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THE LEARN PAGE

A place to learn about dance.

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THE LEARN PAGE

This page explains what dance is, how to make it, ways to think about it, and ways to enjoy it! The Theater page takes you behind the scenes and introduces a range of important concepts, techniques, and people instrumental in the production of dance. Video interviews allow you to meet the dancers up-close, learn how they became the artists they are, and hear about the influences in their lives that supported their pathways. The heart of the platform, How To Make A Dance: A Visual Guide provides a step-by-step process of how dances are constructed. Explore the pages and the narrated videos.

WHAT IS DANCE?

Dance at its core is an experiential form of art. One can experience dance as a doer or as a viewer. Even when sitting in a seat in the theater, a viewer can vicariously relate to the actions of a dancer, even if one has not trained to make these movements oneself. Movement is something we all share as human beings. For many, the definition of dance is expansive. As one answers the question of what is art, so one can answer the question of dance, that it is in the eye of the beholder. Becoming familiar with the core elements of the art form is the first step in learning about dance. Compositional devices are tools and can be the connective tissue between these basic concepts. How the material is used is how dance is made. As the potter uses clay. As the painter dips brush into pigment. As the illustrator takes a marker, or colored pencil. Dance is molded on bodies which move between movement and stillness, inherently unfolding in space and over time. The possibilities of dance production using the human body are infinite.

MAKING DANCE

How does it all come together? What are the different parts? These pages provide insight into the way dance is made. How dancers practice. Again, again, again! How to view choreography; knowledge of how music intersects and supports dance (counting out loud as the dancers explore a range of tempi); specific vocabulary specific to dance; a meaningful experience actively dancing (audience members will learn choreography in their seats); an understanding that dance and the arts can be a career and a subject of lifelong study. 

After learning the fundamentals of dance, we're ready to see how these parts all come together. How To Make A Dance: A Visual Guide is a step-by-step process of how dances are constructed, beginning with a simple phrase and developing it into a full dance. This acclaimed tutorial provides a clear and compelling insight into the dance making and dance rehearsing processes.

ENGAGING WITH DANCE

The obvious part which makes dance a performance art is of course performance! Dancers get into their costumes and sweat under the lights to show the audience their best work, the finished product of months of learning and rehearsing choreography. Here, you can learn all about moving a dance from a studio onto a stage, whether that’s a proscenium one, or a driveway, or a public lawn. You can listen to many personal interviews with the dancers, and consider the different ways in which an audience member can view dance. Concise films of rehearsals through the years bring viewers into the dance-making and dance-rehearsing processes, and edited films from talkbacks, provide hours of content explaining both the technical/practical sides of the art and the interpretive. Up-close and personal footage of all-star casts!

KEEP DANCING

Dance is a dynamic art form that builds off itself, changes with the current times, and renews itself continually. The act of dancing itself is predicated on a practice that must be found anew each day. The body cannot take for granted what it did yesterday without attending to it today. Since the beginning of human history, dance has been central to the human experience. The art of dance is a magic that has captivated audiences, and dancers themselves, for centuries if not millennia. A dancer is always continuing to learn so can we as a viewer, supporter, and lover of dance. There's never an end to the educational journey through dance. So continue on! Learn dances alongside Daniel to teach your family and friends, or discover more about dance through our Dance FAQ page.

IN THE STUDIO

This footage from the In The Studio series, a four-part weekly event which occurred in the summer of 2009 at Manhattan’s New York City Center, brings the viewer directly into the studio, part of the Company’s mission to demystify and deconstruct concert dance. The programming reveals the underpinnings of how dance is composed, how dancers work, and the various meanings dance can convey.

NARRATION ON THE PLATFORM

A central component of the platform is the collection of narrated videos, which provide a commentary on a dance or dance film that is archived on the WATCH page. These are conversational in tone, spontaneous rather than scripted, for a listener to enjoy hearing what is going through one’s mind while watching dance. What strikes you? What are you thinking about as you are viewing? Remembering? Associations? What are you focused on? Technique, composition, expression/performance. It is fascinating and insightful to acquire this information and hear this kind of real-time analysis unfold from a guest choreographer. From performers, we hear a commentary that is an honest barometer of one’s experience. Voiceovers approach the work from multiple entry points. 

ABOUT PROJECT CHORD

The meat and potatoes -- for many dancers the tofu, beans and spinach -- of the platform are a series of videos demonstrating how dances are constructed. This content, available publicly for the first time, was produced as Project CHORD (Choreographic Help on Realizing Dance), a visual resource designed to advance choreographic pedagogy by illustrating the fundamentals of dance making through the creation of a new dance, Accelerate. The project was created in collaboration with the City of New York’s Kingsborough Community College, thanks to a CUNY Development Initiative grant, Kennesaw State University's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and four dance majors from KSU.

The four dancers, Simone Stevens, Simon Phillips, Jaiva Crawford, and Isaac Rose, worked intensively for several months developing the project with Daniel as apprentices. The research culminated with a summer residency in New York City, rehearsing and performing alongside the Company for three and a half weeks, a transformative experience. This teaching tool has been presented at the National Dance Education Organization’s annual conference in Phoenix, AZ, at New York University’s Tisch Dance and New Media Conference, and at Towson University’s Department of Dance. View an example of the resource in the video below.

AN EXCERPT FROM HOW TO MAKE A DANCE: A VISUAL GUIDE