Each passing day, month and year in the dance teaching community means new developments in education. This month, we checked in with a few of the teacher training programs that have graced the pages of Dance Teacher Recognizes over the years. Here, the program leaders reflect on the state of teacher training today and their hopes and goals for the future of dance education.
American Dance Festival
Dance Professionals Workshop
Year founded: 1949
Hollins University/American Dance Festival MFA
Year founded: 2005
Mission: The Dance Professionals Workshop allows dance educators to refresh their teaching, expand their experiences and make connections to other teachers. The Hollins/ADF MFA offers professionals the option to study in a low-residency program.
Donna Faye Burchfield, dean of the American Dance Festival School:
"My hope is that the distinctions between professional dancers, artists and teachers actually disappear. The greatest choreographers remark that they often learned how to make their dances through their experiences teaching."
Cecchetti Council of America
Teacher Training Course
Year founded: Early 1950s
Mission: To provide dance teachers continuing education by broadening their knowledge of the Cecchetti syllabi and related subjects.
Rose Marie Floyd, continuing education officer: "We live in the information age-the more teachers learn, the more they want to learn. The CCA will continue to work with those in the academic and professional worlds to make sure the classical method of ballet is supplemented by the current wealth of information available for tomorrow's dancers."
Creative Dance Center
Summer Dance Institute for Teachers: Brain-Compatible Dance Education
Year founded: 1994
Mission: To foster learning about brain development and the BrainDance, coordination pattern theory and learning styles, early childhood dance education and world dance, along with a regular curriculum of creative and modern-dance teaching methods.
Anne Green Gilbert, director:
"Overall, there is more emphasis on somatic training (mind/body connections), as well as on multiple intelligences, anatomy, creativity, learning styles and human development. There is a dichotomy in current teacher training: On the one hand, dance competitions, pure technique and tricks without artistry are proliferating. On the other hand, there are teachers more interested in a holistic, creative and somatic approach to dance education.
"I hope teachers of teachers stress reflective teaching, appropriate standards, development, inclusiveness, multisensory education and lifelong learning. We need more K-12 certified dance teachers so that dance may be a part of every child's life."
Chicago National Association of Dance Masters
Year founded: 1912
Mission: The Training School covers educational theory, teaching techniques and personal dance development, while the Convention focuses on improving teachers' technique and providing new choreographed materials. Dance & More caters to young teachers/assistants considering professional careers.
Kathy Velasco, director:
"We observe increasing interest, not only in what to teach, but how to teach it, when in a student's development to teach it and why to teach it.
"The general public has much more exposure to certain forms of dance than in the past, which drives the culture's perception of what dance is and should be. The proliferation of competitive opportunities has raised awareness of what the human body may be capable of in both teachers and students."
Dance Educators of America
Teacher Training & Certification Program
Year founded: 1941
Mission and evolution: The program has evolved from courses of study in classical ballet, tap and children's work to include classical and contemporary jazz dance, modern, basic anatomy, basic music theory, theatrical acrobatics, theater dance and studio management. In general, more detail is paid to technique and examinations are now more complex.
Charles Kelley, administrator of training programs: "Teachers are currently trying to improve their abilities and look for further certification from recognized dance teacher organizations. Parents are better informed about dance and look for studios with certified teachers.
"I hope the future of teacher training continues on the course that it is on currently-more teachers wanting to become better teachers through training. There is an old saying, 'As the twig is bent, so grows the tree,' and in dance that is so true. A bad teacher passes on bad technique and makes bad students, and a good teacher passes on good technique and makes better students and dancers."
Dance Masters of America
Year founded: 1884
Mission: To provide certification programs, updated syllabi and testing and a host of national and regional educational and performance venues. DMA's Teacher Training School, which moved to the University at Buffalo in 1997, emphasizes dance somatics, injury prevention, wellness and many other related subjects.
Tom Ralabate, chair of education strategy:
"Due to our global society, the most profound change in dance education has been the move to a more integrated and diverse dance curriculum. I see the use of more instructional technology integrated into the teaching and learning of dance. I also see a hopeful move of educators in all sectors coming together to share the best of their worlds."
92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center
Dance Education Laboratory
Year founded: 1995
Mission: Through workshops and week-long intensives throughout the school year, DEL helps dance teachers expand their portfolio of skills and integrate their work with history, sociology, literature and art programs at their schools. Many of the models for the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning Dance were developed at DEL.
John-Mario Sevilla, newly appointed director of DEL: "It was Jody [Gottfried, co-founder of DEL]'s feeling then, and still is, that the state of dance education is rather poor. There are approximately 1,400 public schools in the city of New York, and only 400 teachers in theater and dance total. That means a significant portion of students have no exposure to dance or theater in schools."
Renata Celichowska, Harkness Dance Center director: "It's a testimony to DEL that the basic philosophy is so solid that it hasn't had to reinvent itself. We'd like to see more integration of creativity and improvisation along with technique. We'd like more dialogue among public schools, universities and private dance studios, as we're an amalgam of all three. The more people we have speaking about dance, the more dance educators we have out there, from the tap teacher in Montana to the curator of the Lincoln Center Dance Library."
The Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies
Certification Programs in Laban Movement Studies
Year founded: 1972
Mission and evolution: What started as the Effort/Shape Certification Program has expanded over the years to include, in addition to the work of Laban and Bartenieff, an introduction to the developments of that work, such as the Kestenberg Movement Profile and Bonnie Cohen's Body-Mind Centering. It is also now an NASD-accredited graduate-level program.
Regina Miranda, LIMS CEO/director of arts & culture: "The field of Movement Studies has grown tremendously, and the Laban/Bartenieff movement theories are currently recognized as the DNA of movement, as a kind of knowledge that is applicable to diverse areas. Thanks to technology, the international dialogue with colleagues across the broader spectrum of arts is extending the vision of dance beyond the immediate concerns of the discipline and fostering collaboration with other areas.
"We perceive a growing interest in the Bartenieff Fundamentals among dance teachers. In addition to developing and enhancing technique, they want to teach students how to be healthy and more connected with themselves, not only as performers but also as human beings. We are well-aware that a good teacher has the opportunity and privilege to inspire, enrich and foster not only students' careers but also their lives. Thus, we are continually engaged in reviewing our curriculum, practices and philosophy to determine the directions we want to pursue."
The Kennedy Center
Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers
Year founded: 1976
Changing Education Through the Arts
Year founded: 1999
Mission: PDOT helps educators hone their skills in teaching in, through and about the arts by providing hands-on experience in various artforms, exploring the interrelationship between artforms and the curriculum and facilitating encounters with artists, among other offerings.
CETA is a school reform effort that helps teachers impact student learning through arts-integrated instruction. In 2006, 16 schools and 340 teachers participated in the program. Since then, they report improved student learning and teacher engagement, and a general increase in collaborative learning.
Amy L. Duma, director of teacher and school programs: "Now, there seems to be more interest in integrating dance with other subject areas, and teacher training reflects that interest."
Darrell Ayers, vice president of education: "The Kennedy Center has worked on more clearly defining what good arts integration looks like and how it can positively affect student learning. We are working to create seminars on how to plan and present effective residencies in schools with teachers.
"Dance teacher training needs to be a two-pronged approach, teaching dancers how to teach dance and teaching dancers how to work effectively in schools with classroom teachers. Colleges and universities need to continue thinking of ways to help dancers become better teachers. Most professional dancers, actors, musicians, etc., will teach at some point in their lives, either because of financial necessity or a desire to pass on what they know."
Donee Teacher presents a Certificate of Recognition to teachers who complete a continuing dance education program. Simply send a letter to DT?Recognizes, Dance Teacher, 110 William St, 23nd Fl, New York, NY 10038. Include your address, name of the organization, proof of participation in the program you attended and a brief description of how the experience has impacted your teaching.…