EXPANDING MULTICULTURAL DANCE IN THE STUDIO SETTING
Ballet. Tap. Jazz. Contemporary. Lyrical. Hip-Hop. That's the basic core curriculum for many dance studios. While a well-rounded dance education is key for nurturing a well-rounded dancer, many times the idioms included in their training can lack, shall we say, cultural diversity. It's just the way things have been done and in fairness, there are only so many classes that can be offered and only so many classes the average child will take. The progression of including multicultural dance in such genres as African or Afro-Jazz, Indian, Latin, etc. however can potentially open the eyes of young dancers who may never have been exposed to it in the first place. We are a changing world and the dance world is no exception.....Read More
DANCE-THE HEALING ART FOR ALL
In a time when the climate of the world is anything less than calm, each one of us battles divisiveness, negativity and uneasiness to ensure our students that their studio is a place they can always come for inclusiveness and emotional release.
While we are ourselves don't always have the answers to give our dancers as to why circumstances and situations are the way they are, the one thing we can always provide them with is the reminder that dance heals. It is hope. It is an art form where mind, body and soul unite to calm the spirit and clear the mind.
By coming to class or rehearsals, dance provides an outlet where one's thoughts and feelings, fears and hopes can be parlayed into a living, breathing vehicle which speaks volumes. There is no right or wrong opinion or feeling. Dance doesn't judge. It doesn't divide. It unites through collaboration, acceptance, tolerance, patience and hard work. It honors commitment and dedication and it unknowingly can create a dialogue amongst human beings which might otherwise be difficult with words. Dance is our time to learn about one another, to build relationships and to find tolerance in the differences we may have. It is also a space to recognize that we are all more similar than different.......
HELPING STUDENTS KEEP A LEVEL HEAD DURING COMPETITION SEASON
I am the most competitive person out there. I'd be lying if I said I didn't like to win. Who doesn't? Nobody goes into a competitive situation and says, "Come to think of it, I'd actually like to lose." As a teacher, I love to see my dancers excel even more. There's no greater feeling than watching your students' hard work pay off and be recognized for their commitment and talent. And, let's be honest, it also makes us feel good as choreographers when our work is acknowledged by our peers as well.
Competitions are a great arena for creating performance opportunity, learning teamwork and collaboration, seeing what other studios are doing out there, learning from peers, receiving objective critique and feedback and getting to experience exposure to new things and people in the dance world. Remembering that healthy competition is a good thing to keep dancers motivated, on their toes and passionate about learning and wanting to progress, the issues arise in these competitive situations when students get too high or too low about the accolades they receive. As teachers and studio directors, it's our responsibility to rally the team and remind them of what's important going into and coming out of competition season....
DANCE EDUCATION VS. DANCE TRAINING. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Understanding the difference between dance education and dance training is a pivotal distinction. In turn, this understanding affords a dance teacher the knowledge to incorporate both (equally important) agendas into a studio’s curriculum; thereby cultivating a cohesive program.
So what is the difference? In the simplest terms, dance education, most often seen within the K-12 setting, offers a child the opportunity to dance appreciation and a solid arts education; where emphasis lies on the child’s creative process and creation. While technique is offered and incorporated as part of the “Do, Know, Create, Perform” Learning Standards, the goal of public school dance programs are less focused on the idea of creating technical dancers but more on the idea of educating the “whole” child by: introducing dance history, exposing students to various dance genres, teaching them how to identify, look at and critique famous masterworks, how to use dance as a vehicle for interdisciplinary subjects and introducing students to their community and cultural diversity through dance. Most importantly, again, is the emphasis for the child to take this knowledge and develop their own creative works to expand higher order thinking skills, develop aesthetic, find individual artistic voice and encourage peer interaction through collaboration and constructive feedback. Because many public school students will not go on to become professional dancers, what dance education aims to do is create an ongoing knowledge and appreciation for the art-form which may in fact lead to jobs in the art field, future avid theater goers or just more well-rounded, arts educated individuals. Dance education ultimately strives to enrich the overall advancement of a student’s well-being and provides students the outlet to create their own art and release the stresses of their scholastic and private lives. Dance education also provides a special environment where there are no wrong answers. Students can move freely and fall in love with the art form........Read More