Friday, December 16, 2011

"Free At Last"

Well I made it through the Masters program in Dance Education at NYU. I literally had to sing as my very last act of being a graduate student. With the exception of finishing up the final of this class I am done.

I wanted to share a few thoughts before officially being finished. First I really enjoyed looking at everyone's websites and blogs. I thought that many of them were very original and some are quite informative. Love Melania's and Catherine's sites and totally appreciate Rachel for posting the article about dance as a radical statement. I also really enjoyed being in class with people in other disciplines. Even if we did not get to interact as much as I would have liked, it was great to have another energy other than what exists in the dance department. I also think we actually missed many opportunities for cross disciplinary engagement because of how the entire department and program is structured. Maybe there is a technological answer to that, like some of the websites that people designed. 

I also want to put a shout out to my team, S.H.A.R, for doing an incredible job on our project with very limited time and fighting sleep deprivation. I was really pleased with what we came up with and totally into the fact that is was so different from everyone else's.

So as I complete these last few details for this class I want to leave you all with a few thoughts about "higher education" which I have a love/hate relationship with. Here are my queries: What constitutes education? Why is it higher? Why is Elementary education not called Formative education? Why is there "higher thinking"? What does that mean anyway? How important is that piece of paper? And is it more important than education? What happened to life as our teacher about the world? According to Billy Joel, isn't "just surviving a noble cause". Why don't we get credit for that? Have we so codified learning that it is more of a numbing, business-like experience rather then an expansive and transformative one? And as physical learners and educators, why do we still spend so much time learning in an very traditional manner with a large emphasis on knowledge that seems removed form our bodies?

I know, I am so analytical, as my brother has reminded me on many occasions.  So to answer some of these queries with a little light heartedness I have attached some of my favorite quotes that I have accumulated over the years and a few lyrics about the value of life and learning.

always remember :
"the wrong answer is the right answer looking for a different question"

“Life may not be the party we hoped for but while we are here we might as well dance.”

“If I can’t dance I don’t want to be a part of your revolution” 
Emma Goldman (if you don't know who she is, shame on you, but guess what, you can google her and "voila") Einstein would have loved google

“When we walk to the edge of all the light we have
And take that step into the darkness of the unknown,
we must believe that one of two things will happen --
There will be something solid for us to stand on,
Or, we will be taught how to fly.”


“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”   

You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don't.
You have wings.   Learn to use them, and fly.

and finally from a song I love and find totally appropriate for my conflicting emotions about "higher education"
from  Closer to Fine by The Indigo Girls
"I went to see the doctor of philosophy
.With a poster of Rasputin and a beard down to his knee. He never did marry or see a B-grade movie
. He graded my performance, he said he could see through me. I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind, got my paper and I was free.
I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains,
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain. There's more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line
. The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine."

"Free at Last"

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hard at Work

Working on a project about Rudolph Laban for my Intermediate Technique and Pedagogy class and came across this video about him and his work. So I thought I would use it in my powerpoint and then realized I could also post it on my blog, which we very easy to do and a first for me, as this is my first blog.

I thought his was a great use of technology for dance, as it gave me immediate access to visual information on Laban.


Friday, November 25, 2011


Hmmm... the use of technology and its impact on the arts. Blackboard, plus or minus. I have to say that Blackboard has not been much of a hassle for me. Some things work really well. Assignment postings, the communications listing with everyone's e-mail makes it easy to get in touch with a classmate, the posting of class documents on line is all great and works well. Plus it saves a lot of paper.

The discussion board is another issue however. When you have weekly assignments that you must read and respond to it can be very overwhelming. Especially if there are 35 plus posts for each topic. I almost feel like it has replaced a lively classroom debate, which seems to have disappeared from Higher Education. I truly think that the classroom sizes on the graduate level are out of control particularly in the Dance department. In the two and a half years that I have been here I have only had one class under 20 people. Most classes have been 30 plus with this year's Intermediate Technique and Pedagogy class topping  out over 40. They needed to divide the class because there was no way of accommodating that many people in the studio. I am sorry to say that I don't even know most of my classmates names. I however do not blame myself entirely for this as in many ways it seems built into the system.

Our dependence on Blackboard takes away from the very important aspect of person to person exchange, of dialogue, of debate. It is really easy to sit at home and espouse my viewpoint or philosophy on the weekly topic and not ever respond to or really care about what anyone else has to say. Oh sure I read the ones form people who I like or know but generally it is almost impossible to read everyone's responses. Then when we superficially touch on topics in class I see how uniformed people really are when it comes to truly analyzing and debating the issues at hand, myself included.

The one thing I thought I was going to get out of my Graduate education was engagement and lively debate about what is important in the performing arts (dance) today and how do we effectively educate the next generation to be leaders artistically and educationally.


Okay just spent the last two days preparing my Powerpoint for my Seminar class. Can't believe I still have to do one for Tech class. also spent hours figuring out how to put a video gadget on this blog. Once I did it all was fine and it made sense but finding out how to do it was vert convoluted and the google help was not very helpful.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Just finished my movie project for tech class. It wound up being 6 minutes. 3 minutes more than required. I just couldn't stop myself once I got started, besides it's fun to do.

Still catching up with all my others classes. This semester is truly overwhelming. Having four jobs in addition is totally stressing me out. Teaching almost 30 classes a week 25 of those to Elementary students is really demanding and rough on my vocal chords. Totally lost my voice this week.

Well back to work, my movie is still uploading to my webpage. Guess I'll catch up on reading for seminar while I wait.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hard at work

At home trying to still catch up on everything after being away for four days. Couldn't really concentrate on anything while in Minneapolis except our presentation, performing, taking workshops and networking. Barely did any schoolwork and I am feeling the backlog

Finally had a chance to take a look at the movie assignment and get started on it. Putting the laments together now. Hope to finish it tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NDEO Conference

Got back from NDEO conference on Sunday. Been in a Whirlwind ever since trying to catch up on work.

Had a great time at the conference. Our presentation on late adulthood went really spectacularly and I saw people I  haven't seen in over 25 years.

Got to perform at the closing reception in a dance that was put together for dancers over 50. We had four rehearsals. The piece went really well.

Was not impressed with Minneapolis. I really feel spoiled living in NYC for the past 33 years

Need to buckle down now and catch up on all this work.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Dance & Technology Blog

This is my first entry on this blog
Off to Minneapolis for the NDEO convention.
Will blog once I am setled in and have some fun anecdotes about the Twin Cities.
Never been looking forward to it.