Dance Pedagogy: Across Geographies, Theories, and Spaces

A PERSONAL JOURNEY INTO OHAD NAHARIN’S GAGA TECHNIQUE:

DISCOVERING PEDAGOGICAL APPLICATIONS FOR ENGAGING THE PERFORMER

Laura Erwin

 Masters in Contemporary Dance, London Contemporary Dance School

Abstract

2014 Author: Laura Erwin Dancer: Laura Erwin Photographer: Tomoko Kinshita

2014 Author: Laura Erwin
Dancer: Laura Erwin
Photographer: Tomoko Kinshita

This article opens questions concerning how the field of dance is taught and how this teaching affects the final performance.  This questioning is approached through the author’s personal experience into the practice of Gaga technique.  Through an analysis from differing viewpoints, the author discusses how this technique can offer significant and useful contributions to developing new insights into what it means to find an engaging performance. The study first seeks to identify the skills that Gaga cultivates which the writer suggests are relevant for performance training. The second section then seeks to identify, with reference to other dance sources, what could contribute to an engaging performance and the attributes and skills that enable a dancer to attain this. In doing so it considers how Gaga technique offers the means to bring these skills to life within each individual performer.

Biography

Laura graduated with first class honours in Dance (BA hons) from Middlesex University in 2009 before completing a Masters at London Contemporary Dance School. She now works freelance in London as a performer and teacher, including work as a Lecturer at Teesside, Middlesex and Kingston University. Her key interests currently lie within Somatic Practices, Bartenieff Fundamentals, and Gaga technique as methods for  individual performers to personally discover engagement within their own bodies . She seeks to apply this knowledge to Higher Education Pedagogy alongside her performance practice.

To view article, click link (press Back to return to website): Erwin.pdf

 

DANCE AND EMBODIED INTELLIGENCE

Matthew Henley

MFA in Dance and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, University of Washington

Abstract

2014 Author: Matthew Henley Dancers: Matthew Henley and Francis A. Stansky Photographer: Paul H. Taylor Choreography: Randy James

2014 Author: Matthew Henley
Dancers: Matthew Henley and Francis A. Stansky
Photographer: Paul H. Taylor
Choreography: Randy James

In this paper, I outline several theories from psychology that define the cognitive structure of nonverbal thought and suggest this type of cognition is vital to our understanding of the world around us.  I then discuss why this type of thinking might be undervalued in education and how dance can be used as a tool for its explicit development.  In education, many curricula focus on symbolic ways of thinking, both alphabetical and mathematical, dance education offers an opportunity for the intentional development of thinking through the modalities of perception, action, and emotion.  In the dance classroom, the whole person, present in the environment, becomes the object of study.  The dance classroom is a laboratory for experimenting with the structures of nonverbal thought.  If the thesis of this paper is correct, dance is an opportunity to support the very foundations of our intelligence.

 Biography

Matthew Henley Ph.D received a B.A. Religious Studies and B.F.A Dance from the University of Arizona in Tucson where he also performed with Orts Theater of Dance.  After completing his undergraduate studies he moved to New York where he performed with Randy James Dance Works and Sean Curran Company.  He received his M.F.A. Dance and Ph.D. Educational Psychology: Learning Science and Human Development from the University of Washington.  His research focuses on applying theories and methods from experimental psychology and neuroscience to understanding the unique nature of learning in dance. Currently, he is an assistant professor in the Department of Dance at Texas Woman’s University.

To view article, click link (press Back to return to website): Henley.pdf

TEACHING EAST AFRICAN DANCES IN HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE U.S.:

RECONCILING CONTENT AND PEDAGOGY 

Alfdaniels Mabingo

Fulbright Exchange Graduate Student and Adjunct Faculty of East African Dance Program in Dance Education, New York University

MA Dance Education, New York University

Abstract

Photographer: Allan Tumusiime Title: Kikankane. Photo taken during rehearsals. Choreography staged in April 2014, at Frederick Loewe Theatre, New York Performer: Alfdaniels Mabingo

Photographer: Allan Tumusiime
Title: Kikankane. Photo taken during rehearsals. Choreography staged in April 2014, at Frederick Loewe Theatre, New York
Performer: Alfdaniels Mabingo

African dances are an integral part of higher education curriculum in the U.S. Adaptation of these dances from their traditional African contexts of practice into a western classroom has implications on how their content is reconciled with pedagogy. This paper explores how I used Vygotsky’s theory of zone of proximal development, Kolb’s theory of experiential learning, Lave and Wenger’s theory of situated learning, the social constructivist theory of learning, Laban movement analysis, Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of flow/optima experience, Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, Turino’s concept of participatory performance and Bloom’s taxonomy of education objectives to teach Ugandan traditional dances at New York University. The article covers how I selected dances for the course, developed lesson plans, gave feedback to students, developed and applied assessment rubrics for the African dance course, while allowing students to partake in the learning processes and understanding the social and cultural applications of the dances. 

Biography

Alfdaniels Mabingo holds an MA in dance education from New York University, as well as an MA in performing arts and a BA in dance, both from Makerere University in Uganda.  He has also worked as an assistant lecturer of dance at Makerere University. Mabingo is a recipient of E. George Payne Award at NYU, Fulbright scholars in residence (SIR), and Fulbright Junior Staff development Scholarship. He specializes in dance in higher education and professions, African dance in urban education, pedagogy of African dances, study abroad and exchange programs in dance, and community dance. After graduating with his MA, he served as an adjunct faculty of African dances at New York University.

To view article, click link (press Back to return to website): Mabingo.pdf

 

J’OUVERT SPEAKS TO THE PRESENT:

A KINESTHETIC JOURNEY THROUGH MOMENTS IN AFRICAN-CARIBBEAN HISTORY

Nai-Whedai Sheriff

 Ed.M, Temple University

MS in Organizational Psychology, Baruch College, City University of New York.

 Abstract

2014 Author:  Nai-whedai Sheriff Photographer: Brian Mengini  Choreographer: Nai-whedai Sheriff Dancers: Yattah Blanton, Nai-whedai Sheriff, Terri Brown, Chrisheena Boyd, Leslie Cornish, Ciera Connor, Corey Melancon, Vanessa White, Nia Shand, Kylia Gray

2014 Author: Nai-whedai Sheriff
Photographer: Brian Mengini
Choreographer: Nai-whedai Sheriff
Dancers: Yattah Blanton, Nai-whedai Sheriff, Terri Brown, Chrisheena Boyd, Leslie Cornish, Ciera Connor, Corey Melancon, Vanessa White, Nia Shand, Kylia Gray

J’ouvert commemorates the emancipation of the enslaved Africans in the Caribbean from bondage. This event is celebrated by many, but few know or remember the significance of it since European colonization of the Caribbean completely disrupted the ancestral connections of an entire people. Events like J’ouvert are important to rediscovering connections to those who fought to preserve their culture. Without an investigation and interrogation of the information told about one’s past, specifically one which did not form as part of a dominant culture, how can that culture remain alive in the people? Through its night time revelry and processional street dance, J’ouvert captures the essence of the people’s resistance to injustices in the past. This paper traces the historical development of J’ouvert and proposes an exploration of this event and its related Caribbean dances as an embodied experience to help tap into ancestral voices warning the present to continually confront the “oppressor.”

Biography

Nai-Whedai Sheriff, founder of Urban Dance & Company, has performed, taught (Hip Hop, Street funk, liturgical movement, and competitive dance), and choreographed at differing sites for over 20 years.  She has also choreographed and taught for the University of the Arts and Neumann University in Philadelphia, PA. Trained in Modern dance and Afro-Caribbean movement, Nai-Whedai received her Bachelors in Business and a Masters of Science in Organizational Psychology from Baruch College, City University of New York. Nai-Whedai danced with Something Positive in New York and Kariamu & Company in Philadelphia. In May 2014 she will complete her Masters in Dance Education (ED.M) from Temple University.

 To view article, click link (press Back to return to website): Sheriff.pdf