Archive for the ‘Dance’ Category

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Belfast Flying Shoes

March 31, 2021

Dancing

How about a Social Break? Here’s a Friday night opportunity…

Belfast Flying Shoes has a vision: Bring folks together for a bit of music and dancing, some community connection, a wee skosh of silliness, and more.

April 2, at 7:00 pm and hosted by Raelin Callahan, Chrissy Fowler, and Glen Loper. Tunes by Bethany Waickman and Glen Loper: The Old Favorite (G jig) / Liza Jane (A reel) and Sheebeg Sheemore (D walz)

REGISTER HERE

Beforehand…

April 2 – BFS RADIO HOUR on WBFY:
Jonathan Freedner (BFS dancer and volunteer) is putting together this month’s BFS RadioHour, Fri, April 2.  BFS Radio Hour at 6:00 pm each first Friday at 100.9 FM or via the WBFY website – belfastcommunityradio.org/ or streamdb9web.securenetsystems.net/cirrusencore/WBFY

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Aim High

March 14, 2021

Edgar Degas was a French Impressionist artist famous for his pastel drawings and oil paintings. Degas also produced bronze sculptures, prints and drawings. Degas is especially identified with the subject of dance; more than half of his works depict dancers. 19 July 1834 – 17 September 1917

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Arts Education Month

March 2, 2021

YAHOOOOO and Happy Arts Education Month!

I know this March is a bit different than other years but we as visual and performing arts educators still have important work to do – celebrating and raising up the voices of our students in the arts. The creative minds of arts educators are serving you well, as you plan and implement a way to recognize the accomplishments of your students in the arts. CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU to all the educators who provide an excellent arts education and access to it for learners of all ages. I know that you are proud of your students and I encourage you to take advantage of this month designated to celebrate arts education. Whether you do it in a small or large way, please let me know about the work you are doing so I can include your story on this blog. Your good ideas should be shared so others can learn from you! I appreciate your ongoing commitment to providing THE BEST visual and performing arts education!

Take advantage of Arts Education Month to engage others in the conversation of why a quality arts education is essential for all students. Use the Commissioner of Education Pender Makin’s message, posted on this blog yesterday, to help others understand what we know to be important.

If you’re looking for resources each of the national professional organizations below have a plethora of information on their websites. Check them out and consider becoming members to support their good work.

NAEA

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The National Art Education Association has been celebrating Youth Art Month since the 1960’s. Check out what NAEA has to offer on the topic. The purpose of YAM is to emphasize the value to children from participating in visual art education. 

CFAE

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The Council for Art Education provides tons of resources to help you plan. They have ideas on their site that teachers and students are engaged in across the country. The ideas range from school based to community, both large and small. You can sign up for their free newsletter and receive information on a regular basis.

NAfME

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The National Association for Music Education has been recognizing Music in Our Schools Month since 1985. The idea started in 1973. You can learn what NAfME has to offer on MIOSM by CLICKING HEREThe purpose of MIOSM is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children – and to remind citizens that schools is where all children should have access to music.

EDTA

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The Educational Theatre Association and the International Thespian Society and the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE) all provide resources for theater educators. Their resources are directed towards Thespians, schools, and educators. The purpose is to raise public awareness of the impact of theatre education and draw attention to the need for more access to quality programs for all students.

NDEO

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The National Dance Education Organization celebrates the artistic and academic achievements of exceptional students through the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NAHSDA) by teaming up with the US Department of Education during March. Learn more about their advocacy work by CLICKING HERE.

As you’re contemplating your March celebration checking out a blog post from the past with more resources. CLICK HERE

AFTA

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Americans for the Arts envisions a country where everyone has access to—and takes part in—high quality and lifelong learning experiences in the arts, both in school and in the community. Their arts education council represents a cross section of the country so all voices are represented. The Americans for the Arts website has a plethora of resources on arts education. Check them out by CLICKING HERE.

ARTS ADVOCACY DAY

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We know that arts-rich schools benefit everyone. It is our responsibility to help others who may not understand this statement. Arts Education month provides that opportunity and in the near future the Maine Alliance for Arts Education will be sharing a video of Arts Education Advocacy Day that took place on February 17, 2021.

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Works in Progress

February 18, 2021

Thornton Academy Dance

Emma Campbell, dance teacher at Thornton Academy has shared the amazing virtual performances created by her students. One choreographer student said: “I wanted to create a dance that would help lift everyone’s spirits”. I’d say, her goal was achieved! Emma says: “My students are desperately craving performances.” As I viewed the video I could feel the students emotions, their commitment to dance and their skills are evident. I invite you to support these students by viewing the video that includes a variety of dances. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

My favorite dance is called Never Grow Up. From the dancers: “Our piece is about going through different stages to where we are now. To achieve this for the project, we each embodied the mindset of a different phase in our life to show the growth we have each gone through.”

It’s simple to ‘buy’ your FREE ticket – CLICK HERE – it will take you to the streaming site. You will be asked to add your email address (so you can get the streaming link) and phone number but don’t worry, NO credit card. If you’re wondering what the Thornton dance studio classroom looks like, you’ll see a peek of that also. This is only available until February 21 so don’t hesitate!

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Thornton Academy Dance Company

December 23, 2020

Holiday dance along

Sprinkles the Elf introduces the Thornton Academy Holiday dance along.

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MALI Becomes MAEPL

December 8, 2020

Teacher Network Rebrands its Commitment to Arts Education

The Teacher Leader network known as MALI, or Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, has taken on the new mantle of MAEPL, Maine Arts Education Partners in Leadership, with the revised mission to develop and promote high quality arts education for all.” Leaders of MAEPL say the new name and mission statement better encapsulates what this community of arts educators has been and will continue to be. The process evolved as a result of bringing in new staff and expanding the organization’s leadership structure. Jake Sturtevant, music educator at Falmouth High School, longtime MALI member and Chair of the MAEPL Vision Team, said, “We are still committed to partnering with each other to be resilient, compassionate, and curious Teacher Leaders for our students and in our communities.”

2014 Summer MALI Institute

MALI, now MAEPL, a program of the Maine Arts Commission, is a unique teacher leader development program specifically for preK-12 visual and performing arts (VPA) educators from across the state, one of the very few in the country.  Led by active educators, they focus on the emerging needs of the field.  Components of the year-long program for both classroom teachers and teaching artists in all arts disciplines include community-building, an annual Individualized Professional Development Plan, structured mutual accountability, and leadership development. Over 120 Maine VPA teachers, as well as teaching artists, have participated in the last ten years.  

Even before the pandemic, teachers of the arts often felt isolated.  School district-level trainings are often geared towards general or “core” subject teachers.  “I’m only one of two in my district teaching elementary music.  We are in our little islands, far from anyone else doing what we do,” said Kate Smith, 2014 York County Teacher of the Year and MAEPL Program Team Leader.  “MALI changed all that.” 

Pamela Kinsey, Lori Spruce, Kate Smith, Pam Chernesky, Julie Richard, Winter Retreat 2020

This past year the group took a deep dive into their own organizational structure, assessing and clarifying their policies and processes. Even through the pandemic, the Leadership Teams met and solicited input from the entire membership, and determined a new name, a refined mission, and a new logo. “We chose the whirling maple seed pod as our new symbol because we felt it reflected the best of what we do – taking new ideas, learning and sharing together, then planting them throughout our school communities,” said Jennie Driscoll, visual art educator at Brunswick High School and Vision Team member. “It’s got our energy.”  

In 2020 they also delivered a virtual Summer Institute to 50 VPA educators, addressing the social and emotional resiliency needed this year. In addition, many members led efforts to support and connect with other teachers quickly adjusting to online instruction, leading virtual seminars through the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Arts Commission.

Group exercise at Winter Retreat, 2020

 “MALI grew a wealth of resources and committed members over the years,” said the current Director of Arts Education for the Maine Arts Commission, Martha Piscuskas, referring to the online Resource Bank and Arts Assessment Resources website, available free to all teachers. “We wanted to build on those strengths.” In addition to the professional development programs, next steps include creating an advisory council, streamlining their web presence, and continued advocacy for the sector. 

The group formed in 2010 to focus on student assessments, an emerging need for visual and performing arts teachers at that time. After learning from other states, a small group of educators led by Argy Nestor, the former Director of Arts Education at the Commission, Rob Westerberg, Choral Director at York High School, and Catherine Ring, former school administrator and art teacher, created the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. They established the multi-day Summer Institute, sharing a framework and best practices for successful arts assessment in the classroom. “We quickly became the assessment experts in our schools,” said Sturtevant. 

Hope Lord and Adele Drake, MALI Summer Institute 2017

In 2015 the group added “teacher voice” and advocacy to their mission, becoming the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI), again addressing emerging needs of the sector. “I never would have thought to seek out leadership positions, continue my graduate studies, or have presented at conferences without the support and influence of MALI,” said Iva Damon, visual art teacher and Humanities Department Head at Leavitt Area High School.    

For more information about MAEPL, and to learn about how to get involved, contact Director of Arts Education for the Maine Arts Commission, Martha Piscuskas at martha.piscuskas@maine.gov. Arts education resources developed over the years are accessible through the Maine Arts Commission’s website, https://mainearts.maine.gov/pages/programs/maai.

The Maine Arts Commission is a state agency supporting artists, arts organizations, educators, policy makers, and community developers to advance the arts in Maine since 1966.  www.Mainearts.com


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I Am Grateful for Dance

December 1, 2020

Thornton Academy Dance program

The dance education program at Thornton Academy is well established and meeting the needs of all learners who are deeply engaged in their learning. Thornton Dance educator and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Emma Campbell has high expectations and understands how to connect with all students.

Every year Emma has students respond to the question – What am I grateful for? In a non-Covid year student responses write their gratitude notes on giant cut out leaves and tape them to the mirror in the dance studio.

This year the assignment was adapted to replicate while students are at home this year. They use the Google app called jam board to draft the notes. So everyone contributes a sticky note and then they get to pick from that as groups of that makes sense. Students use this format so there was no need to learn a new concept for the project.

Emma splits the group into breakout rooms to brainstorm thoughts and ideas and recorded one voice from each group and sent Emma the recording. She screen recorded them saying the phrase. Emma takes the footage and voices and does the editing and uploaded it to YouTube. The results are below. A wonderful way to incorporate dance into student thoughts and the outcome is amazing! Thank you Emma and Thornton Academy dancers for sharing your love for dancing and your gratefulness during this season.

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Support the Theatre

November 20, 2020

I LOVE this and hope you will also love this! Filmed London’s West End the song is from The Greatest Showman and is reminding us that the theatre community needs our support.

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Unique Dance

September 26, 2020

Amazing dancers

Phillip Chbeeb performs a beautiful and amazing dance routine with Renee Kester that is so cool you’ll want to watch it twice – these two nailed it. I love the setting of the subway platform as their stage and the choreography is just perfect. The soundtrack is the song “Slip” by Elliot Moss.

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Dance Education

September 16, 2020

Andrew auditions – don’t miss this

Watching this video reminds me of why we should focus on the whole child and why dance is so important. It’s often the art form forgotten in schools. And, during the pandemic dance education is more critical. The dance education programs in place across the state are excellent, sadly there are not many, especially at the high school level. The good news is that almost all music and physical education teachers at the elementary level include dance and movement in their curriculum in some way.

The benefits that dance offer to developing and supporting the body and mind are enormous. There is plenty of research that emphasizes the benefits of dance.

Interestingly enough the Maine Arts Commission (MAC) Teaching Artist Roster has 14 dance teaching artists. Consider bringing a dance educator to your school this year. There is funding available through MACs Arts Learning grants which will become available in January 2021 with a deadline of April 2, 2021. Plan ahead for the next school year.

Let’s think about the possibilities for dance and why the time, right now, is PERFECT!

  • We’re wearing masks, dance doesn’t require speaking or singing, just movement
  • Some dancing requires close contact but it certainly doesn’t have to as you’ll see in Andrew’s video below
  • Dancing doesn’t require dirty hands so there is little reason to be concerned about hygiene
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic is one of the 8 Multiple Intelligences and it is ‘dancing’ – coordinating your mind and your body.

If you’re wondering about the benefits of dancing for all learners watch Andrew in this video.

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