Archive for the ‘Dance’ Category

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MALI Reflections

August 8, 2017

What’s it really all about

As I take a few minutes to reflect on the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Summer Institute that was held last week at Thomas College for three days I can’t help but think about what MALI is really all about. If I had to select one word it would be COMMUNITY. As many of you know there are about 1200 visual and performing arts educators in the state and I really don’t know how many teaching artists there are throughout Maine. Both were well represented last week. Bottom line, each of the participants were teachers, striving to be better at teaching and the desire to connect with others who care deeply about arts education.

Wow, I am so humbled by their commitment and proud of what they accomplished in three days!

Reasons for MALIs success

  • Teachers teaching teachers is a critical component
  • MALI is a community that provides ongoing support. Teachers learn that they have peers throughout the state experiencing the same or similar situations that they do day to day. They no longer feel like islands.
  • This summer’s institute had three strands; one for Teaching Artist Leaders, one for returning TLs and one for new TLs. The strands are customized for the unique group and individual needs. The strands came together for cross pollination and collaborations are formed.
  • All of the ideas are based on research and what is in the best interest of teacher development.
  • Phase 7 New Teacher Leaders

    A Design Team guides the work of MALI and plan every detail of the summer institute. They are totally committed to contributing above and beyond.

  • The MALI community grows each year with some teacher leaders returning year after year.
  • Through their work TLs find their voice and are invigorated to return to their school districts. Many are recognized in their new leadership role and are invited to the table at the local level. They serve on district leadership committees, lead the school and district professional development work for all subjects and grade level teachers, and are honored for their leadership.
  • The institute schedule is different each year to adapt to the changing needs but the foundation is built on What is good teaching? What is good learning? What is good assessment?
  • Teaching Artist Leaders Phase 6 and 7

    In 2015 Teacher Leaders created a set of Belief Statements on that include the topics that are vital to Maine arts education today: Arts Integration, Advocacy, Assessment Literacy, Creativity and 21st Century Skills, Educator Effectiveness, Effective Teaching and Learning, Proficiency Based Learning and Student Centered Learning, and Teacher Leadership.

  • Teachers are connected and become Critical Friends to help support each other’s teaching.
  • MALI models teaching tools

So, what makes involvement in the MALI community so special?

Looking closely at Tim Christensen’s pottery are Jenni Driscoll, Jean Phillips, Tim, and Charlie Johnson

Participants comments

  • “MALI has helped me grow tremendously as a professional and my students grow tremendously as learners.” ~ Charlie Johnson, Visual Art Phase 1
  • “It’s leadership through the arts and as artist/teachers we have so much to offer.” ~ Cindi Kugell, Visual Art Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI has made me feel like I have a voice in my school, my community and in my state. ~ Jen Etter, Music Phase 3 Teacher Leader
  • “It is a lifeline for arts educators and education. ~ Jane Snider, Visual Art Phase 2 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI allows us to share our artistic strengths and perspectives in a forum which will directly impact the educational experiences of children across the state of Maine. ~ Brigid Rankowski, Phase 6 Teaching Artist Leader
  • “I feel so validated in my beliefs in the arts being so important to the “WHOLE CHILD”. This week has allowed my confidence to soar in my building!” Amy Nucci, Visual Art Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • Brian Evans-Jones, Teaching Artist Leader conducts poetry mini-lesson

    “MALI has helped me grow more confident both personally and professionally, especially as a leader. ~ Mandi Mitchell, Visual Art Phase 5 Teacher Leader

  • “It makes me brave. By stepping out of my comfort zone to try new things and improve my practice. MALI is my safety net. ~ Dorrie Tripp, Music Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI allows me to connect with exceptional arts educators from across the state; share resources and knowledge and improve my teaching!” ~ Pam Chernesky, Visual Art Phase 6
  • “I am thrilled to be part of the MALI team and so energized for my year of learning ahead.” ~ Kris Bisson, Music Phase 7
  • “Because of my role as a MALI Teacher Leader I got the opportunity to be chosen as one of three teachers to lead the professional development work in my district. It takes you places.” ~ Holly Leighton, Visual Art Phase 5
  • “Through the MALI Summer Session I discovered that both my art and my teaching are really directed at the same goal (engagement/interaction) and that who I am is as important to teaching & learning as what I know”. ~Tom Luther, Teaching Artist, Music Phase 7 Teaching Artist Leader

Next steps

Some of the MALI Teacher Leaders (TL) and Teaching Artists Leaders (TAL) will be sharing their learning in a workshop format at the local or regional level. Others will be continuously sharing in a social media mode. The Phase 7 summer institute was really about customizing the learning for each educator. I will keep you posted as they wrap up their plans for the school year I will share the information here on the blog and also on the Maine Arts Assessment site and through the communications that are delivered by the Maine Arts Commission.

Please let me know (argy.nestor@maine.gov) if you have any questions and are interested in applying to be involved as a Teacher Leader or Teaching Artist Leader for Phase 8.

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MALI Summer Institute: Day 2

August 4, 2017

Wowzer!

Kate Cook Whitt

Day 2 kicked off with an amazing STEAM presentation from Kate Cook-Whitt. The opening was titled This is your Brain on Art: Neuroscience and the Arts  – “Examining the World Through Different Lenses: Art and Science”. Kate is an Assistant Professor of Education at the Center for Innovation in Education (CIE) at Thomas College. Participants agreed that Kate’s presentation was outstanding!

Teacher Leaders participated in several great mini-sessions, some led by teacher leaders and teaching artists leaders themselves including:

  • Nancy Frolich, Social Justice mini-lesson

    Social Justice and the Power of the Arts with Nancy Frohlich from Leaps of Imagination

  • 7 Strategies of Assessment with Jeff Beaudry from USM and visual art teacher leaders Holly Leighton and Samantha Armstrong

  • National Board Certification with visual art teacher leader Danette Kerrigan

  • Connecting the STUDIO HABITS of MIND to the NATIONAL STANDARDS in the Visual Arts classroom with visual art teacher leader Jane Snider

  • Things Into Poetry session with Brian Evans-Jones

    Things Into Poetry with poet teaching artist leader Brian Evans-Jones

In addition Bronwyn Sale and John Morris provided a session called Teaching for Creativity. The afternoon brought all three strands together (teaching artist leaders, new PK-12 teacher leaders and returning PK-12 teacher leaders) for a session with teaching artist leader and potter Tim Christensen. We engaged with a small medallion of clay using the process Tim is so in tune with: sgraffito.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on leadership, advocacy, and putting it into action on the follow up plans for the next year. Strand 1, the Teaching Artist Leaders met with Jeff Poulin, electronically, from the Americans for the Arts.

Day turned into night and educators gathered around the Thomas College fire pit for drumming and a chance for Tim to fire the clay pieces created earlier in the day in the propane fire pit. This provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the state. What a great way to end an outstanding day!

Strand 1 with Jeff Poulin, Americans for the Arts. Kate Smith, Design Team member, holds the computer during the question and answer period

Jennie Driscoll, Elise Bothel visual art teacher leaders

Jen Etter, music teacher leader

New teacher leaders David Coffey – music and Amy Donovan-Nucci – visual art

Tim Christensen firing the clay pieces

Fun around the fire pit!

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In Today’s News

July 31, 2017

Son Long Laura Faure

Laura has directed the Bates Dance Festival and put Maine on the map when it comes to excellent dance learning opportunities. From young children through adults for 30 years Laura has watched them come and go from Lewiston. I have fond memories of meeting Laura and my visit to the festival. Thank you Laura for your commitment to dance in Maine and good luck as your journey continues!

You can read the entire article from the Portland Press Herald written by Bob Keyes by CLICKING  HERE.

 

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Dance Education Conference

July 17, 2017

Dance education for all

The National Dance Education Conference is taking place in San Antonio, TX, November 12 – 14th, Cultivating Equity and Access: Dance Education for All. Interested in attending? If so, CLICK HERE for registration and more information.

The long multicultural history of Texas and the vibrant culture of San Antonio provide a lively setting to discuss, share, and celebrate our successes and to strategize new initiatives that provide equity and access to dance education for all. San Antonio is a community with a rich history reflective of the six flags that have flown over Texas. This history comes to life with the legacy of the Alamo located in downtown San Antonio not far from the famous River Walk with shops, restaurants and entertainment.
In the new education legislation of Every Student Succeeds Act (2015) the arts are declared a core subject important to every child’s education. New questions and challenges are raised as we seek to meet the needs of every child. As dance educators, how do we respond, advocate, and innovate in our schools, studios, and communities to provide dance education for learners of all ages with different backgrounds, abilities, and needs. How do we balance various cultural contexts, socio-economic conditions, and the varying landscapes of our communities? In contexts where interdisciplinary instruction is promoted, how do we connect across the spectrum of teaching and learning from dance-based instruction in non-arts subjects to integrated interdisciplinary curriculum? In Texas, where everything is big and bold, we welcome you for can-do thinking, deep discussion, and exchange of big ideas.

NDEO 2017 National Conference 
New Intensive just added to the Master Schedule
Sign up to tour two local high school dance programs in San Antonio, Texas
Cultivating Equity and Access: Dance Education for All
Sun., November 12 – Tues., November 14, 2017
pre-conference intensives Saturday, November 11th
Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk, 123 Lasoya St, San Antonio, TX 78205
 
 
Announcing an additional Intensive added to the NDEO 2017 National Conference program……
#13: Tour Local Texas High School Dance Programs
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
$30
Limit: 20 people
Registration deadline: 10/16/17
*Only open to conference registrants/attendees. 
Back by popular demand, the school tour will feature two local high school dance programs showcasing the breadth of Texas K12 dance programs. At Clark High School, participants will learn about the Dance & Drill Team programs, visit an Alternative Learning Experiences class, and experience performances by both groups. At Brandeis High School, participants will learn about the Fine Arts Dance/Company programs and hear about the NEW Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (moving from a teacher-driven to a student-driven classroom). A special performance by the Brandeis Ballet Company will follow. There will be ample opportunity for questions at both schools, and participants will leave invigorated and full of new ideas to use with their own students.
As the bus tour falls during regular conference sessions, we are offering it at a special 50% discount this year.
How to Register for this Intensive:
 
You can register for the bus tour when you register for conference by clicking here.
 
If you’ve already registered for conference, please call the office at 301-585-2880 or emailconference@ndeo.org to add it to your registration.
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100 People of Dance

July 7, 2017

100 dancers

The following is from a dance video that was created by Matt who traveled across the country teaching 100 strangers a dance. I thought this would be a good way to celebrate the birthday of our country – people across our country dancing.

This is the third and FINAL installment of the dance videos. Thought I would make a third one so it would be a cool trilogy. The only way I could top 100 places of dance was to bring in friends, family, and strangers. Filming this video was one of the craziest experiences I have ever had in my life. It took 2 months of filming and a month and a half was spent living out on the road driving all around the USA and Canada, I drove a little over 10,000 miles. This video was incredibly difficult to film and edit, so hopefully people find a little enjoyment out of this. Huge thanks to everyone that danced with me and helped film the video. Meet so many amazing people, got to see so many friends, it was an experience of a life time.

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New Moon Ensemble

June 30, 2017

Upcoming performance

Three Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artists are performing as part of the New Moon Ensemble!

Catch their next show in Portland, on Thursday, July 13th at Mayo St. Arts!

Marita Kennedy-Castro and Namory Keita

In 2015 master village drummer and performer Namory Keita, from Sangbarela, Guinea joined forces with dancer/choreographer Marita Kennedy-Castro in Portland, ME. Together the two developed the drum and dance troupe formerly performing since 2005 as Blue Moon Tribe, into New Moon Ensemble. The Ensemble includes multi-talented musician Annegret Baier, from Germany, as well as a handful of other musicians and dancers.

Coming together from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, New Moon Ensemble members share a love for West African dance and drumming, the accompanying traditions, and the gift of cross-cultural exchange. Together they build community and inspire international study through the healing power of music and dance.

Honoring the tradition of performance as ritual, New Moon Ensemble’s performances offer the intoxicating rhythms and energetic dances into the world as prayers for peace and well-being for all.

For show information and links to purchasing tickets please go to https://embodytherhythm.com/.

 

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PD All Around

June 27, 2017

Look Up!

There’s all kinds of professional development happening this summer in Maine on arts education. I’ve thought a great deal of PD over the years as a teacher who attended hundreds of learning opportunities and as a provider of PD. I found THIS ARTICLE recently that talks about what teachers wish to get out of PD. I believe that most importantly educators seeking quality arts education professional development need to be reminded to look up! I’m exploring what that means for me personally and professionally.

Participants at Hannaford Hall on the USM, Portland campus listen intently.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit two wonderful learning opportunities underway. One was held at the USM, Portland campus, sponsored by the Maine Department of Education. Jeff Poulin, arts education manager from the Americans for the Arts kicked off the day with a lively presentation on the history of federal mandates including today’s work on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). With his mom and sister in the audience Jeff provided a clear picture and included his own story of how he started and continues in the arts and the value of advocacy on many levels. He included a photo of himself at a very young age as a tap dancer and he delighted those in attendance with a tap dance at the conclusion of his presentation.

Participants broke into three groups: music, visual arts, and theatre/dance to continue work around assessment. The questions discussed included: Why do you assess? What do you assess? What is powerful about those thing that you access? I suggest that you take a minute and answer these questions. They could prompt a conversation with a colleague. Participants from all over Maine will continue their work tomorrow.

Laurie Downy and Molly Brown go over the details before sending participants on their way to select an artwork to respond to at the Portland Art Museum.

I spent part of the afternoon at the Portland Museum of Art with Side X Side. They had seven workshops happening simultaneously in different locations in the city with Portland teachers.   Laurie Downy and Molly Brown were facilitating a lesson. They sent the teachers out into the museum to observe and document something that they found interesting. Asking them to journal and selecting from multiple techniques from drawing to writing to journaling to mapping. Most inspiring was this quote by Shaun McNift from Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go. “People find that there most inspired creations come when they are “present” and responsive to what emerges naturally from the process. Creation requires attention and complete focus. But most of all it demands that we take the plunge into new territory without knowing what will appear.”

If you choose to engage in professional development this summer, whether independently or with a group, I do hope that you it ignites your creativity!

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