“Dance Teacher as Artist Institute” Offered in SC Again in Summer 2019

May 28, 2019


Brenda Pugh McCutchen


Dance Curriculum Designs is part of the team offering SC dance educators a special dance education “boot camp” this summer. The one-week intensive–2019 Dance Teacher as Artist Institute (DTAA)– provides abundant opportunities for growth, sharing, refreshing, reflecting, and recharging at the end of this school year when it is so needed.  The institute immerses a select group of 15 SC dance educators in significant aspects of dance literacy and dance artistry.



The June 2019 DTAA Institute takes place on the artistically invigorating campus of SC’s Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, located in the heart of Greenville, SC’s arts district and adjacent to the popular West End in downtown Greenville.  GSAH Campus is within easy walking distance of the vibrant downtown and the scenic Reedy River, the Swamp Rabbit Trail, and the Suspension Bridge.


The DTAA Institute is sponsored by the SC State Department of Education.  It is a collaborative project between four state entities:  the SC State Department of Education, the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project (ABC) which is partially funded by the SC Arts Commission, the College of Charleston, and the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities (GSAH).  The Governor’s School hosts the institute by providing lodging and all meals for participants who get a nice holiday from cooking.  3 hours graduate credit is offered through College of Charleston.  This course aligns with the ABC Project’s mission to increase the artistic presence of the dance specialist in the classroom.  To that end, artistically-driven, inquiry-based materials from Dance Curriculum Designs are also used during the institute and at the end of the institute become the property of participants’ schools.



This summer’s DTAA institute is a repeat of the inaugural institute last year (June 2018).  Participants not only earn 3 hours of graduate credit for the course, they also earn Level 1 credit for the Transformational Teaching certificate offered by the teaching trio who are the faculty and guest artists for this institute.


The faculty/guest artist team is comprised of 2 experienced teachers of dance as art and as education whose teaching styles complement each other.  Both are passionate about dance teacher development.  Tina Curran M.F.A., Ph.D is dance education coordinator at the University of Texas-Austin and head the USA Language of Dance Center in America. Brenda Pugh McCutchen, M.F.A, founder of Dance Curriculum Designs (Columbia, SC), is the author of the textbook used in the institute (Teaching Dance as Art in Education: 2006  Human Kinetics), founding member of the ABC Project, and designer/implementor of the first dance teacher certification program in SC in 1993.  Both have broad teaching backgrounds at all levels from elementary through graduate school.  To round out the team is the marvelous Jessica Stroupe Mearns who serves as the DTAA institute director and  teaching assistant in aspects of the 6 DC Model of Educational dance.


The aim of DTAA is to deepen and broaden artistic literacy.  The leadership team guides participants to investigate the holistic 6DC model of educational dance ramped up a notch.  This institute zeros in on the core principles and processes that drive two of dance’s artistic processes, then experientially channel them into professional practice.  The 2017 SC College- and Career-Ready Standards for Dance and the National Core Arts Standards in Dance inform the content and strategies used in the institute.  Last year’s participants universally said their artistic growth was unparalleled and their teaching was immeasurable enriched.  Now, that is what we are after!!


Registration is through the ABC Office at Winthrop University.  There is a Wait List as of this writing, but don’t hesitate to get your name on the list if you meet the eligibility criteria, which is that you are a certified SC dance educator with a contract to teach dance in a SC school district for the upcoming school year.


A personal note:  Dr. Tina Curran and I are a special team of teaching artists who have worked together on numerous projects and find teaching together invigorating and challenging.  We approach teaching and leadership as a two-way learning experience by all of us as participants.  That is why no two institutes are ever the same even though the content chosen is specific.  This freshness fuels our energy for ongoing discovery.  It is a gift to have someone of the caliber of Dr. Curran in our midst and it is a professional joy to teach beside her to share our insights and investigate new ideas.  We find working together enriches our own insights as we find new ways to challenge and develop each teaching participant.  We wanted to share what we are doing in SC with our broader dance education constituency.


Brenda Pugh McCutchen, d.b.a Dance Curriculum Designs

Author, Teaching Dance as Art in Education (2006:  Human Kinetics), and its teaching materials:

Toolkit One:   Viewing Dance–Vocabularies for Critiquing (2008)

Toolkit Two:   Creating Dance—Processes for Choreographing (2011)