest of ideas can become profound when put into motion in one’s body-space and time.  All that is needed is an organic idea and the creative nudge to explore it in terms of movement and the self.   This creative idea—simply FOLDING—is an organic invitation to explore the wonders of the body instrument and to let it go where the body-mind finds to take it.  Folding can be explored for hours to deepen the connection to the self.  Folding can be experimented with for years to find the special kinds of artistic expression that are unique to your body.  You don’t have to be able-bodied to do so.  It can be a gentle exploration in place, through different levels in space, changing body parts and directions, changing the speed with which you feel like moving.  It can be a deepening of the self in harmony with the concept of folding which we began in the womb and continue to experience as a part of daily life without being conscious of it.  This is an invitation to bring a simple idea, like folding, to the conscious level in motion.   In addition to a gentle movement exploration, it can become a more extensive exploration in folding while experimenting being supported by different parts of the body, folding parts of one’s external space, traveling through space, involving...
CREATIVE PROMPTS FOR DIFFERENT ART FORMS

CREATIVE PROMPTS FOR DIFFERENT ART FORMS

When I was writing stanzas to abstract for choreography and other creative arts in these two books, I searched for a symbol that would capture the sense of motion and also of transformation.  I found such a symbol coincidentally when an iridescent dragonfly visited me on the terrace while I was writing the stanzas and kept returning insistently saying “Use me as the symbol!  Try ‘dragonfly diamantes’.”  This enchanting encounter turned out to be serendipity.   Afterward, I began to investigate dragonflies to determine if they were a fitting symbol to use for such inspiration, especially for choreographic stanzas that were to be transformed into non-literal movement. What follows is what I learned about this fitting symbol for creativity:  the dragonfly. SYMBOLISM OF THE DRAGONFLY   The dragonfly in most every part of the world symbolizes change –the kind that has its source in mental, emotional maturity and understanding the deeper meaning of life. …  The Dragonfly’s scurrying flight across water represents an act of going beyond what’s on the surface and looking into the deeper implications and aspects of life. Power and Poise The dragonfly’s agile flight and ability to move in all six directions exude a sense of power and poise – something that comes with age and maturity. The dragonfly can move at an amazing 45 miles an hour, hover like a helicopter, fly backwards like a hummingbird, fly straight up and down, and go to either side–all while flapping its wings only 30 times a minute while mosquitoes and houseflies flap their wings 600 and 1000 times a minute, respectively. The dragonfly accomplishes its objectives with utmost simplicity...
An NDEO Moment at the 2017 National Conference

An NDEO Moment at the 2017 National Conference

A NDEO Moment at the 2017 National Conference   By Cyndi Wellborn November 19, 2017 Although Brenda McCutchen was unable to attend the 2017 National Dance Education Organization conference in San Antonio Texas recently, that didn’t stop Dance Curriculum Designs from making an impact on the attendees. Dance Curriculum Designs supplied over 800 color copies of Brenda’s newly designed poster, “Take a Moment to Dance”, as part of attendees’ conference gift bags.  Tina Curran sent a photo of the conference bag and poster.   Kristina Walton (L) and Lisa Herlinger-Thompson (Rt) show off their posters with some serious movements after a fun day at the conference as they “take a moment to dance.”     Blogger: Cyndi Wellborn is the office manager of Dance Curriculum Designs, in Columbia, SC. She is the reason the posters arrived safely and in time to be put into the NDEO conference gift bags. She is also the reason that DCD products arrive in the hands of those who are awaiting their orders.   Brenda Pugh McCutchen Dance Curriculum Designs Columbia, SC ...
Guest Teacher at University of Northern Colorado

Guest Teacher at University of Northern Colorado

“Brenda Pugh McCutchen—Guest Teacher at University of Northern Colorado” August 29, 2016 (keep this date)   Brenda McCutchen spent part of July 2016 in Greeley, Colorado as guest professor of dance education at the University of Northern Colorado. She was invited by Dr. Sandra Minton and Ms. Christy McConnell-Black who co-direct the graduate program which offers a master’s degree in dance education. McCutchen spent time with both cohorts of graduate students to investigate the art and the science of dance pedagogy.   Because the McCutchen textbook–Teaching Dance as Art in Education (TDAE)–is the main text for both cohorts in the degree program, she provided insights on how varied components from the text strategically interact to reinforce each other and how they overlay to accomplish multiple goals at once. The cohorts learned how to combine these different aspects to accomplish more in less time than if addressed separately. Experiential sessions demonstrated methods that also turned pedagogical dance theory into dynamic practice and informed our process.   The advanced students absorbed the 6DC model as a descriptive model of best practice (instead of being a prescriptive model). Thus they were empowered to make their own contribution to dance education in a way that suits their student population, within the parameters of these defining characteristics and the standards guidelines.   Both cohorts examined the 6DC model of educational dance presented in TDAE to determine how all six defining characteristic impact the educational value of dance in a K-12 curriculum. The six defining characteristics then became the basis for a three-dimensional matrix. This pedagogical matrix sets out to overlay the four artistic processes...
Nature-inspired Choreography

Nature-inspired Choreography

Nature-inspired Choreography By Brenda Pugh McCutchen June 25, 2017     Inspiration for dance making comes from many sources.  The natural world provides numerous cues that nudge us into intuitive improvisations and creative dance compositions.  Such inspirations can lead to dance “tone poems” of the sort as Debussy’s and Ravel’s musical inspirations captured in sounds the essence of the subjects they were inspired to portray.  Why not also portray the essence of a natural subject in motion and in dance?   One of the most intimate looks at nature comes from time-lapsed photography.  Until that was available, the human eye could not see the hidden dances of nature at such an elaborate and fathomless level.  This photographic medium allows us to absorb the actual motion that is occurring even though in real time it is unseen and unexpected.  Nature seen through the time-lapse medium is mesmerizing in itself, but when used as the source for choreographic inspiration, it can produce a very personal and mesmerizing work.   We’re talking about going into a mysterious, hidden world. What is more intriguing? For example, natural choreographies of two bean plants as a duet reaching, circling, and attaching to a space where they can spiral upward are beautiful inspirations for dance-making.  How surprising it is to see the amount of motion taking place which eludes us in real time.  The video presents unseen choreographies going on all around us about which we are oblivious.  To notice them through this photographic essay may help us look deeper for mysterious, unnoticed dances in places we did not previously think to look.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTljaIVseTc   Why not let this viewing experience inspire...