Transformational Teaching in Dance

Transformational Teaching in Dance

Article by  Julianna Gaillard Hane  (MFA, CLMA), January 2015    Our society is now experiencing the affects of information overload. Notifications and blinking lights bombard us 24/7. Anyone with a smart phone can find out just about anything they could ever want to know via the Internet.   If our students can access information anytime, then why even have school? What does a teacher offer that no other system can?   The answer is meaning or purpose (Rosebrough and Leverett, 2011).   Only a teacher can show students how to think for themselves and use information for a greater purpose. Only mentorship can inspire meaning in life.   Mentorship contains a very important ingredient that no form of technology will ever reach – the human element.   The education process is not a dumping of information into an empty vessel, but the nurturing of transformation, as in peeling away the layers of an onion to reach its core. This process is also known as transformational teaching.   What is transformational teaching?   It is a holistic model of teaching where goals for student learning are academic, social, and spiritual in nature. The teacher acts as part scholar, part relater, and part practitioner modeling ways of thinking, feeling, and discerning a life purpose (Rosebrough and Leverett, 2011).   In the dance studio, transformational teaching involves two primary processes: Solving a problem (thinking), and Reflecting on its meaning (feeling).   Take a look at this dance choreography unit on gossip and bullying.   Gossip and bullying stem from the human desire to belong. Each dancer will create a still tableau of...
Manipulative Ways to “Build Your Own Body”

Manipulative Ways to “Build Your Own Body”

  It was my pleasure to interview Anne Harris Wilcox at the Chicago National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) conference in November. This interview followed my discovery of the amazing life-size metal skeleton boards Anne created–and her colorful magnetic muscle attachments that overlay–which captivated everyone who walked by. These manipulatives interested both young and old as individuals gave in to the irresistible urge to pick up a clump of magnetized muscles and place them in just the right location on the skeleton. While some worked on the lateral skeleton panel, others worked on the anterior panel, all the while talking with Anne about whether their placements were anatomically correct. Not only did the resource itself act as a catalyst to engage, it also set up the informative interaction between “student” and teacher which directed and personalized the learning. And, not only is this inquiry-based problem-solving approach “magnetic,” the manipulative magnets also happen to draw people to them as well! Here is the interview which introduces you to this excellent new teacher resource. ~~Brenda Pugh McCutchen, Dance Curriculum Designs LLC   BPMcC: Anne, I notice no one can walk by without manipulating that metal board and the muscle groups. What led you to create such an engaging dance education resource?   AHW: Creativity sparks when a desperate situation presents itself. Several years ago, I was hired as a long-term substitute at a performing arts high school to teach Technique and Anatomy. I was the fourth consecutive substitute for these courses, and the Anatomy class was in especially bad shape. Students had lost all interest, and believed I was just another in...
2016 Dance Study-Abroad in Bali

2016 Dance Study-Abroad in Bali

  NOW BEING PLANNED! =“2016 Dance Study-Abroad in Bali”=   WANTED NOW:     University faculty who want to offer graduate level courses in Balinese dance, arts, and culture in May-June 2016.   Are you faculty at a college or university who dreams of offering a graduate level course in Balinese dance, arts, and culture? If so, contact Brenda Pugh McCutchen to work with you to plan, arrange, and host the on-site aspects of your study. Her insights into Balinese arts create an unforgettably rich immersion course with the kind of detail that is unparalleled. This study-abroad is ideal for graduate study or professional dance training. 15-day intensives are offered and can be planned at all technical levels.   Contact Brenda to solidify the dates that serve your group. McCutchen will arrange a complete 15-day study immersion package on the island which includes everything (lodging, food, classes, performances, admissions, excursions, tours, ground transportation, etc.) for approximately $2888 per participant. As “Group Coordinator” you are in charge of the group: you assemble your own group, assist with their travel to Bali, be the group liaison with Brenda, and be the professor of record for the graduate course to arrange the study.  As “Bali Coordinator” McCutchen plans and arranges all the artistic aspects of the trip, arranges for all teachers and class sessions, handles logistics and details on the island, provides the academic expertise to accompany the planned experiences, arranges special performances and relevant experiences, plans and schedules all travel while on the island, engages world-class artists, and meets you at the Bali airport with roundtrip service.     Only 2 groups can schedule during May-June, the preferred time....
Reflections on the “Bali Study Tour 2014”

Reflections on the “Bali Study Tour 2014”

“Reflections on the “Bali Study Tour 2014” By Brenda Pugh McCutchen Dance Curriculum Designs LLC www.dancecurriculumdesigns.com June 29, 2014   The adventure to Bali has ended…..at least on the ground. But the memories of the adventure are fresh and alive with all who participated in it. It was called “a trip of a lifetime” by some, but that doesn’t begin to express the depth or the complexity of the adventures we embarked on as a group and as individuals.   This video is but an introduction to the group that assembled, bonded, and returned changed in ways cultural and artistic. They reluctantly left behind new Balinese friends, many of whom had shared lessons, performed for them, toured with them, transported them to fabulous warungs, explained mysteries about Bali, and became part of our daily mix of pleasures while in Bali.   In subsequent postings we hope to share some of our experiences and overall impressions of Bali as well as images which are lasting for us and the causes we now celebrate, such as protecting Balinese culture from the onslaught of the kind of tourism that trashes the land and cares less about the culture and its people who make it such a paradise. Our group did not go for surfing and yoga. We went to see underneath the seen to the unseen aspects of Bali that make it such a cultural and spiritual treasure.   In addition to this video, I’ve asked our group to share first hand experiences on our blog pages so that their voices are heard in the aftermath of the study tour, as it...
Musings about Pengosekan, Bali from 1996

Musings about Pengosekan, Bali from 1996

Today I’m introspective about my trip to central Bali in 1996. I’m remembering the day I bade farewell to the wonderfully adventurous group who accompanied me to Tabanan and Ubud. Rather than return to the US with them, I had arranged to stay another week in Bali moving from our group quarters up Jalan Hanuman down to Oka Homestay in Pengosekan village. That is where I would stay to further explore authentic Balinese culture on my own and share living space with the adventurous redheaded Czechoslovakian woman, Dunya. Oka Homestay was one of the most peaceful places on earth–if you discount the ever-present sounds in Bali—the cocks who crow at daylight and sentinel dogs who bark if strangers wander into family courtyards. But otherwise Oka’s compound was serenely sitting at what seemed to be the edge of civilization, overlooking vast green vistas of lush vegetation that overlooked coconut palms, rice terraces, gently sloping away to the sounds of nature, gamelans in the distance, and an occasional hollow sound of the kul-kul reverberating over the community from a long distance away. It felt like paradise. And I knew it was paradise when Oka’s wife, Dewi Gusti, brought breakfasts of fresh fruit and sticky, sweet black rice with a steaming pot of tea every morning.   Down the street I also danced with Dewa Gusti Raka every day ( a different Gusti). Gusti’s mastery of legong was phenomenal and her love of it was contagious. Being a high school teacher by profession, she was also quite patient as a dance teacher, lifting my elbows that drooped as I was focused on...
Balinese Balance and Harmony

Balinese Balance and Harmony

Brenda Pugh McCutchen August 25, 2014   Bali  is magical. For centuries it has conducted itself according to its world view as the naval of the universe, the keeper of peace in the cosmos.  Omnipresent rituals reenact forces of good fighting bitterly with malevolent forces which try to upset balance and peaceful co-existence. The Balinese wisely understand that good can never eradicate evil, yet the effect of positive can neutralize the threats of negative so as to achieve balance and harmony.   To truly visit is to look beyond the lush tropical beauty of rice terrace vistas outlined by coconut palms to find the unforgettable treasures in the people, their stories, and the arts. Both art and story intertwine in daily ceremonies and temple rituals where visitors can glimpse the unseen spirit world that interacts at all levels in the tight-knit communities.   To explore the layered Balinese heritage is well worth the effort as there is no place like it, especially for artistic stimulation and renewal of spirit.   Those who are willing to bypass the luxury resorts will find beautiful Balinese owned and operated hotels around the island that envelope one with invitation into the more authentic community.   Be prepared to notice how life revolves around family and the trust in what is sacred.  Notice the evidence of the spirit world everywhere–in the temple ceremonies, in the mask museum, on the stages, and in the daily presentations of canang to heap blessings on the tiny island and its people. To relish this culture, as well as to honor it, is to investigate the heritage, the stories,...