To all the Dance Educators in the midst of the Coronavirus

To all the Dance Educators in the midst of the Coronavirus

We at Dance Curriculum Designs share your worry and frustration as we deal with this pandemic on so many levels. We know that your priority is your students and giving them the best instruction when you cannot even share a classroom. We know that your creative minds have been inventing lessons and activities to complete the requirements of the class and to keep them connected to dance.   We mourn with you the inability to present your final works and to showcase the talents and the growth of your students. We feel the sorrow at losing face to face contact with your students at the peak of their learning and of their connection with you. We know that our dance classes and our schools are communities and this disruption is tough.   But we also know the resilience of dancers, artists, and creatives. When dance is your art, it is your drive. When all of this is said and done, you will come back strong and determined.   For those of you still teaching, we would like to offer you a free 38 page book called America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures – the First 100 ($2 for S/H). This book was put together by the Dance Heritage Coalition from over 900 nominations. The Dance Treasures include stellar dancers, choreographers, dance styles, and other influences in the world of dance.   We encourage you to use this book as a guide for lessons, as a catalyst for further research, or as inspiration to broaden your dance influence vocabulary.   Know that we care and are empathizing with the challenges you continue...
“The Value of a Well-Rounded Education” and How It Impacts Dance Education

“The Value of a Well-Rounded Education” and How It Impacts Dance Education

The Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA) makes for a brighter future by broadening the perspective about what it takes to educate a child in today’s schools.  That expansion bodes well for education which has unintentionally languished through the years of the No Child Left Behind law (NCLB).  Now that ESSA repeals the narrowly-focused NCLB, the value of arts education is re-emphasized. Dance education is particularly vulnerable during this transition.  Here is why. To add dance just for the sake of diversifying the curriculum is insufficient. To create performance-driven dance programs narrows the curriculum by allocating too many educational minutes to performance preparation. While they are entertaining, overemphasis on showcases diminishes the key content and experiences that afford a complete education in all artistic processes. The goal of ESSA is to provide a well-rounded education which includes dance. But unless dance re-envisions what a well-rounded dance education means, dance will become nothing more than a satellite to the core curriculum.  Its performance-driven emphasis will prevent it from achieving the criteria that would make it educational.  That would be a shame for everyone. Now is the opportune time to redesign the old 20th century model of performance-driven dance in K-12 in favor of a well-rounded education in dance.  To expand the traditional one-dimensional “steps and styles” emphasis into an inclusive multi-dimensional emphasis is necessary if dance is to achieve educational integrity.  Expansion of our horizons for the sake of a broader dance literacy will require a systemic change in how dance specialists are prepared as undergraduates in higher education, in how dance is taught in the schools, in how dance specialists...
Join the Movement—the K-12 Educational Dance Movement

Join the Movement—the K-12 Educational Dance Movement

The New York City Department of Education and the New York City public schools partnership has made a significant impact on the quality of dance education in America.   Not only did they produce the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Dance, Grades PreK-12 in 2007 with an assembled cast of stellar educators, administrators, and artists, they now are able to show the results of having put this kind of far-sighted blueprint into action with a PBS special that features one of its public schools.   This week they air an important documentary, PS Dance–Supporting Dance for Every Child!  They write:  “Our new documentary about dance education PS DANCE! airs this Friday on THIRTEEN/WNET in New York at 10:30pm. After May 15, it will also be available for viewing online at http://thirteen.org/specials .  For us, it’s more than just a film, it’s a movement to get dance education in schools everywhere!  #danceforeverychild  This documentary will no doubt be a beacon to those who aspire to implement dance as a holistic educational and artistic subject in rigorous school-based programs.   With the documentary film and the Blueprint, they have the recipe to start a movement worldwide!  It’s high time someone did!   Don’t miss the film.  And if you want to share it with others after May 15, 2015, do so at the link above.   The Blueprint is a milestone for the NYC Department of Education but its ripples can be felt around the world.  NYC DoE shares it with the world through a link to the Blueprint website.  If you haven’t looked at it, please do.  It should be required reading for K-12 dance educators...
Choreography Resources

Choreography Resources

  The stanzas in Choreographic Impulses to Explore, Improvise & Abstract are open-ended creative catalysts.  It is up to you to decide what to do with them.  They were envisioned to stimulate choreography yet are equally effective for creative dramatics, visual arts, music composition, and creative writing.  (Why limit yourself?  Do them all!)   Stanzas emphasize one idea (one word) which directs the creative process and keeps intent clear.  Let that word title your creation and guide your artistic process. The nine-word diamante (diamond) offers a beginning-middle end structure that can serve as a guide for short creations. Permit creative work to be guided by design principles: unity, variety, transition. Allow punctuation marks to suggest whether to elaborate on a word (if followed by a period) or to cluster word cues (commas).   Let stanzas be points of departure that inspire original material in your art form. Challenge yourself to create abstract responses that do not precisely portray the idea of the stanza. For example, if dance is the goal, create a hint of the idea, capturing its energy, space, and timing rather than literally portray the idea (leave that to creative dramatics).  If you are an educator, use stanzas to sharpen compositional skills by incorporating criteria from the bulleted list below. Select one stanza and invite other creative artists to join with you in creating original work in different art forms; perform/show them together.   With 187 dragonfly diamantes in hand you won’t run out of creative ideas any time soon.  Return to stanzas you created earlier to discover new insights that present themselves–a joy of creativity and a delight...
The 6 Defining Characteristics of Holistic Dance Education

The 6 Defining Characteristics of Holistic Dance Education

“The 6 Defining Characteristics of Holistic Dance Education” By Julianna Hane, Guest Blogger Feb. 15, 2015   We live in a society where is it not uncommon for people to blame others for their problems. Dumping responsibility onto other people and playing the victim are all the new gimmicks for getting out of Dodge. Unfortunately, these quick-fix solutions not only harm others, but they eventually harm the individual. People who play the victim are susceptible to brainwashing, because they do not value thinking for themselves and making their own choices. So what’s a dance educator to do?   How do we solve this problem?   We as teachers can value students’ voices and show them how to think for themselves. We can demand that students take responsibility for their own thoughts and actions through democratic teaching.   What is democratic pedagogy?   It is a teaching philosophy that empowers students to think and speak for themselves while also being considerate of others. John Dewey believed in treating every student as morally equal, capable of forming intelligent opinions, and most effective when collaborating with others (MacMath, 2008).*   But won’t the kids get out of control?   While some might argue that allowing students to make choices for themselves is a passive approach to education, this philosophy is everything but. The teacher needs to structure the lesson so students get a say in aspects of their learning, but in way that is productive for everyone.   By guiding students to make choices relevant to the class context, students take responsibility. In other words, they own it.   What will the...