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Behind the Curtain Blog

NDEO's "Behind the Curtain" Blog features articles written by NDEO members about dance and dance education topics as well as periodic updates on NDEO programs and services. This is a FREE resource available to ALL.

By Dr. Meredith Sims, Associate Professor of Dance, Coker University - Just like most, I am ready to “get back to normal.” Although, I’m not sure what this means anymore. What was normal? Will it ever be that again? Should it be? The disparity among our students was highlighted by the pandemic - unreliable wifi, unsafe living situations, lack of support, mental health concerns - all impacted student learning. Educators have been exhaustingly navigating the changing landscape with ingenuity, e...
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By Lindsay Herring, Director of Middle and High School Fine Arts/Dance Instructor, Brooks County High School. Like many other dance educators nationwide, I find myself teaching a unit on choreography to intermediate and advanced dancers each year. These dancers are mastering their craft and honing their skills in real ways, yet I find myself wondering: Are they utilizing their emotions and creativity to start the process? Are these students, new to the craft of choreography, actually using their...
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By Kathleen Kingsley Baez, Executive Artistic Director, MoveWest Center for Movement Exploration. Those of us who teach dance are able to observe evidence of student personal growth that may not be as obvious in other areas of study. How one moves through space offers unique insights into personality, intent, sense of self, and evidence of how one accepts challenges. With that in mind, I would like to tell you about two Syrian students I have had the privilege to teach, Farah al Haddad and Abdul...
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Karen Forss Hogan, Director, Galliope Creative Movement. It's cringeworthy how seriously I took my job when I first started teaching early childhood dance twenty-five years ago. I was a try-hard with a catastrophic fear of falling short of my own expectations. You’d think two to five year olds were a population that wouldn’t stress me out, but like everything else, they did. When asked to teach a series of classes in a small rural preschool north of town, as customary, I over-prepared. I h...
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Gina Spears, Dance Educator, Portage Park Elementary. Calling my first years of teaching in Chicago Public Schools a baptism by fire is probably an understatement. I had trouble connecting with the middle school students and found them to be disrespectful. My car was broken into three times. One afternoon, an angry parent was waiting by my car with a baseball bat because I sent his son to the office for spitting at me. The littlest dancers loved my class, though, and I had two after school clubs...
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It goes without saying that 2020 was a year like no other in education, and we continue to face unique challenges in 2021. Dance teachers working in every sector of the field, from dance studios and community programs to universities and PreK-12 schools, demonstrated their adaptability, imagination, and persistence as they sought new ways to reach their students in the most challenging of times. Dance educators pivoted instruction in new and unforeseen ways, turning to virtual, hybrid, or social...
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By Dawn Davis Loring, Independent Dance Writer. It is an act of unparalleled artistic bravery to allow an audience to make of your work what they will. The audience has a burning desire to “get it” and quite often they will rifle through the attics of their experience (or the basement) to search for the lost piece of the puzzle, the piece they are certain will make sense of the rest. Amongst the jigsaw pieces scattered throughout the new Netflix original film I’m Thinking of Ending Things, I ...
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NDEO Staff | 18 Dec, 2020 | All Sectors | 0 Comments |
By Shannon Dooling, NDEO Special Projects Coordinator ~~ It is safe to say that 2020 was a true test of the commitment, creativity, and courage of the field of dance education. Together, we have navigated our way through the “Ultimate Structured Improvisation” that was......
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By Kate Gupton, Dance Teacher at North Graham Elementary~~We are entering a new age in education. Second graders can navigate Zoom calls, high schoolers are working full-time jobs while in school, and the demands...
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By Gillian Ebersole, Education and Community Engagement Intern at Colorado Ballet~~When the pandemic hit, Movement Exchange pivoted from their in-person work to meaningful virtual counterparts. This transition happened swiftly because Movement Exchange focuses on centering dance around sharing cultural and embodied knowledge...
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By Hannah McCarthy, Dance Educator, Freelance Choreographer, Researcher~~The cancellation of American Ballet Theatre’s and New York City Ballet’s Fall Seasons may not have been the first of the year, but they were some of the first to be highly publicized and seal the fate of ballet for the rest of 2020. It’s as if the performing arts community knew this would happen all along...
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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 Shannon Doling-Cain, NDEO Special Projects Coordinator~~Why should you start a chapter of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts™ (NHSDA) this fall? With all of the challenges currently facing both dance educators and students, an honor society may not be high on your priority list right now. However, the NHSDA program offers benefits...
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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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