Why do we write? Thoughts on the action of putting pen to paper for dancers, teachers and choreographers
Article written in the framework of the Masters Program for Contemporary Dance Pedagogy at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Frankfurt am Main, September 2011. Published in book form in the publication: FESTZEITSCHRIFT: 50 Jahre TANZausbildung (50 Years of Dance Education), October 2011.
Abstract: The purpose of having an emphasis on writing in the MAztp program is two-fold. The first has to do with the emphasis on communication. The second with having a tool to search for, examine and reflect upon ideas and one’s own values in relation to these ideas.
Writing as a thinker, as an artist, as a teacher – as someone making a contribution in her or his circles of communication – is seen here as an essential component of reflecting on and communicating to others about one’s attentions and viewpoints. Moreover, it is one means by which we integrate and embody, interrelate and combine these thought pathways. Sculpting with words can be a parallel, and relevant, channel of doing the same thing we do with our physical movement research.
Widening the Field: Expanding the Range of Approaches in Contemporary Dance Training
Lecture and Workshop presented at GTF – Gesellschaft für TanzForschung (German Society for Dance Research) Conference: Tanz vermittelt – Tanz vermitteln (Dance Transferred / Dance Transmitting) 23. – 25. München, Germany. October 2009. Later published in a book form in the publication: Tanz vermittelt – Tanz vermitteln, 2010.
Abstract: “Many of us have had the experience of taking class, or teaching class, and feeling: There must be an approach to dance that feels more natural, more accessible, a way of approaching teaching which promotes people feeling graceful and enlivened, while still enhancing therange of their movement invention and their basic creative impulses. This paper, and the focus of my work in the past years, has been in service to this questioning. The pathway of my interest moves increasingly towards a movement approach and style that is accessible to anyone and that engages the intrinsic curiosity and motivation of the participant.”
Further section titles in the first half of the article which addresses teaching methodology: Re-patterning Teaching. Release Technique? Definitions and Language. Directing rather than Collapsing. Personal Movement Research. The Right Problems to Solve.
The second half of the article proposes specific principles for teaching contemporary movement technique. Included are explanations of the principles: Articulation before momentum. Extending your landing gear. The conscious modulation of tone. Working with complex structures rather than simple ones to promote ease. The principle of tensegrity, from Buckminster Fuller, and it’s application to bodily structure.
Outside the Comfort Zone: Approaches for Developing and Integrating New Teaching Materials and Practices
Lecture and Workshop presented at GTF – Gesellschaft für TanzForschung (German Society for Dance Research) Conference on Dance Pedagogy and Methods, Marburg, Germany, 8 – 10 May 2009.
Abstract: Employing the practice of shifting between student, artist and teacher minds, we examine a variety of entrances to the creative process. (What helps us to feel creative, nurtured, stimulated? What causes us to feel frustrated, shut down, blocked?) We practice changing roles in the service of building up a broader repertory of methods for engaging others in the learning process.
We will also actively explore ways in which the areas of technique, improvisation and composition can be combined as complementary components of creative movement studies in dance. We will research how these different phases of the research are mutually supportive, and how they can happily co-exist within a single lesson plan.
Planting Seeds: Strategies for Survival and Sustainability in a Time of Technical Eclecticism
Lecture presented at GTF – Gesellschaft für TanzForschung (German Society for Dance Research) Conference on Choreography, Cologne, Germany, 27-28 June 2008. Later published in Journal of German Society for Dance Research, Fall 2008.
Abstract: What do dancers need today, in terms of “technique,” to be able to function effectively, creatively, and safely in the field? What are the discrepancies between what dancers today are studying, and what skills are asked of them in the creation process? Additionally we might ask: what modes of transmission (vermittlung), communication, approach, researching, or guiding are well suited to creating this self-responsible, informed, creative dancer/collaborator?
Using Kinetic Models for Facilitating Behavioral Re-patterning
Lecture/Demonstration given in the frame of 1. Biennale Tanzausbildung / Tanzplan Deutschland (The First Dance Education Biennale / DancePlan Germany), Berlin, Germany, 7 October 2007. Later published as an article in book for by TanzPlan Deutschland.
Abstract: This lecture explores using the hands to model complex behavior, not only as a tool of demonstration, but also as a means of imparting experiential knowledge to students as they perform these behaviors. Audience members were guided through a wide variety of these learning experiences themselves.
Neue Studiengänge und Studienkonzepte mit dem Schwerpunkt Tanzpädagogik/Tanzvermittlung (New Study Programs and Study Concepts with an emphasis on Dance Pedagogy): The Masters Program for Contemporary Approaches to Dance Pedagogy
Report presented at the Arbeitskreis Tanzpädagogik/Tanzvermittlung (Work Group for Dance Pedagogy and Transmission of Dance Research) as part of the TanzPlan Deutschland WorkGroup Conference, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, April 2008
Abstract: Description of the fundamental tenets of this innovative program, now two years into it’s development. A description of who the course if for, it’s educational aims, and it’s proposed placement for graduates.
On Considering a Comparative Approach: A Model for Classification of Dance Techniques
Article published in the book Wissen in Bewegung (Knowledge in Motion). Published by the GTF – Gesellschaft für TanzForschung (German Society for Dance Research) April 2007. (Translated into German language)
Abstract: What if we could increase our capacity to look beyond stylistic considerations in teaching, making and criticizing dance? In what ways can we expand our frame of reference, see similarities between styles, approaches and techniques, and discover more cooperative ways of sharing knowledge and information? How might a course of study in pedagogy prepare one to teach not only existing methods, but encourage the development of new approaches, new techniques, new methods of teaching?
While there exist many excellent, progressive systems available for educating dancers, there exist few programs that promote innovative, contemporary approaches to teaching and guiding movement research. One obstacle is the difficulty to recognize and, hence, classify what is fundamental to various contemporary styles. It is a challenge, therefore, to determine what pedagogic principles and methodologies may advance more effective training of contemporary dancers. Towards this end, this article considers ways of comparing various types of movement research and listing essential attributes according to shared qualities or characteristics.
Identifying the Reach in Counterbalancing - or - Grasping the difference between ‘Dependent’ and ‘Non-Dependent’ Counterbalance
Article written for Essentials column of Contact Quarterly. (not yet published) December 2006.
Abstract: The fascination with gravity and falling, that is such an important part of the work with Contact Improvisation, often fails to recognize another physical reality that is also essential for developing trust, quality and fulfilment in dancing: the aspect of “reaching”.
In the world of dance much attention has been given in recent years to understanding the necessity of releasing excessive and chronic tension from our bodies. We can observe that these ideas are becoming more integrated common knowledge, however, we may also notice a growing aversion to the use of tensile force in the body. “Release”, as it is referred to in dance, doesn’t not mean collapsing into gravity, or one’s partner. Through the use of tensile force, engaged to one’s center of mass, we can ‘release’ our awareness and vitality out into the environment.
ECITE 2006: A report on the European Contact Improvisation Teachers Exchange 2006.
Report published in Contact Quarterly. Fall 2006.
Abstract: Observations and reflections on the Morning Teaching Exchange Group experience, and the extremely productive group I was fortunate enough to be part of.
Conflict and Coincidence: Contemporary Trends in Contact Improvisation
Lecture at University of Antwerp / Kunstencentrum Monty. October 2006.
Abstract: A survey of major influences in Contact Improvisation Teaching and Performance in Europe since 1980.
On the Road in Korea and Japan
Article published in Contact Quarterly, Spring 2005.
Abstract: A personal account of three teaching and performing tours in Korea and Japan, including a choreographic collaboration with Korean Traditional Dancer/Choreographer Shin Eun Ju.
A Breath of Spring
Article commissioned and published in Korean Dance Journal / Chang Mu, Spring 2004. Also published in Contact Quarterly, Fall 2005.
Abstract: Observations of the influence of Korean Traditional Dance on Contemporary Dance in Korea. It analyses the very specific breathing patterns used in traditional dance and relates these to the fluid sensibility regarding floorwork and horizontality in Korean contemporary dance.
Accelerating the Learning Curve: Exploring systems for teaching contact and partnering to advanced dancers
Article published in Contact Quarterly, February 2004.
Abstract: This article explores an approach to teaching advanced dancers based on palettes and principles. This approach is inspired by The Pattern Language of architect Christopher Alexander, an approach concerned with the development of an architecture based upon human living patterns rather than external conceptions of form.
Once: Impressions of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Solo at Rosas Performance Space
Review of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s solo performance, her second solo venture, created 20 years after Violin Phase, her first solo. Brussels, Belgium, February 2003.
Skin and Architectural Space
Lecture given at the Koinci-dance Symposium, Hamburg, September 2003.
Abstract: The Koinci-dance Symposium was designed to bring architects and choreographers together to exchange ideas bridging the disciplines. This lecture related several buildings in Amsterdam to choreographic process and imagery.
Skin Breathes. It is alive, in a state of constant transformation, and functionally expressive of the interior constitution of the organism.
Proceeding from a brief analysis of functional and pragmatic characteristics of skin or membrane in dance and architecture, the thesis moves to a questioning of the fundaments of expression. It examines such concerns as the transparency of internal structure, sensuality and fitness, and the ascription of attributes and values based on perception of qualities of touch. This membrane acts as a projection surface for the perceived attributes of the organism, through which we compile our gestalt of its identity.
Music and Dance Improvisation in Italy: Founding of the ZIP Festival in Orvieto
Article published in Contact Quarterly, Fall 2001.
Abstract: History of the place and this new improvisation festival with roots in the cities on-going jazz tradition. Observations of the first iteration of this festival.
On the subject of teaching Contact Improvisation in the Modern Dance environment
Article published in Contact Quarterly, Spring 1998.
Abstract: Observations about seeing partnering sequences derived from the art of contact improvisation performed by modern dance companies and implications for both dancers health and aesthetic consideration. Considerations of possible avenues towards educational and training approaches for a more sustainable approach.