Brenda McCutchen—Guest Teacher at University of Northern Colorado

Brenda McCutchen—Guest Teacher at University of Northern Colorado

“Brenda McCutchen—Guest Teacher at University of Northern Colorado” August 29, 2016 Brenda McCutchen spent part of July in Greeley, Colorado as guest professor at the University of Northern Colorado.  She was invited by Dr. Sandra Minton and Ms. Christy McConnell-Black who co-direct the graduate program which offers a master’s degree in dance education.  McCutchen spent time with both cohorts of graduate students to investigate the art and the science of dance pedagogy.   Because the McCutchen textbook–Teaching Dance as Art in Education—is the main text for both cohorts in the degree program, she provided insights on how varied components from the text strategically interact to reinforce each other and how they overlay to accomplish multiple goals at once.  The cohorts learned how to combine these different aspects to accomplish more in less time than if addressed separately.  Experiential sessions demonstrated methods that also turned pedagogical dance theory into dynamic practice and informed our process.   The advanced students absorbed the 6DC model as a descriptive model of best practice (instead of being a prescriptive model).  Thus they were empowered to make their own contribution to dance education in a way that suits their student population, within the parameters of these defining characteristics and the standards guidelines.   Both cohorts examined the 6DC model of educational dance presented in TDAE  to determine how all six defining characteristic impact the educational value of dance in a K-12 curriculum.  The six defining characteristics then became the basis for a three-dimensional matrix. This pedagogical matrix sets out to overlay the four artistic processes of dance’s cornerstone disciplines, the four areas of student development in dance, and...
How Do You Teach Modern Dance Techniques?

How Do You Teach Modern Dance Techniques?

Calling technique professors in higher education and dance specialists in grades 8-12!  How do you teach modern dance technique?  Do you teach technique from a somatics perspective?  If so, what are your key phrases and images that get the best results?  Would you share with me helpful hints on ways to get adults and young adults to sharpen some of their main movement skills?   I’d like to synthesize them into a useful resource for teaching somatically-based technique.  No doubt you can recall several effective images or useful phrases you use to get at key movement skills related to such topics as the use of breath, body connectivity, balance, flexibility, articulation, alignment (static or dynamic), weight shift, rotation, initiations, mobility and stability.  If you are willing to share some of them, I will incorporate them into teacher effectiveness resources I am developing.   Also, I’ve recently been thinking about the stellar teachers we have studied with in our modern dance lineage and their gifted way of verbalizing the physicality of dance.  Having just returned from American Dance Festival, I’m reminded of the long heritage of teaching artists and their eloquent comments in class that so many of us recall while studying there (e.g., I can still hear the artistic clarity of Betty Jones, Danny McKayle, and Lynda Davis).  What expressive ways modern dance artists have of eliciting specific artistic intentions with mere words, images, or gestures.   It seems important that we also capture some of these priceless jewels to collect into a resource that not only informs but also inspires the new generations of dancers that come after us. ...