Pushing, Shoving, Dancing

Today J. started by giving us information that she finds essential in her teaching - mostly infant developmental work through Body Mind Centering that included "Yield to Push", "Reach to Pull", Homologous, Homolateral & Contralateral. From there she taught us exercises that she does with her class that incorporates these ideas. Alot of it was wonderful movement sequences that taught these concepts without being didactic, some of which I will most certainly be using in the future. And it was nice to get the blood flowing and feeling like we really got to dance. It is funny that often in academic setting you talk about the thing more than you do the thing - we've been talking about dance and how to teach dance for three days and only today did we really get moving. It is, of course, because you need to learn the theory and possible strategies before you plunge ahead into the thing.

In our discussion after the movement segment I asked if J. was proposing that we teach from a "concept based" approach. And, after some hemming and hawing, she said, "yes, I am!". The idea here is that each class you teach is based around a concept or a group of concepts that are continually highlighted through out the class. For example, if for today's class the concept was speed than in each exercise you would emphasis moving fast or slow or changes of speed. This enables the student to grasp the concept and integrate it more fully into his or her dancing. Of course, while you're highlighting speed there are many other concepts present - quality, alignment, joint articulation, etc... - these are being slipped in the back door, in a way. Another day you might choose to highlight alignment as the concept for a class. This approach really does produce exciting classes that engage students - it, of course, is also more of a challenge for the teacher because it takes quite a bit of forethought and preparation.

Tomorrow we discuss how to organize material over the course of a class, semester or year.

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