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...
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,...
Thoughts About Teaching Beginning, Middle, and Ending In Dance

Thoughts About Teaching Beginning, Middle, and Ending In Dance

Reposted from an earlier date.  Blog by Brenda Pugh McCutchen September 10, 2015 This is written in honor of National Arts Education Week starting September 13, 2015. Today as I wrote teaching materials for dance composition several points of clarity emerged.  I thought they were worth sharing.   Today’s writing topic was beginning-middle-ending (B-M-E), which I have always thought of as the primary “structure” for dance choreography of any length. While that is true to an extent, I also realized that B-M-E is more than a structure. I now believe it is actually the “developmental framework for all dances” and not a structure at all.   What brought me to that conclusion was the search to find the exact words to set B-M-E apart from the dance structures posters which I had just written for dance forms such as AB, Rondo, narrative, theme and variation that will be published in a Choreographic Structures teaching kit for middle and high school.  The unintended consequences of writing instructional materials –which includes teaching posters for teachers to use in the classroom–is that what you think you’re going to say on a poster can back you into a corner. What you thought was right can show you unequivocally that it is wrong. To create coherent posters, which must explain each vital aspect of dance and how it differs from other aspects, has been the most instructive thing I have ever done.  (Incidentally, that is how “choreographic processes” and “choreographic devices” distinguished themselves in 2011 while I wrote Creating Dance: Processes for Choreographing. Initially, I thought all of them were choreographic processes because that’s...
Dance Teacher Gift Certificates

Dance Teacher Gift Certificates

=ANNOUNCEMENT= Good news when shopping for a dance teacher! from Dance Curriculum Designs Inspired Teaching Tools   Did you know that Dance Curriculum Designs offers gift certificates at www.dancecurriculumdesigns.com.   Is your group pooling resources to buy your teacher a gift? Is someone in your family wanting dance education resources? Is your son or daughter studying dance education in grad school or college? Is your spouse a K-12 dance specialist who keeps a “wish list?” Has your beloved dance teacher’s budget shrunk? Does your significant-other own a dance studio?   You can make gift-giving simple with a DCD Gift Certificates that allow them to select their own wished-for resources.   Pool your money for a DCD Gift Certificate that enables your special teacher to take items off of the “wish list” and right into the studio classroom?   Brenda Pugh McCutchen, author of Teaching Dance as Art in Education, creates unsurpassed inspired teaching tools.  They dynamically flow from core concepts in this textbook which was published by Human Kinetics in 2006.  The inspired teaching tools emphasize anchor concepts in each of dance’s artistic processes to support a standards-aligned curriculum—whether creating, performing, responding, or connecting. The tools help teachers consistently articulate what is most important to know about dance.   Simply go to the www.dancecurriculumdesigns.com, click on “Store” and then “Gift Certificates.”  You will receive the certificate that is coded for you to present your special dance educator.   Gift Certificates are available year round to mark any special occasion! Two denominations available.:  DCD $50 and DCD $100...

Dance Curriculum Videos

Here are several short videos of the entrance to the exhibit hall at National Dance Education Organization’s (NDEO) annual conference in Washington, DC (USA). The conference was conveniently located near the Reagan International Airport in Arlington, VA at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.  Dance Curriculum Designs, Rutgers University, and Routledge Publishing were among the first exhibitors once conferees entered the Exhibit Hall.   Rutgers University:   The first video shows an interview with some of the graduate students in dance education at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Jersey and one of their professors.  They and I had several interesting conversations based on their graduate studies textbook which is Teaching Dance as Art in Education (my textbook).  They impressed me by quoting from different chapters in the textbook as well as their obvious philosophical alignment with the holistic 6DC educational dancemodel as the alternative to a performance-driven presentational dance model.   Routledge Publishing:   The second video is a look at the amazing journals produced by Routledge (part of Taylor and Francis Publishing Company).  We talked with Jen Paul, Routledge’s representative.   Dance Curriculum Designs:   The last two videos are of the Dance Curriculum Designs vendor table at NDEO conference ending with a short interview with Cheryl Stevens.  Cheryl is vital to the success of our vendor table.  She is especially helpful in her keen ability to assist customers, answer questions, and talk to dance educators in K-12 and higher education about what our educational resources are designed to accomplish in their classrooms.   It was a genuine pleasure to meet and greet our colleagues in all reaches of dance education who gathered to move the field of dance education...