Blog: “An Interview with Kellianne Floyd, a Member of the Transformational Teaching Cohort in South Carolina”
by Brenda Pugh McCutchen
August 1, 2021
Context: A dozen South Carolina dance specialists are now half-way through their coursework in Transformative Teaching in Dance (TTD) which teaches the holistic approach to dance education known as the 6DC Model of Educational Dance,” which is also aligned with the national NCAS Standards. The faculty for TTD are seasoned dance education professors: Dr. Tina Curran and me (McCutchen). The cohort has now completed two intensive summer dance institutes immersed in transformative teaching in dance through the holistic 6DC Model of Educational Dance and also three years of applying its conceptual-based teaching methods in their classrooms–in both real and virtual settings. The textbook, Teaching Dance as Art in Education (McCutchen, 2006) anchors their study of theory and methods and three teaching toolkits of conceptual-based dance education resources that focus on teaching two artistic processes has been the emphasis: Toolkit 1: Viewing Dance—Vocabularies for Critiquing; Toolkit 2: Creating Dance–Processes for Choreographing; Toolkit 3: Composing Dance—Structures for Choreography, as well as the K-5 version of Toolkit Two titled: Kids Koolkit: Creating Dance K-5.
In this series of teacher interviews, I ask different members of the cohort what changes they’ve made in their dance education teaching practice since the start of the institutes and what noticeable differences these methods have made with student outcomes during that time. My first interview is with Kellianne Floyd, a mid-career dance educator and full-time elementary-middle dance specialist for the artistically gifted and talented in Spartanburg School District 1, SC, USA. BPMcC
Here is our interview:
Brenda asks: As part of the Transformational Teaching Cohort with “The Dance Teacher as Artist Institutes” offered through the South Carolina Department of Education, what are some ways you’ve utilized the Dance Curriculum Designs toolkit and poster resources as a direct result of your experiences in these institutes?
Kellianne: From wall posters for the Dance Elements to structures in dance to essential questions I have used these to aid in responding to dance through the Principles of Design posters and Four-Step Critique Process focus charts that are a part of Toolkit 1. I also use the Choreographic Structures and Devices posters as well as the Three-Step Process to Create a Dance posters from Toolkit 2 and the Kids Koolkit as these resources help students to develop authentic choreography that can be scaffolded as they grow in their abilities and age. The posters that have been developed by Dance Curriculum Designs not only give students a visual representation of what they are learning in the Dance classroom but also bring validity and understanding to administrators, parents, and other teachers in the building to see the expanse of educational dance in the schools. Educational Dance toolkits are multi-layered resources that allow teachers to scaffold learning from simple to complex for all ages. The toolkits are also created in alignment with the state and national standards.
The teaching toolkit for responding to dance has had the effect of teaching students how to view dance from a critical analysis standpoint. For example, my students watch excerpts from Alvin Ailey’s Revelations each year. Students who watch the I’ve Been Buked section in 2nd and 3rd grades come to me in 4th and 5th grades and are able to make connections between the movement in the first section with the movement in the Wade in the Water section. One student last year mentioned that he noticed the same repetition of movement in both sections and even commented on the importance of water in the Wade in the Water section using the Critiquing Cards from Toolkit 1.
The teaching toolkit for creating and composing dance (for all ages) as well as the elementary version called “Kids Koolkit: Creating Dance K-5” has instilled clearer understanding in my students about the established process one uses to create a dance. My students are well versed in the manner in which to create as well as how to structure movement into a dance after creating the movement and then refine it. My students are also now able to transfer their knowledge of choreographic devices to viewing dance. When we talk about what they see in a dance, many students refer to the devices that they viewed in a masterwork. Students particularly enjoy working with retrograde.
The Dance Elements Wall Charts combined with the “Dance Elements Daisy” has made a noticeable improvement in the students’ ability to create phrases that can be combined to complete a full piece of choreography. As the dance program in my school district begins with elementary and ends with high school, this particular visual aid is something that the middle school and high school students recognize and are familiar with the first day they walk into the middle and high school classrooms.
Not only do the Elements and the Daisy provide a visual aid for exploration, improvisation, and choreography, so do other catalysts from the toolkits. The use of all of these resources has brought a stronger sense of comprehension, concept formation and retention, and overall understanding to my students in a way that increases their abilities to create, perform, and respond to dance in the classroom.
Brenda: How do you see these resources aligning with the standards specifically?
Kellianne: My focus is on the South Carolina College and Career Ready Standards for Visual and Performing Arts Proficiency focused on the South Carolina Dance Standards. However, these standards are also closely aligned with the National Core Arts Standards for Dance. The Dance Curriculum Designs resources give students insight into the holistic approach to learning educational dance skills through dance elements, principles of design and learning how dance evolves from the dancer, the choreographer, the historian/anthropologist, and the critic. As our artistic processes in the South Carolina Dance Standards and the National Core Arts Standards for Dance state, there are four artistic processes (Creating, Performing, Responding, and Connecting). These standards are all addressed with the materials that I use from Dance Curriculum Designs. For example, the Dance Elements Daisy is essential to aiding students, particularly elementary students in creating dance. Toolkits 1 and 2 provide students information to help them to be better performers as they view dance and use the materials from Toolkit 1 to describe what they see, analyze the movement, interpret the meaning, and evaluate the effectiveness of the piece. Students then are inspired by what they have seen in a professional work to be stronger performers in their technique and movement abilities as well as their abilities to create inspired by a professional dance work. Finally, students are able to make stranger connections to other arts disciplines as well as academic disciplines because the materials are so clearly aligned to standards. I have seen first-hand the effectiveness of using these materials as I see tremendous growth with my students as they become more familiar with responding to, creating, performing, and connecting dance across disciplines.
Brenda: Tell me more about the student gains and growth you’ve seen from using the toolkits’ key concepts about the two artistic processes you studied in depth.
Kellianne: I have seen first-hand the benefits of these resources as necessary tools for best practice for students. I currently use Toolkit 1, Toolkit 2, Kids Koolkit, Essential Questions posters, Four Ways to Inquire in Dance, “The Dance Elements Daisy,” and The Dance Elements Wall Charts to complement my lesson planning throughout each school year. This is my 17th year as a Dance Educator in the schools and, for the last 8 years, I have incorporated these resources. The gains that I have seen in my students’ understanding and retention of knowledge far exceed what I saw in long-term comprehension prior to the use of these dance education resources.
Brenda: Are there any benefits that you see to using these materials in your classroom?
Kellianne: I’m privileged to work in a district that offers dance in elementary and middle school, with beginning to continue to grow our program into high school this school year. All of the dance educators in our district consistently work with these same 6DC teacher resources. Therefore, the benefits are evident when our students transfer to other schools within the district or move to the next level of education (i.e. elementary to middle) because they already have an established conceptual-based dance vocabulary and skills to bring with them. There is no lag time for the students or the dance teachers. Students do not fall behind as there is continuity in our programming of curriculum and practice and concepts. The holistic educational benefits of these resources not only make a positive difference for students but also make for an easy flow of teaching concepts and vertical alignment within the curricula of our entire district’s dance programs.
Brenda: Thank you for sharing your experiences about the way you have utilized the 6DC dance education resources and experiences from the “Dance Teacher as Artist” /”Transformational Teaching Institutes” you’ve been part of for the last three summers.
Kellianne Floyd is the Lead Dance Teacher in Spartanburg School District 1. She earned a BA in Dance Education from Winthrop University, an MS in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management (with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation) from Clemson University, and an Ed. S in Elementary School Administration from Converse University. She is part of the Transformational Teaching Cohort with “The Dance Teacher as Artist Institutes,” provided by the South Carolina Department of Education. Mrs. Floyd is a state leader in dance education. She received the 2020 Palmetto State Arts Education (PSAE) “Ray Doughty Arts Integration Award” and now serves on the Board of Directors for PSAE.
Brenda Pugh McCutchen founded Dance Curriculum Designs while writing the foundation textbook for teacher preparation in dance, Teaching Dance as Art in Education (2006: Human Kinetics) and the classroom resources that turn the textbook’s theory into practice. She introduced the holistic 6DC Model of Education Dance to the field and now leads teacher institutes with Dr. Tina Curran.