Posts Tagged ‘Maine arts ed’


Who Are They? Oxford Hills Region Part 3

March 15, 2018

Dance Studios

This blog post is the third of a series that aims to bring awareness to you about the many visual and performing art venues and educational opportunities in the Oxford Hills. The Oxford Hills Region of Maine is a perfect setting for the arts as it is centrally located where the rolling foothills of the White Mountains and beautiful lakes regions intersect. Located 45 miles north of Portland, 35 miles east of New Hampshire, and 20 miles west of Lewiston-Auburn, the region hosts multiple year-round opportunities for learners of all ages and a thriving arts community. The Oxford Hills School District (SAD17) is Maine’s largest school district in geographic area, with nine community schools, a regional middle school, a comprehensive high school and the Streaked Mountain School, an alternative school for high school students. The Oxford Hills include the towns of Buckfield, Harrison, Hartford, Hebron, Mechanic Falls, Norway, Otisfield, Oxford, Paris, Poland, Sumner, Waterford and West Paris. A great big THANKS to Diana Arcadipone for writing this series of posts.

Three Modern Dance Studios with Complimentary Philosophies

Art Moves Dance Studio

“Every kid is hungry for dance!” says Debi Irons, founder and artistic director of Art Moves, a dance studio located in Norway, Maine. In her vast experience as a professional dancer and dance educator, she laments that dance attracts mostly girls. Boys are naturally drawn to dance, but because it is culturally frowned upon, they tend not to participate without explicit support from parents and teachers.

A natural catalyst, Debi Irons wanted to offer dance programs in the schools because performing wasn’t quite enough for her. The joy of discovering a teenager who thrived and made dance her profession drove Debi to focus on dance education. When she offered dance programs in San Fransisco in the 1980’s, she found troubled youth in small alternative high schools who were passionate about dance. These urban kids taught Debi how to street dance, and she taught them self respect. She taught them how to treat each other and how to expect more from life. “Magic happens when students get to the place where they feel free and unselfconscious. Teachers of all disciplines already have the tool kit within them to ignite their students’ creativity”.

In 1988, Debi moved back to the Norway/South Paris area where she had grown up, and opened Art Moves. For thirty years, Art Moves has provided an environment in which students can discover their own self expression. The dance studio, located at 13 Cottage Street, occupies the entire third floor of a grand historic building where dance technique is taught and performances are held. Variant Dance is a developmentally appropriate technique that combines with creativity and self expression. Teaching variant dance could be perceived as the mission of the studio. Art Moves provides opportunities for students who may not easily have access to such a sophisticated and professional experience.

The other driving force behind Art Moves is music. As a dancer, Debi’s preference is improvisation to live music (jazz, hip hop, classical, Afro-Brazilian, etc.) As a teacher, combining music that students have never heard before interspersed with music that they love, is the most effective tool to getting kids to move and grow outside of themselves. The body is the instrument.

Art Moves also hosts a group of Brazilian dance companies annually to tour Maine and conduct workshops and performances in the schools.  Last year, they visited Oxford Elementary School, Hebron Station School, Hartford-Sumner Elementary School, Buckfield High School and various community centers. The Brazilians perform with visual artists and musicians as well. This program also offers a dance exchange for Art Moves Dance Ensemble to visit Brazil for up to one month to study, create and perform.

Currently Art Moves offers variant dance and technique classes for kids, teens and adults at the studio. Art Moves serves hundreds annually between the studio, public schools and private dance studios. Art Moves holds two studio shows annually in collaboration with Expansion Arts and offers a summer dance intensive, Art Moves offers visiting performances and workshops through daily, weekly or long term dance residencies in the schools, in-house field days and/or after school programs. If your school is interested in inviting one of the Brazilian dance groups, Art Moves Dance Ensemble, or Debi Irons to your school, or any other in-house programs, contact For additional information and on-going news; Like Art Moves Dance Studio on Facebook or go to

Expansion Arts Dance Studio

“High standards of training and professionalism” are attributed to my early studies with ArtMoves says Sasha Richardson, Owner and Creative Director of Expansion Arts dance studio. Sasha grew up dancing in the Oxford Hills, starting at the age of 6. While attending Oxford Hills High School, Sasha discovered Debi Irons and ArtMoves which were a major influence on her career path.  She would later join the ArtMoves Ensemble as a professional dancer, and collaborate with ArtMoves to combine studio performances and shows. 

Since Dance was not a part of the curriculum at OHCHS, Sasha Richardson studied music, drums, band, choir, music theory and more.  Devoted to pursuing dance in college, Sasha chose Long Island University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree that integrated dance, anatomy and wellness. All of her professors were artists and performers from the dance world in NYC. She tapped all available resources including entering her work at NYC’s Dance Theater Workshop, to help shape her philosophy that combines performing, choreographing, teaching and strength training. Sasha was starting to define a style with a modern base and technique base yet with an eye to strength development. “We must work with what we are given in terms of our natural talents, and start from where we are”, Richardson says.

After college, Sasha returned to the Oxford Hills because she “needed her Maine people”. In New York, you stay in one path to specialize, and are not able to branch out so easily. Sasha was determined to dance, train, take classes, create work, rehearse work, perform, teach and choreograph. In Maine, you can branch out.

In 2015, Sasha opened Expansion Arts and soon needed to move to a larger studio. She started with a condensed schedule of 8 classes per week (Tap, Modern, Jazz, Ballet, Zumba and Hip Hop, for kids and adults with age breaks 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, 13 and up) and Creative Movement (for ages 3-5).  The age distinctions are important from an anatomy standpoint and physical development standpoint. Expansion Arts now offers 13 classes per week and has grown from serving 35 dancers to 60 dancers, most of whom are taking 2 – 6 classes each week).  Expansion Arts teachers include Sasha Richardson, Kim Hamlin, Tegan Bullard and Karianna Merrill.

Through Expansion Arts, Sasha has refined her philosophy of training, performing and teaching with a focus on dance anatomy (basics of how the body functions and the kinesiology of how the body moves). She expanded her dance anatomy background to combine with a massage therapy training program to inform teaching dance with additional knowledge of the muscular skeletal system. Student injuries are extremely rare.

Sasha has served the local schools by choreographing for musicals in schools, drama clubs, and community shows. She works with guidance counselors to help students who are having trouble in school and has taught at the Oxford Hills Middle Schools in their “Quest” day for four consecutive years, (where students get to study dance for a longer period of time and visit a real dance studio). Expansion Arts offers choreography and residencies to schools within a 30 mile radius of South Paris, ME. For additional information, contact, go to Facebook. You can also send email to

Neveah Dance Circus and Dance Studio

The Gentempo sisters started Nevaeh Dance Circus and held their first practices in a church basement in Oxford, Maine because they wanted more opportunities to perform. Nevaeh is heaven spelled backwards. Nettie and Hannah grew up in a home filled with dance and music; their mother formally trained in ballet and their father playing the piano. As a young child, Nettie studied ballet in her mother’s studio Green Mountain Ballet in Poultney, VT and later trained with Art Moves. As teenagers, the sisters started a performing group. Nettie studied in Portland, ME after winning a Maine based So You Think You Can Dance competition.

Currently 9 dancers perform with Nevaeh Dance Circus. Their Concept is unique as it combines performance art with dance, incorporates theater, magic, live music, singing, the spoken word, poetry, and interactive segments with the audience. Their Performance season is primarily in summertime as their outdoor public performances focus in unique locations such as Norway Lake, Portland Art Walks, Longley’s Square, Moore Park in South Paris, Old Port Music Festival in Deering Park, Portland.  They also perform in outdoor festivals such as Great North Music Festival, Green Grass Jubilee Festival, Norway Art Festival, Westbrook Together Days. Dance Circus also performs at private camps such as Fernwood Cove, Camp Wigwam with specific programming for youth. A recent project presents a performance to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” soundtrack that will collaborate with visual artist, A Minor, and incorporate projections.

A 2017 project grant from the Maine Arts Commission enabled Nevaeh to produce 3 summer performances in Longley Square with guest performers Fred Garbo, Debi Irons and  (Ripleys Believe it or Not) Sword swallower Nick Penny. Nevaeh Dance Circus serves an audience from 25 people up to 200. Shows produced by Nevaeh are contribution based (all are welcome regardless of ability to pay).

The dance studio offers classes in ballet, Hulaloops (hula-hoops), Dance fusion, Creative Lyric (storytelling and dance that follows the lyrics of a song), Juggling and Improvisational Theater (taught by Steve Corning), Dance Games (30 minutes that gets kids moving and using their imaginations), Baby and Me (multi-generational ages), and Belly Dance (taught by Tegan Bullard).   Classes and workshops coincide with the school year and serve approximately 50 students annually. HulaLoop classes have beeb offered at Guy Rowe School, West Paris Elementary, Paris Elementary School, Otisfield Elementary, Raymond Elementary School (and most schools in SAD 17).

As of the Spring of 2017, Nevaeh Dance Studio is based on the second floor of 290 Main Street, Norway. Classes serve 18-month olds up to adults.  For more information about classes, workshops or performances, go to Nevaeh or email


Twitter Chat on Mindset

October 17, 2017

Join MALIs first Twitter Chat

Join your colleagues from across the state (and the nation) and participate in a Twitter Chat on Mindset. The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative’s Teacher Leader Melanie Crowe helped to create our first Twitter chat opportunity.

The chat is based on the book of the same name, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck. It is not necessary to read the book to participate but we highly recommend it. 

The Twitter chat is scheduled for Monday, October 30, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. eastern time.

The conversation provides the opportunity to consider your own learning and how you approach it. And, will include the chance to consider your classroom environment and how you approach your teaching. The overarching discussion question: How does your mindset influence the way that you approach students?

The following questions will guide the online conversation:

  1. Consider mentors in your life who have supported you through a growth mindset approach. Reflect on your own growth and response with their guidance.
  2. In what areas can I continue to be a learner? What am I personally and professionally interested in? How can my professional learning opportunities be more relevant to my own needs as a learner?
  3. When reflecting on something that you have learned recently, what kind of impact has it had on you and by extension your students?
  4. What resources, materials and/or curriculum is available for use at your school that supports a growth mindset?
  5. In what ways can you share with students your own struggles and successes with your current and/or previous work?
  6. How can students connect the dots between what they are learning now and their own experiences? How are you helping them to see those connections?
  7. Do your students have an opportunity to help adults with genuine problem solving?

If you’ve never participated in a Twitter chat and wondering how to participate, the directions are below.

  1. If you don’t have a Twitter account, please start one at Twitter.
  2. TweetChat is a great tool to use when you participate in a tweet chat. Log in with your Twitter handle, enter the hashtag of the event (#MEArtsEd), and TweetChat will pull up all the related messages so you can follow the conversation.
  3. If you are not using the tool TweetChat, once logged into your twitter account you can search the hashtag #MEArtsEd and see the live conversation stream taking place or after the event to view the conversation.
  4. Make sure you add the tweet chat hashtag (#MEArtsEd) to your tweets (if you’re not using TweetChat) so participants can find your messages in the conversation.
  5. When you begin the chat – take a moment to introduce yourself and where you are from – remember to use #MEArtsEd
  6. The tweet chat host (@crowe_artteach) will mark questions with Q (for question) and the number of the question. When you submit your answer, mark it with A (for answer) and the number of the original question so other participants can link your response with the correct question.
  7. Sit back, relax, join in on the conversation to learn, reflect, and respond to your colleagues from the state of Maine and beyond!



June 18, 2017


I came across the youtube video below and memories came rushing back.  As we close out another school year I just had to share. I wonder how many of you remember? I’ll never forget the statewide arts education conference in 2007 held at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. It had been about 10 years since the last statewide conference had been held. The earlier ones planned for several years by the Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE). Carol Trimble was the Executive Director of MAAE at that time and she agreed to partner to plan the event. The professional organizations, Maine Art Education Association, Maine Music Educators Association, Very Special Arts, and the theater and dance educators were all in on the planning. Our goal was to provide the opportunity for visual and performing arts educators to come together for professional development.

We wanted to make it a celebratory event to highlight the impact that arts educators had across the state. First Lady Karen Baldacci welcomed everyone, Scott Shuler provided the key note on assessment, the Downeast Brass Quintet performed, the Maine Learning Results were rolled out, about 45 workshops were included on a variety of topics, we had an amazing gathering at the Farnsworth Art Museum with musicians from Camden Hills High School and Karen Montanaro performing, and the closing was a dance event with the Planet Pan Steel Drum band performing. We were pleasantly surprised to have 300 educators attend and we turned away 100 teachers.

One of the highlights and what triggered my memory of the conference this week was Mike Davis leading the participants in “rain making”. It was amazing! The power of the arts. If you were there I hope you remember the collaboration and the fun!


Drawing in Class

December 22, 2016

Rachel Smith – TEDxUFM

Visual Notetaking opens the door to make more playful connections. It creates a personal visual memory maker. Rachel Smith pays close attention and she listens very carefully. Drawing and focus! Graphic recording using words and images. Rachel makes the groups work visible. Hooking new information to old information that you have internally. At the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Mega-Regional conference at Hebron Station School (Oxford Hills School District) Ann Marie Quirion Hutton will be presenting a session on Visual Notetaking so you can learn more about it. Mega information at


USM Mega

December 6, 2016

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI)

Teachers are registering for the MALI Mega at USM Portland and I invite you to register as well. It is scheduled for Wednesday, January 4 at on the Portland campus of USM. The sessions and descriptions are included below and registration is available by CLICKING HERE.

Dates and Locations

There are six Megas offered this year, at this time registration is available for those underlined.


The cost to attend each Mega is $25 (unless otherwise indicated). Contact hours for full participation – 5.5 contact hours. The Megas provide multiple opportunities for the Maine Arts education community to engage in professional development specific to come together to deepen our knowledge, make connections, and learn from each other!



The Role of the Digital Portfolio in Arts Advocacy, Assessment, and Student Ownership Learning

Introduction to the digital portfolio. How to implement student centered digital portfolios that promote student ownership of learning and assessment. Grades 7-12

Jackie Bousquet Traip Academy Visual Art


“Making Art History Come to Life with iBooks Author”

 Dive into iBooks Author to harness the power of developing multi-modal, Multi-Touch iBooks. You’ll learn features which make iBooks come to life for learners by incorporating audio files, 3D widgets, image glossaries, study cards, jailbreaking templates, and much more. Be prepared to create an art history chapter together. You can also use this app for making comics and graphic novels or creating art portfolios. This session is great for MLTI beginners and experts. MLTI MacBooks with iBooks Author preinstalled is encouraged. Grades 7-12
Lindsey Carnes MLTI Apple Learning Specialist

Student’s Reflective Voice: Using the Artist Statement

This workshop, participants will explore the ways in which student voice and understanding within visual art creation can be expanded upon with the use of reflective writing using an Artist Statement. Grades 7-12

Melanie Crowe Marshwood Middle School, Grades 6-8 Visual Art


Assessing Singing in the Primary Grades

This workshop offers methodical strategies for assessing young children’s singing. Assessment logistics and tried and trusted rubrics will be provided as examples, along with ideas for formative assessment including self assessment. Grades K-4

Patti Gordan Raymond Elementary School, Grade K-4 Music


More Cowbell

Playing and composing songs on your own is a blast for some, however there’s something special about making music in collaboration with other like-minded folks that just can’t be beat. In this hands-on, music making session, participants will use GarageBand to learn the basics of song writing and music production. Participants will have plenty of time to explore and experience the fun of collaborative music creation. Musicians of any and all skill levels are welcome. Make sure to bring your Mac and/or iOS device with GarageBand installed. All grade levels.
Tim Hart MLTI Apple Learning Specialist


Using Multiple Intelligences to Teach Students with Disabilities

Learn how teaching using multiple intelligence can be a way to unlock learning goals for students with disabilities. All grade levels. All content.

Brigid Rankowski Teaching Artist


SLOs – Student Learning Objectives

The workshop will give a brief overview of Chapter 180, and focus on writing and implementing SLOs. Time will be provided to practice writing SLOs and receive feedback  All grade levels. All content.

MaryEllen Schaper Bonney Eagle Middle School, Grades 6-8 Dance



Stars and Stairs

Stars and Stairs, Where am I now and Where am I going? How can the use of Stars and Stairs in your classroom help to inform you and your students of their learning progression and actively engage them in the learning process. This will be a round table discussion. Looking at your standards and your curriculum how can you use the Stars and Stairs model in your classroom.  All grade levels.  All content.

Samantha Armstrong Paris Elementary School and Hebron Elementary
Schools, Grades K-6 Visual Art

Writing Across the Curriculum in a Performing Arts Classroom

Writing is a life skill that is of critical importance to our students.  I will share ways in which I have incorporated writing composition and critical responses in to my dance classroom. All grades levels. All content.

Emma Campbell Thornton Academy Dance


Including Students with Disabilities in Your Art Classroom Using iMovie

Use stations and sites fostering independence to help students collect assets for creating art infused iMovie productions. This session will showcase how a green screen and some photos can provide opportunities for all learners to showcase their creative side. MLTI MacBooks with the most current version of iMovie is encouraged. All content. All grade levels.

Lindsey Carnes MLTI Apple Learning Specialist

Reflections on Standards Based teaching and Learning

In this workshop participants will discuss ways to connect students with standards, methods of to make SBL visible for students and the use of a matrix to document teaching opportunities that are standards based. Grades 6-12

Jennie Driscoll Brunswick High School Visual Art

Making 8-bit Art

Beginning with early Atari and Nintendo video games, the 8-bit aesthetic has been a part of our culture for over 30 years. No longer just nostalgia art, contemporary 8-bit artists and chiptunes musicians have elevated the form to new levels of creativity and cultural reflection. In this session, we will focus on tools that assist in creating 8-bit images, animations, and music.  Please bring your MLTI MacBook. All grade levels.

Tim Hart MLTI Apple Learning Specialist

“Something from Nothing” or Costuming on a Budget

Hot glue, curtains, table cloths, children’s sleds, and ribbon – what do they all have in common? They can be ingeniously used to create authentic costumes for all plays.  Armed with this knowledge, you can devise a lesson in the designing of costumes for the stage for your students. If time permits, participants can brainstorm possible resources and ways to include students. Grades 9-12

Jean Phillips Wiscasset High School Theatre

Music Curriculum SLOs

Building SLO and Data Points from your Music Curriculum. Grades K-8

Cynthia Streznewski Woolwich Central School, Grades K-8 Music


About MALI

In the spring of 2011, the Maine Department of Education launched the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI). During the summer of 2015 after gathering feedback from the initiative’s Teacher Leaders the name was changed to the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). Presently in phase six, the Maine Arts Commission continues to provide professional learning opportunities for educators. The mission was changed to reflect the present work underway. The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) is committed to the development of teacher leaders to ensure deep understanding and meaningful implementation of high quality teaching, learning, and assessment in the arts.

Thank you to the MALI partners for your collaborative work with MALI: Maine Department of Education, Maine Art Education Association, Maine Music Educators Association, New England Institute for Teacher Education, University of Southern Maine, and UMaine Performing Arts.


Early Childhood Learning Through Play

April 9, 2015

Pre-K-4 learning opportunity – Starting Friday 4pm, April 17, 2015 in Portland with instructor, Judy Fricke!

IMG_1438Are you a Pre-K – 4 teacher looking for recertification or graduate credits? Do you want some inspiring and fun strategies for incorporating the arts in early learning? EDE 526: Early Childhood Learning Through Play may be just what you are looking for!

Current research supports the understanding that children learn through play. The importance of arts-based learning is emphasized to educators of young children and participants will learn how to integrate play and each of the art forms across the curriculum. The course covers the foundations of creative thought, the creative arts, and creative teaching and assessment.

Designed for educators from pre-school through grade 4, this course will help early childhood educators to integrate children’s creativity, play, and the arts into their curriculum in a way that fosters learning and growth and meets accountability measures. Course activities will enable educators to articulate the importance of creativity and arts-based learning to families, colleagues, and administrators. The course can be taken for 3 graduate credits or for 4.5 CEUs.

4747f3_20084657f003426298b40842b18f0bdc.png_srz_p_147_138_75_22_0.50_1.20_0The instructor, Judy S. Fricke, is a workshop facilitator and arts education consultant in both early childhood music and emergent literacy. Judy has taught music in large and small preschool settings as well as parent/child class settings over the past twenty years. She is a teacher leader in the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative and she teaches graduate level courses for the New England Institute for Teacher Education.

For more information, or to register, visit the website of the New England Institute for Teacher Education or call 207-367-5807.

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