DANCE TEACHER RECOGNIZES: Special Edition

By Elder, Lee Erica | Dance Teacher, January 2008 | Go to article overview

DANCE TEACHER RECOGNIZES: Special Edition


Elder, Lee Erica, Dance Teacher


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.

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