Thursday, September 29, 2016


What is innovation? When does technique no longer become the foundation for dance or art? Artists push boundaries all the time and have done so for centuries. With the invent of shows/companies such as Cirque du Soleil, mainstream audiences now crave dance performances that involve more than technique, costumes, and scenery. Is the post modern movement having a resurgence or are millenials trying to marry the internet and social media with movement, sculpture, or poetry recitation?

Perhaps returning to pure technique might be innovation. I am unsure. But I wonder if the push by festivals and shows such as Cirque du Soleil have begun taking away the beauty of movement in its simplicity. Is a return to simplistic work classicism or is it innovative? Even fashion returns to classic looks every few years to remind and refresh awareness of origins of fashion. Should this be done in dance or are studio owners who now feel booty shorts are not enough coverage for young dancers leading the charge to make dance and costumes more age appropriate?

But is this innovation or conservatism? How do we as teachers and choreographers emphasize foundation in dance without alienating students who turn to dance because of things like aerial work with scarves or dancing with/on poles? Even rhythmic gymnasts must put down their balls, hoops, and other apparatus to execute basic movement.

This week long challenge of technology seems to have me longing for simpler times and cleaner movement.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

integrating technology with teaching

There was a time when using a sound system to teach dance in a studio was easy to do. The studio/school provided a phonograph, tape deck, CD player, or minidisc player. Instructors brought their own music to use in the systems provided by their employers.

I reluctantly added iPod capability to the fixed sound system in our school in 2009. My hesitancy to upgrade technology proved to create challenges for my instructors. However, our staff now seems to rely on older technology such as portable sound systems now that we operate out of community halls to more easily access the community.

I thought I was being progressive by using a singular Bluetooth speaker with an Ipad so that I would personally be able to utilize my own music library stored on the iPhone and Ipad. Pairing a sound speaker to the phone and tablet proved easy and made teaching at multiple locations much easier.

The Bose SoundLink, however, proved too heavy and bulky to transport everywhere so we decided to begin using a UEroll at our main location. The shape of the speaker was much more recognizable and conducive to carry-on luggage screening. Yet the first generation did not provide enough sound for some of the albums stored in my music library.

So I purchased a UEroll2 to pair with the first UEroll. Instruction booklets are no longer provided, which bothers me as I want something I can read and hold, not something electronic. The information provided on the app was less than helpful. After twenty minutes I was able to pair the two speakers on Monday night. The speakers did not immediately pair up again (as inferred would happen by instructions on the app) when I tried to use them on Tuesday. I only used fifteen minutes to pair the speakers on Tuesday. I fist pumped the air at my minor victory and thought I can handle some of this technological improvement only to realize I use speakers that might be considered yesterday's inventions.

Is learning to pair Bluetooth speakers an example of multidisciplinary work as the instructor becomes the accompanist once the speakers and music device are used? Does this simplify what I was taught so many years ago about using video, slides, or other electronic devices to facilitate teaching or performance? If the technology used improves the learning experience, then are we not using multidisciplinary tools in our teaching? Or is this the starting point for future instructors?

Something to think about. My frustration during this process reminded me to think about how I can be more clear when explaining an exercise or phrase of choreography.

Monday, September 19, 2016