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...
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...
Brenda McCutchen—Guest Teacher at University of Northern Colorado

Brenda McCutchen—Guest Teacher at University of Northern Colorado

“Brenda McCutchen—Guest Teacher at University of Northern Colorado” August 29, 2016 Brenda McCutchen spent part of July in Greeley, Colorado as guest professor 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—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 of dance’s cornerstone disciplines, the four areas of student development in dance, and...
How Do You Teach Modern Dance Techniques?

How Do You Teach Modern Dance Techniques?

Calling technique professors in higher education and dance specialists in grades 8-12!  How do you teach modern dance technique?  Do you teach technique from a somatics perspective?  If so, what are your key phrases and images that get the best results?  Would you share with me helpful hints on ways to get adults and young adults to sharpen some of their main movement skills?   I’d like to synthesize them into a useful resource for teaching somatically-based technique.  No doubt you can recall several effective images or useful phrases you use to get at key movement skills related to such topics as the use of breath, body connectivity, balance, flexibility, articulation, alignment (static or dynamic), weight shift, rotation, initiations, mobility and stability.  If you are willing to share some of them, I will incorporate them into teacher effectiveness resources I am developing.   Also, I’ve recently been thinking about the stellar teachers we have studied with in our modern dance lineage and their gifted way of verbalizing the physicality of dance.  Having just returned from American Dance Festival, I’m reminded of the long heritage of teaching artists and their eloquent comments in class that so many of us recall while studying there (e.g., I can still hear the artistic clarity of Betty Jones, Danny McKayle, and Lynda Davis).  What expressive ways modern dance artists have of eliciting specific artistic intentions with mere words, images, or gestures.   It seems important that we also capture some of these priceless jewels to collect into a resource that not only informs but also inspires the new generations of dancers that come after us. ...