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Behind the Curtain Blog

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By Katie Diehl, Assistant Professor of Dance, Idaho State University~~In this blog post, I share three specific somatic concepts and practices that have been informing my ballet pedagogy. Additionally, you will find select movement experiences that can be integrated into your classes. Some of the language I utilize is derived directly from Bill Evans pedagogy...
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By Megan Taylor Morrison, Editor of Dance Adventures: True Stories About Dancing Abroad~~In 2018, I began the journey of helping artists from around the world document their stories about the epic experiences they’d had dancing abroad. Now, two and a half years later, these educational, first-person narratives are part of my forthcoming anthology...
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By Mary Bawden, Founder & Executive Director of DA:NCE (Dance Awareness: No Child Exploited) ~~ It’s special to watch a young child put on their first pair of dance shoes at their first dance class and watch them anticipate their first performance. You, friends, already know that the research demonstrates that dance is a wonderful activity for children: improved academic performance, brain development, creativity, risk taking...
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By Anabella Lenzu ~~ Nothing gives me more fulfillment than to discover different processes of creation, becoming, and transformation. My curious mind and heart always lead me to a fresh beginning, where creativity helps me to transcend ideas and rules, creating meaningful methods. In each new adventure, I'm either creating a scene, a show...
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By Vanessa Finnegan, BFA, MAT ~~ In the summer of 2018, I attended Panpapanpalya, the most recent Dance and the Child International Conference (DaCi), in Adelaide, Australia. As a student and teacher of dance, and a choreographer looking to learn and expand her artistic practice, I was absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to be there. People had come from all around the world to...
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By Kaustavi Sarkar, Professor, Department of Dance, University of North Carolina at Charlotte ~~ Daily dance practice or Sadhana is crucial in the life of an Indian classical dance practitioner. Movement of the physical body becomes second nature ingrained within muscle memory within this daily bodily regimen. The emotional nuance that remains central to engaging with the corporeal also needs substantial attention to detail on a daily basis. Training in movement requires practicing both Nritta.....
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By Heather Acomb, Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance, Nazareth College ~~ The Bill Evans Method, affectionately referred to as “BETI Pedagogy” because of its birth inside of the Bill Evans Teachers Intensive (BETI) over the course of many years, is infused with elements of Creative Systems Theory, Transformational Learning Theory, and the framework of Laban/Barteneiff Movement Analysis. What makes this value system so unique is its ability to help us cultivate community...
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By Weiselande 'Tanui' Cesar, Executive Founding Director and Choreographer of TLL, Inc ~~ It is universally known that dance is a form of communication, and it is often considered to be the language of our soul. From a cultural context, dance and music are essentially the fabric of cultures. In many cultures, folk dances emerged from the day to day activities of the common people, and Haitian Folk dances are no different. Haitians are a group African descent people...
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By Sara Lavan, Executive Director and Co-Artistic Director of Local Motion Project ~~ Local Motion Project (LMP) is a young organization in Alexandria Virginia, whose mission is to bring people together in meaningful experiences through the art of dance and movement. Founded in 2016 as a youth dance program, it has grown to provide programming for youth and adults alike. We at LMP, like all of you, have been navigating our newest dance journey and what it means to serve our community during the ...
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By Allegra Romita and Nancy Romita ~~ As you read this, freeze. Hold the position in which you currently find yourself. Do not adjust anything. Without judgment or shifting, notice the position of both feet. Does one foot have more weight on it than the other? Are both feet on the floor? Is there an even weight distribution? Is one foot or ankle a little more turned or rolled in or out? Are you sitting on one foot? Is a leg crossed and how does...
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By Alexandra "Sparkles" Lund ~~ Worried that our studio cohesiveness and energy was going to fall apart if we couldn’t be in the studio together, the staff put our heads together and developed a simple, inexpensive and effective way to help keep the kids on a regular schedule by using a mix of live and pre-recorded classes. The goal is to keep their bodies moving and help provide them a bit of consistency and “normalcy”...
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By Luke Muscat, M.S.Ed Candidate and Teacher, The Hewitt School; Steps Youth Programs; The School at the Mark Morris Dance Center ~~ The constructivist approach to education is rooted in a student driven, inquiry-based approach to learning. Using constructivism has proven to improve student motivation, commitment, satisfaction, and learning retention (Woolfolk, Winne, & Perry, 2012). In a pre-professional ballet program, however, such a contemporary outlook on learning is scarce. Due to its trad...
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By Shannon Dooling-Cain, NDEO Special Projects Coordinator ~~ With schools and studios closing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, NDEO members have been generously sharing ideas for alternative teaching strategies on our Online Forums. These are truly uncharted and challenging times for all dance educators - and our students. With that in mind, we will be compiling some ideas and resources for alternative teaching that have been posted. We are sharing these ideas...
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By Donna H. Krasnow and M. Virginia Wilmerding ~~ Dance training is at the heart of the art form of dance. All dancers can recall the teachers who had tremendous influence on their growth as young dancers and artists. The science known as motor behavior – an umbrella term for motor development, motor control, and motor learning – is having a stronger voice in helping teachers and dancers develop...
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By Ashley Goos, Adjunct Professor of Dance, Xavier University and Miami University ~~ I have so many students who say they can’t. Can’t turn out, can’t leap, can’t articulate their spine, can’t count, can’t dance. I have students that haven’t even tried these things but already “know” they can’t. So in my class, I employ a radical approach: everyone can. Students only get this idea about “can’t” from being told so. They are being told they don’t have the right body...
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