May 10th Nor Cal Day Conference – Connection, community, rejuvenation. Make your reservation today!
Arts Fluency – by Kristin Kusanovich.
Performance Survival Tips – Robin Kish gives the basics for staying performance ready.
They Joy of Sharing
The end of the school year centers around sharing. As instructors we have the joy of welcoming audiences into our classrooms and theater. Our students thrive on the opportunity to share what they have learned with friends and family. The end of the year offers us the capstone experience for all of our labors. It is our chance to share our love of dance and its transformative power!
This month we have another opportunity for sharing with each other during our Day Conference in the Bay Area on May 10th! The focus of the day will be sharing. We get to share our stories with each other, our challenges, successes, frustrations, joys, fears, and hopes. Coming together as colleagues and friends renews us a sindividuals on our path as educators and artists. CDEA is very excited for this event and looks forward to sharing it with you!
On Behalf of CDEA, Beth Megill (SoCal President)
CDEA Day Conference
Where: East Bay El Cerrito High School
When: May 10th, 9am-4pm
Gather for a day of collegiality, art and friendship. Take class, be inspired, connect. Enjoy instructional sessions and presentations Special workshop: Using Social Media!
9:00-9:30 Registration and Coffee
9:30-10:50 Technique Class
11:00-12:20 Class or Discussion
12:30-1:30 Lunch Break
1:30- 2:50 Class or Panel
3:00-4:00 Member Meeting
Day Conference Rate
- Member – $50
- Non-Member – $75
- Student – $30
Performance Survival Tips
by Robin Kish MS, MFA
Athletes and coaches have studied for years the most effective way to peak at the right time to maximize performance outcomes. Unfortunately dancers are notoriously run down, sick and possibly nursing an injury right as dress rehearsals and performances commence. The closer we are to opening night; rehearsals intensify, sleep and nutrition are ignored, and injuries become magnified. As dancers how can we best prepare ourselves for optimal performance when it counts.
- Fatigue – Find time to sleep allowing the body to rest and recover. Power naps or constructive rest can help the body recharge when there are not enough hours in the day.
- Hydration – Drink your water. A dehydrated body will fatigue faster slowing reaction time and creating mental fatigue.
- Nutrition – Fuel your body. Carbohydrates are needed for energy, proteins for tissue repair and fats for energy reserve and nerve health. Small meals and snacks maintain optimum energy levels for performance.
- Warm-up – Take the time to prepare for performance. Warming up increases the heart rate, stimulates circulation and oxygen flow and helps manage injuries.
If possible tapering off the number and intensity of technique classes and rehearsals helps prevent excessive fatigue and decrease injury risk. As end of the year concerts and recitals are upon us try these few tips and see if you and your dancers feel stronger, have more energy and perform to their best ability.
Fostering Fluency in Multiple Art Forms for future Dance Educators
by Kristin Kusanovich, Dance Faculty at Santa Clara University President Elect for CDEA
As a long-time arts educator identifying primarily in creative/modern/contemporary genres of dance, I have had the great honor to collaborate with other teaching artists from a wide variety of disciplines and take workshops from them. It has expanded my notion of what happens in a “dance residency” so much that it is rare for me to have a dance residency that does not now include music/rhythm workshops, visual arts and drama as well. And in dance experiences, though I use the basic concepts of dance derived from great modern theorists long before ‘viewpoints’ came into parlance, I also expand the content of the forms we are studying to include multiple cultures’ folk dances that I have studied and performed professionally. Thus my students see through the eyes of several continents in dance, are exposed to a wide array of internationally sourced and mainly noncommercial music, express their dance learning in visual art projects, and enact narratives and stories with words as well, entering the world of movement theatre. Though creative/modern dance remains at the center of the experience for the children or youth, the broader context of creative collaboration has become the enduring understanding I hope they take away.
I attended a liberal arts college that promoted interdisciplinary thinking and whole person learning, and now work in that university in the Theatre and Dance Department. Students pursuing a B.A. in Theatre Arts can emphasize dance or theatre but study across both fields broadly and deeply. The university-aged student is ready to think of a life in the arts, a career in it, and is also ready to consider the ways that education might be a part of their future. The fact is, most performing arts majors do teach in some capacity, as choreographers, directors, leaders of organizations, even company members running workshops – they have to learn how to organize material and have a pedagogy that works for them and their learners. I am grateful that I was supported in the process of developing a course at the university that prepares the next generation of multidisciplinary arts educators to understand how to teach music, theatre, dance and visual art lessons to youth. In this course, students learn to create original lesson plans that meet state and national standards, how to deliver the course content and assess it. In parallel to the pedagogy side, the philosophy and praxis of arts education, they look at the role of civic engagement in creating political and funding contexts for the state of California’s arts education and funding landscape, which many have described as ‘dire’ when the benefits to society of quality arts education programs and the resources of our state are considered.
After a few years of having this course as one of our major requirements, I am seeing the results in our students’ lives while at the university and when they graduate. They are more understanding of the disciplines they were not exposed to as children, more willing to step out of their identity as ‘just a dancer’ and experiment with teaching methods, curricula and activities that go beyond dance, but relate to it. And, they are seeing that, even if it is not the first step their career paths take, the training in arts education now will hopefully help them flourish in future contexts in all aspects of the arts.
National Water Dance Day: A Celebration of Arts in Action
by Teresa Heiland, PhD Loyola Marymount University
On April 12th, twenty students and three faculty from Loyola Marymount University and Moorpark College joined together at El Segundo Beach to perform a movement choir about drought, fracking, and climate change through the talent of students through their arts. A movement choir is a collaborative project in which each participant contributes movement ideas to express a group concept. Dancers, musicians, and singers from the a cappella group One Night Stanzas collaborated to create a site-specific movement choir to live music that grew out of shared readings, discussion, reflection, and movement experimentation on the theme of water issues in Los Angeles and surrounding areas to bring attention to the fragility of our waters. The beach location at El Segundo, framed by the LAX airport, the Scattergood Generating Plant, the Hyperion Water Treatment Plant, and the Chevron Oil Refinery—with its oil barge just offshore—was a prime location to express imbalances in the use and care of our planet. The beauty of the sea life, seals, brown pelicans, kelp, shimmering waves, and expressive arts was framed by man’s fragile relationship with nature. This El Segundo performance was one of 74 simultaneously livestreamed performances linked so viewers could observe the movement choirs from anywhere in the country. See http://se.nationalwaterdance.org/pages/streams for live-streaming of a few of the movement choirs. This project, which was spearheaded by Dale Andree in Florida, was directed in Los Angeles by Profs. Teresa Heiland and Paul Humphreys, and student Eric Escalante of Loyola Marymount University and by Prof. Beth Megill of Moorpark College. The next National Water Dance takes place in April 2014 (http://se.nationalwaterdance.org/), while the upcoming Global Water Dance is in June 2015 (http://globalwaterdances.org/).
The TMC and the Dance Credential
How they relate to each other and reflect the same discrimination against dance in academia.
by Beth Megill
California Community Colleges have struggled these past few years with mandates, bills and Title V reinterpretations. All of these have been driven by the need for California as a state to get within budget and to curb what it considers misuse of the Community College and Junior College system. One of the biggest initiatives is the creation and promulgation of special Associates degrees that are tightly interwoven with the CSU programs for a smoother student transfer process. These degrees are based upon established Transfer Model Curricula (TMC). The TMCs are developed by discipline faculty across the state who identify and develop a set of mandatory lowerdivision courses for a given major. These courses must be identical in content with matching course outlines of record (including units value and course objectives) that the teacher must follow in order for the course to articulate.
Dance does not have one of these degrees. Rather, dance is only one of just a handful of disciplines that still does not have one of these degrees. And, we are not even in the queue to begin the TMC process.
Why a dance TMC Matters
Schools such as mine (Moorpark College) are pushing for students to complete the transfer degrees in greater numbers in hopes of getting students through the system more efficiently. They are putting a lot of resources (time and money) into promoting these degrees for students. And, dance is not on the list. Our majors already have a difficult enough time transferring, but now, if they choose to be a dance major, they are committing themselves to even greater uncertainty when a business or communication studies major comes with a transfer guarantee that dance cannot promise!
How this relates to the Dance Credential
The lack of a clear path for our dance majors from the 2-year into the 4-year system is compounded by the lack of a dance educator’s pathway into the California Public School system. The credentialing programs at CSUs are primary driving forces of those institutions. Because we don’t have a dance credentialing program, we lose a number of our dance majors to disciplines that do (most notably PE). The low number of dance graduates is part of the reason we aren’t a focus for TMC development.
The Pessimistic Future
If we are unable to secure the reinstatement of the dance credential, and we continue to be excluded from the new TMC transfer preferences for CSUs, we can expect our programs to continue to suffer. They may not go away entirely, but we will continue to be on the brink, riding the ebb and flow of the state funds and budgets. Our students will have no secure employment in the California public education system and may continue to have difficulty making a living as dancers or dance educators come graduation.
Private studio dance programs may continue to be fueled by commercial dance, competition and media with little opportunity for students interested in alternative performance or concert dance arts. Students who cannot afford to take studio dance classes while they are in their formative years will struggle to catch up with their peers and successfully navigate through a dance major. We will lose many of those students to other majors and career choices.
The Alternative Future
If we are able to secure the reinstatement of the dance credential, we could have a pathway for our dance majors through the undergraduate system that results in a teaching position (securable employment). This would hopefully increase the respect for the educational aspects (performance and theory) of dance by those outside of our discipline and change the cultural understanding of dance in our communities. With stronger student success numbers, we might get the attention of our administrators to support the inclusion of dance in creating a TMC.
The Ideal Scenario
With the dance credential and the TMC in place, I can imagine the following:
A young dancer wants to take dance class but their family cannot afford studio lessons. This student attends a California public school and is pleased to find out that quality dance instruction is offered by a professional dance educator with a dance credential. This student continues through the K-12 system learning about dance and performing arts. This dancer graduates from college but cannot afford to immediately go to a 4-year school. The dancer chooses to go to the local community college as a dance major working toward a transfer degree (TMC pattern). The dancer receives the degree in 2-years and is guaranteed transfer to a local CSU with a reputable dance program where the student decides to complete the dance major as well as stay on for the dance-credentialing program. The young dancer can now enter the work force in the K-12 system with dance specific training that will fuel the cycle again.
As often as we feel that each sector of dance education is separate and independent, we know that we are part of a larger fabric, and while we have differing needs and struggles, the field of dance will work best when we work together to clear the path for our students. The TMC needs the Dance Credential and the Dance Credential needs the TMC. Which will we attain first?
Join in the movement to reform dance education!
If you are interested in joining the team to further the cause on these issues, please contact the appropriate point person below:
Dance Single Subject Credential: Shana Habel
Dance TMC and Transfer Degree: Beth Megill