teaching danceAs we wrap up an intensive, invigorating, and rewarding week in Greenville, SC at the Dance Teacher As Artist (DTAA) Institute, which was funded by the SC State Department of Education in conjunction with Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project, I am in awe of the dedication that our South Carolina dance specialists, certified to teach K-12 dance education, have to their students, their schools, and their communities as well as to their chosen discipline of dance.

Many came to us last weekend having just finished their school years within the last two to three days.  To prepare for the Institute, participants completed preliminary reading and writing for an introduction to the groundbreaking twenty-first century model of educational dance (developed by Brenda Pugh McCutchen, MFA). That model is transforming the way that teachers across the US and abroad approach dance in public schools.

Dance CurriculumUpon arrival, participants jumped in with both feet for an intensive study of the six defining characteristics (6DC) of educational dance, which ensure that the dance curriculum in public schools is comprehensive, substantive, sequential, artistically-driven, contextually coherent, and inquiry-based.  The dance student is not only a dancer and performer (though this continues to be an important cornerstone), but is guided by the dance specialist to become a choreographer (creating and composing dance), a dance historian/anthropologist (knowing dance history, culture, and context), and a dance critic (analyzing and critiquing dance).

dance techniquesStudents learn and embody the vocabularies of dance, leading to literacy and fluency, in a curriculum that is student-centered to holistically educate the whole child. That is done with attention to the cognitive-intellectual, kinesthetic-motor, psychological-social, and aesthetic-artistic development of each child.

student danceDr. Tina Curran and Ms. McCutchen served as professors for the Institute.  Dr. Curran is a Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and co-founder of the Language of Dance ® Center.  Ms. McCutchen is the author of the visionary textbook Teaching Dance as Art in Education (Human Kinetics, 2006) and founder of Dance Curriculum Designs, which, among other teaching supports, publishes Toolkits filled with teaching catalysts for use by dance educators in their classrooms.

Dance CourseEleven participants spent six days on the beautiful campus of the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities to complete Level 1 of the DTAA Institute.  This is the second cohort of students to have completed the course.  Each received three graduate-level credits, granted by College of Charleston, upon successful completion.

Jessica Stroupe Mearns is the Institute Coordinator/Administrative Director and Grant Manager for the Dance Teacher As Artist Institute.  The Institute is composed of a series of four levels/courses offered in subsequent years to cultivate expertise in the 6DC approach to holistic dance education and is designed to provide associated certification upon successful completion of the comprehensive coursework.  The DTAA team is preparing for Level 2 to be held in summer 2020.

Dance Curriculum Designs LLC
Columbia, SC USA 29223-7400