Harnessing the Wind: The Art of Teaching Modern Dance
gives you the theoretical knowledge, the practical tips, and the inspiration to prepare the next generation of dancers to meet the demands of contemporary dance.
This book combines information about constructing and presenting a dance class with personal reflections about the art of teaching modern dance and integrating somatic theories, scientific research, and contemporary aesthetic practices. It provides new teachers with a solid theoretical base and incites experienced teachers to reexamine and revitalize their teaching.
The book asks dance instructors to make conscious choices about what, why, and how they teach. Advocating an individualistic approach, it helps teachers understand how their personal dance interests and interpretations influence their teaching styles. Part I, “The Vision,” provides a philosophical perspective. It defines the role of technique and explores the delicate job of nurturing the artist during the quest for technical control. Part II, “Class Preparation,” is where the planning process takes shape. This section shows how to
• set strategies and realistic goals to lay the groundwork for a carefully built progression of movement skills;
• use rituals to facilitate centering;
• safely incorporate conditioning principles into dance training, thus encouraging the development of powerful and resilient dancers;
• understand the interplay between gravity and rhythm, space and energy to shape phrasing; and
• sequence exercises effectively using helpful graphs and planning guides.
Part III, “Class Presentation,” covers essential issues such as pacing, making good corrections, building images to enhance movement learning, and collaborating successfully with musicians. Finally, part IV, “Professional Concerns,” embraces important issues that touch the teaching professional, such as how to objectively analyze and critique a very subjective subject—the body—and how to maintain a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
Learning Aids: Investigations and Reflections
Each chapter is followed by a series of investigations and a reflection designed to challenge and inspire students and teachers. The investigations are concise exercises that explore theories both in and out of the classroom. They cover a range of activities including writing, drawing, chart making, observing, and experiential processing. The reflections provide insight to a dancer’s world. Told through the eyes of a dance teacher, these narratives unveil the intangibles that are taught in dance, such as breathing, centering, playfulness, presence, and discipline.
The appendixes are full of practical tools, including a sample syllabus, sample grading policies, placement goals for four levels of technique, and assessment and evaluation forms.
Throughout the book, abstract and highly imagistic photographs by dance photographers Erika Dufour and William Frederking provide a powerful visual stimulus that captures mood, motion, and emotion.
This book provides dance students the information and theory necessary to begin the task of teaching. For seasoned teachers, it will inspire new questions and introduce new possibilities. Either way, readers will unleash a world of potential with Harnessing the Wind.
Table of Contents
Part I: Philosophy
Dancing Roots: Technique
Technique • The Wisdom Of Ancestors • A Point of View • Reflection: Breath
Flying Souls: Artistry
Doing and Undoing • Teaching the Real Truth • Odd Choices • Role of
Improvisation • Practice Solitude • Reflection: Play
Part II: Class Preparation
Sculpting Dreams: Goal
Vision • Designing a Syllabus • Progression of Movement Skills • Principles and Strategies • Reconciling Individual Dreams With Class Goals • Evaluation • Reflection: Presence
Centering Minds: Rituals
Rituals of Ancestors • Floor or Standing? • Repetition • A Labyrinth Toward Center • Special Classes • Reflection: Discipline
Gathering Power: Conditioning
Resilience • Conditioning in Dance Practice • Strength • Flexibility • Muscular Endurance • Cardiorespiratory Endurance • New Dance Curricula • Reflection: Surrender
Shaping Phrases: Dancing
Building Phrases • Spatial Intent • Energy • Musicality and Rhythm • Demonstrating • Reflection: Transitions
Weaving Light: Sequencing
Sequencing Exercises • Designing a Class Template • Continuums • Reflection: Centering
Part III: Class Presentation
Time Flowing: Pacing
Reading Tea Leaves • Flow • Art of Pacing • The Clock • Length of Class • Reflection: Stillness
Body Listening: Corrections
Seeing and Sensing • Knowing Oneself • Reflexes • Alignment and Posture • Fixing or Guiding • Touching • Empowering Student Observation • Reflection: Connectivity
Space Moving: Images
The Power of Images and Metaphors • Developing a Bag of Tricks • The Senses • Reflection: Balance
Silence Sounding: Accompanists
Relationship Between Music and Dance • Movement and Music • Teachers and Accompanists • Students and Musicians • Reflection: Openness
Part IV: Professional Concerns
Energy Talking: Communication
Bodymind • Resistance and Fear • Authorities of Bodymind • Love and Challenge • Counseling • Reflection: Patience
Excellence Training: Health
Stress • Dangerous Obsessions • Injuries • Reflection: Nourishment
Youth Spinning: Vitality
Bodymind • Mindbody • Spiritenergy • Reflection: Renewal
Appendix A. The Dance Center of Columbia College Modern Dance Technique Syllabus
Appendix B. The Dance Center of Columbia College Level Placement Guide
Appendix C. Pre- and Post-Assessment in the Performing Arts
Appendix D. The Dance Center of Columbia College Course Evaluation—Student
Appendix E. The Dance Center of Columbia College Instructor Evaluation
Textbook for modern dance majors in pedagogy or methods courses and for graduate assistants in training to teach modern dance at the university or college level. Resource for professional modern dance teachers.