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...
Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts

Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts

On Tuesday, May 2, 2017 the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts were presented in the SC State House by South Carolina governor, The Honorable Henry McMaster. The South Carolina Arts Commission and the governor’s office have presented the awards, the highest honor the state gives in the arts, since 1972.   Among the 2017 Verner Award recipients was Brenda Pugh McCutchen who received the “arts education award” for contributions to South Carolina arts education over her 40+ year career in dance, dance education and arts education. Ms. McCutchen was recognized for her work in arts administration, dance education, curriculum writing in higher education, and for her creative vision which brought forth the foundations textbook for teacher preparation in dance, Teaching Dance as Art in Education, as well as for creating the conceptual-based teacher resources that help to realize a holistic educational dance program in K-12. She was also recognized for her ongoing presence with the “Arts in Basic Curriculum” Project (ABC) since its inception, having served on the initial planning committee (1987), the ABC Leadership Team (1989-93), and as an ongoing member of the ABC Steering Committee from 1988 until today.   The Verner award comes with a bronze cast statue handcrafted by noted South Carolina artist Jean McWhorter (1932-2011). McCutchen received the engraved statue for Arts Education from Governor McMaster and the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the SC Arts Commission.   Following the State House presentation was a formal luncheon to honor the Verner award recipients.  Each awardee was recognized for significant contributions in a specific area of the arts. Proceeds from...
Student Thank You Letter

Student Thank You Letter

Dance Curriculum Designs appreciates elementary school dance specialist, Kellianne Floyd, in Spartanburg 2 Schools (SC) who sent this image she made of a “thank you” note that one of her 2nd graders wrote to Donors Choose.   Donors Choose was started by a history teacher. In 2000, Charles Best, a teacher at a Bronx public high school, wanted his students to read Little House on the Prairie. As he was making photocopies of the one book he could procure, Charles thought about all the money he and his colleagues were spending on books, art supplies, and other materials. He figured there were people out there who’d want to help — if they could see where their money was going. Charles sketched out a website where teachers could post classroom project requests, and donors could choose the ones they wanted to support. His colleagues posted the first 11 requests. Then it spread. Today, they are open to every public school in America.   The note that Kellianne’s second grade student wrote was to thank them for providing IPads for their dance classroom.  You will see the small drawing of the iPad in the upper part of the drawing.  Unprompted, this child drew an image of the “Dance Elements Daisy” which made a strong impression on her as a learning tool to instill the dance elements.  Notice the recall and the visual impact the daisy had on her learning.  And the drawing is even in scale.  That must be a pretty savvy second grader and second-grade class.  This is the first year they have had dance in the school’s curriculum.  Good work by instilling the dance...
S.C. ARTS COMMISSION ANNOUNCES 2017 ELIZABETH O’NEILL VERNER AWARDS RECIPIENTS

S.C. ARTS COMMISSION ANNOUNCES 2017 ELIZABETH O’NEILL VERNER AWARDS RECIPIENTS

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission announces the 2017 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts, the highest honor the state presents in the arts. Established in 1972, the annual awards recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina.   This year’s recipients:   Lifetime Achievement: Laura Spong, Columbia Leo Twiggs, Orangeburg Artist: Quentin Baxter, Charleston Individual: Betsy Teter, Spartanburg Arts in Education: Brenda P. McCutchen, Columbia Business/Foundation: The Stringer & Rainey Foundations, Anderson Government: The City of Beaufort/USC Beaufort Center for the Arts, South Carolina Organization: South Carolina Humanities, Columbia   “Each of these Verner Award recipients has contributed greatly to the arts community as an outstanding ambassador for our state,” said S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz. “Their dedication to the arts benefits South   Carolinians and materially enhances our state’s economic vitality. As the Arts Commission marks its 50th anniversary, we are honored to recognize these organizations and individuals who embody the service, commitment and passion that helped build our state’s half century of leadership in the arts.”   Awards will be presented May 2 in Columbia (location and time to be announced), and the S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients at a luncheon at noon. A fundraiser supporting the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission, the luncheon includes an art sale and takes place at the USC Alumni Center, 900 Senate St., Columbia. Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased online at www.SouthCarolinaArts.com.   The 2017 Verner Awards are sponsored by Colonial Life. For more about the Verner Awards or the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon,...