Experience the richness of two artistic processes–creating and responding–through live workshops on standards-enriched teaching. Each workshop models teaching strategies that inspire rich exploration of dance’s key principles and processes.  Inspired materials that build a rich learning context are explored as ways to simultaneously achieve standards and excellence.

Workshop 1–Coherent Critique 

Helping students approach a dance work using effective methods that teach them to decode it, digest it, and describe what they see.



Discover how dynamic the process of ‘responding’ really is with the right approach.  This workshop revolves around enjoyable, enlightening ways to teach students to engage with choreography through the rich four-step critique process.  See how enjoyable and effortless analysis and critique really should be.  No stodgy dance analysis here!  Come away with lively, practical strategies to transform “I didn’t like it” students into articulate, engaged dance critics.  Experience enlightening ways to decode dances.  Drawing from teaching methods in Teaching Dance as Art in Education and Toolkit 1: Viewing Dance–Vocabularies for Critiquing, master presenter Brenda Pugh McCutchen guides the experiences that will transform your teaching.  By the end you will have the magic wand to empower your students to critique and write astute critiques with ease.


Details:  This workshop focuses on proven ways to guide viewers to analyze a dance before they try to interpret it.  By using the “four-step critique” and the “principles of design,” participants learn to decode dance works of all types into informative terms and concepts.  This energetic process amplifies artistic development.  It prompts viewers to see dance in ways that they would not on their own.  The cutting edge methods draw viewers into a dance work so they fully engage with it, willingly talk about it, make informed decisions about it before they interpret or evaluate it. Enter this workshop to travel with an experienced guide who can transform your teaching and have you mesmerized by dance works like never before.  With dance’s main vocabularies and methods you learn to peel back the layers of a dance work to see what is there and generate “meaningful response.”  You will come away with the skills to teach choreography and dance appreciation in a powerful way for young and old.


Workshop 1 is the first in a series of “Transformative Teaching Workshops” offered by McCutchen.


Workshop 2 — Cohesive Composition  

Helping students compose effective dances both on demand and through the revision process. 

This workshop focuses on dynamic ways to spark innovative dance compositions while it also clarifies the principles and processes of dance-making.  It replaces uninspired dance-making habits with creative stimuli and inventive tools for choreography. Discover unlikely topics that spark delightful new dance works. Immerse in teaching strategies that are known to build incredibly articulate creators. Launching from her text, Teaching Dance as Art in Education into the innovative teaching materials she is well-known for, Brenda Pugh McCutchen stimulates the kind of standards-aligned teaching strategies that always surpass expectations.  Experience how she weaves the creative magic that inspires both novice and seasoned choreographer to create unique dances. While she employs numerous creative catalysts for composition, she also uses them to instill the key concepts that support enduring composition skills. Experience how she creates cohesive learning contexts that breathe new life into the creative process and get stellar results.  Come away with new methods that will transform your teaching.


Details:  This workshop integrates resources from the teacher’s Toolkit 2: Creating Dance–Processes for Choreographing.  The goal is to teach dance composition in such a way that one-of-a kind dances emerge. Explore the creative prompts (and create your own) to spur movement invention for dance composition. Learn to clarify the mechanics of choreography and in the process see how they apply to the other arts.  See how effective teaching methods transform student works.  Learn how to bypass the familiar pitfalls of over-dependence on music and over-use of movement cliches.  Prepare to exceed expectations as you experience effective ways to motivate students to originate, organize, and refine dances without getting lost in the process.

Workshop 2 is the second in a series of “Transformative Teaching Workshops” offered by McCutchen.  It builds on the skills, experiences, and materials used in Workshop 1.