For this first entry I'm going to touch upon my experiences today in this new MFA program I've just entered. Today we started a week long intensive on "Modern Dance Pedagogy", though the material we are working with could be applied to many forms of dance. Today we started with working on articulating our personal philosophy in regards to dance and teaching dance. Our teacher, J., lectured some, but very quickly asked us to do a quick, spontaneous writing assignment to answer to sets of questions -
1. Write about your dance ancestors - what did you learn from your teachers that you continue to embrace and what have you let go?
2. Why is dance important to you at this time? Why is it important to the world?
Yea, big questions. Here is my response to the second set of questions:
Dance is important to me because
1. it increases self-awareness/self-discover
2. in creating new work I discover new connections about issues in the world I care about
3. it gives me a sense of community - my company, my colleagues, the field in general
4. it is how my creativity expresses itself.
5. is something that I feel I am good at.
Dance is important to the world because it
1. helps people re-connect to their body/become embodied
2. teaches people to value non-verbal knowing
3. engage the intuitive, imaginative and creative
4. is gets people moving - physical activity/fitness
From there we "made an object" that expresses our connection to dance using paper, string, glue, markers, etc... - yea, kind of like craft time. This was such an interesting part of the process because then we got people's impressions of the "objects" and so often the comments were right on target. People said my object was "orderly, intentional, rhythmic, multiplicity, intuitive, combined micro & macro, personal & abstract, grounding", and reminded one person of a spine. All of which I think (at least I like to think) at least partly describe my approach to making and teaching dance. Now, tonight we have to write a 2-3 page philosophy of dance that we'll share with some classmates tomorrow. Should be very interesting - I'll share some of that writing when I'm done with it.