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Knowing Place Community Dance Seminar, May 16 and May 17, 2009—Old Downtown Phoenix Post Office, ASU Grand Canyon Conference Room
Hosted by ASU Dance Professor Pegge Vissicaro with guest presenter Ken Bartlett, Creative Director Community Dance-United Kingdom and Elizabeth Johnson, Liz Lerman Dance Residency. Program facilitated by Melanie Ohm. Attendees came from very diverse dance communities.
Since the theme is Knowing Place we start this photo narrative by establishing the Sense of Place...
Somewhere at the start Ken also discussed the importance of the stillness that is initiated before the action occurs in dance.
Ken delivers the main body of his presentation setting the historical context for community dance and defining the territory.
There is a power of the people through the arts to change their lives and those of humanity.
The reference to the 1948 Human Rights referendum that came out of the United Nations was interesting: On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories. " Article 27.
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
Fundamentally, it is the art experience itself that is to be valued! Dance has become this central form we can be engaged with-a social activity that builds community. ***It is Social ***Inclusive ***We learn from one another ***Preserves one’s Cultural Heritage The Key is that it is pleasurable and it gives participants a VOICE!!!!
A short documentary set at a dance academy was viewed focusing on the lives of delinquent youth who through a structured process of dance and academic studies their lives were transformed.
Following Ken’s one hour talk the group broke into pairs to interview each other with the use of an Appreciative Inquiry questionnaire.
Next, lunch and time for socialization:
After eating and visiting there was a facilitated exercise. This dance tool instructed partnering, trust, leadership and acceptance of being a follower.
When we reconvened Ken added to his discussion with a documentary giving 4 wonderful examples of community dance programs in England. They were of course inspirational.
The day continued by once again coming together in groups to address our stories of community dance work and to identify community dance value themes:
Community dance value themes reviewed and discussed by Melanie and participants.
DAY TWO OF COMMUNITY DANCE SEMINAR CONTINUES...
On behalf of Herberger College Dance, I want to thank all of you for your generous contribution to the realization of Knowing Place. After two days of debriefing, we agree that the event was successful since it achieved our main objective, which was to facilitate dialogue among community dance practitioners. There also is clear evidence of the need for developing a community dance consortium at both a local and national level, which ASU will help nurture. To launch this process, we will create a listserv to disseminate information and by mid-August provide 20 hours a week of graduate student assistance to manage communication with the local community.
We plan to initiate two follow-up activities to address specific issues that emerged from the seminar. Beginning in August, we will hold monthly forums to share principles and practices by artists working in communities. If you would like to participate, email me a list of your optimum days and times for such an event in downtown Phoenix.
The second follow-up activity will convene people interested in exploring national models of good practice. This includes identifying key players at the national level and developing a mechanism for exchange and dialogue. It may be appropriate to use an electronic platform to host discussion, which ASU will provide. Please contact me and/or send names of others who may want to be involved.
Again many thanks for your participation in Knowing Place and for your positive energy to move forward these follow-up initiatives; we look forward to interacting with all of you soon. Warmly, Pegge
and the seminar gets started...
Elizabeth introduces herself to all and begins by reminding us
Great warm up to get the brain thinking, the blood flowing as well as to meet participants in the group.
Ken asks the question, “Do we want a Community Dance Consortium?”
If so, What will it look like? How will it taste and feel? Who and How will make it happen?
This raises the questions from the community practitioners as to what they might want of this founding body of community dance organizers. One thing for sure is that the consortium needs to become the best representation it possibly can to support and promote the needs of its members.
The Set of Practices to accomplish this task need to GIVE LIGHT and STATUS to the practitioners and RAISE FUNDS to support the consortium’s work.
This may happen by forming a New Business Model.
Here is what the Foundation for Community Dance in the United Kingdom has done during the past 15 years:
The Foundation for Community Dance is a UK-wide charity, established in 1986, to support the development of community dance. We want to make dance matter, so we work for the development of dance for all.
We believe that dance can transform the lives of individuals, groups and communities and that everyone has the right to experience dance regardless of where they live, their age, gender, race, disability, economic circumstance or culture.
Central to our concerns are access to, participation in and progression through quality dance experiences as a creative activity, and through arts activities in community development and regeneration, health, social inclusion, education and learning.
Ken outlined all the aspects of the Foundation's work:
Through a recent strategic plan review a list of priorities has been identified:
Break, then Community Dance Methodology continued with Elizabeth...
Elizabeth did an incredible job of providing all of us with the "seeds of ideas to build upon" in our own community dance work. This process is not necessarily focused upon the rigors of dance technique, but instead on “Tools of Movement” that assist anyone and everyone to reach inside their bodies/connect with feelings and needs that are wanting to be expressed physically in a SAFE PLACE, Released and CELEBRATED.
Spontaneous Gestures Put to Movement leading to a dance vignette
Through the creative manipulation of diverse methods to work the space in All directions-considering a beginning, middle and end, this is the performance that arose...
The final critique concerning the rational value and purpose for this experience was questioned. How does one explain this activity when one navigates the world through a left brain world?
For me the answer to this question can only be relayed through the lives of myself and my now grown children.
**** A Sense of Belonging and Acceptance through interaction with the group.
**** A Sense of Competence at having completed a task—in long term dance programs this also demands discipline and purposefulness of focus that can set a personal standard for ongoing behavior.
**** A Sense of Usefulness in that the members of the group have contributed to an opportunity to create something of value for themselves and those who view the dance.
**** A Sense of Influence in the community where one performs and is celebrated and honored for the work they have done. The community dance participant has been listened to, heard and can feel that their actions (choices) can possibly influence community decisions.
Dance unlike some of the other artistic expressions is very physical and communal therefore by its very nature it is naturally prominent as a community art form that unites many on a physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual journey.
The seminar provided a time for persons involved in dance and community arts endeavors/education to look at working toward establishing a community dance consortium that shares work, determines guiding practices, informs the public of community dance as being invaluable to our society, seeks funding to support this body of work and advocates for policy change.
Review by judy butzine
C-c Braun, Michele Ceballos Michot and Melanie Ohm all participated in the ASU Dance seminar. Through acknowledging the International Day of Peace Event given recognition by the United Nations on Sept. 21st http://www.internationaldayofpeace.org/ the Cultural Arts Coalition has planned a day long program. The day addresses creating learned acts of Peace Building; and we have chosen to incorporate COMMUNITY DANCE into the day's events. The music being used in this initial instructional session is a Tibetan chant and John Lennon’s song “Give Peace A Chance”.We thought it was appropriate to showcase what one arts community is doing by fulfilling the criteria outlined during the community dance seminar.
First practice site-Release the Fear @ Grace Chapel. Thank you Robert Miley. C-c Braun choreographed a routine, but also requested from participant's to input their own movements. Each person is to teach others throughout the summer.
We will all come together again in the fall for a mass rehearsal. Art in this center was created by youth through a curriculum concerning thetheme of Release the Fear...
Please contact Melanie or judy if you would like to be a part of the day's events on September 21st, Monday.
May Peace Prevail UPON the Earth for All!!!!!