Sunday, October 3, 2010 – 1:00pmImages:
Thinking like a Choreographer: Dance in High School and Middle School with Randi Sloan
Randi Sloan, a veteran NY dancer and teacher and head of the dance department at The Dalton School in NY, will share her unique and successful approach to teaching dance in middle and high school. In the first half of the workshop Randi will lead a sample class that includes technique and improvisation.
In the second hour Randi will demonstrate a means of creating choreography from an interdisciplinary source. She will use the paintings of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian to serve as a starting point for an improvisational process that can be developed by students into a group piece, using clear and stimulating improvisation scores and composition devices.
The guiding spirit of this workshop is that the students absorb the structures, forms, and tools that are used to create a dance (alone or within a group). Whether the students are exploring hip-hop, ballet, jazz, or modern, every creative possibility should be open to them, with the teacher providing the structure to allow students to give their impulses shape and structure. This lesson plan can then serve as a model for other projects and thematic threads.
Randi Sloan has taught in and chaired the dance department at The Dalton School in NYC for the past 25 years. She has fostered a program that is known as a destination for ‘thinking dancers.’ The program focuses on developing kinesthetic awareness, problem solving, creative exploration, and nonlinear thought.
Ms. Sloan defines her role as a collaborator and resource and designs the curriculum so that students take ownership of their choreography. Students draw upon dance from diverse traditional and contemporary cultures. In addition to the core modern dance curriculum, the dance program at the Dalton School incorporates ballet, jazz, African dance, hip-hop, yoga, tai chi, capoeira, Greek, and Native American Dance. Creative movement is seen as the basic essential mode of instruction, rather than as a vehicle for performance. Student choreography is presented at the school’s annual dance concert. The students decide on a group common theme (for example; visual art, poetry, text, dreams, containers, fairy tales) that serves to unify the group and provide a structure for each student’s individual dance. Through the year-long creative process, students evolve as choreographers, clarifying their thinking about movement as art.
In addition to teaching at Dalton, Ms. Sloan is an adjunct professor at New York University in the Steinhardt School of Dance Education. She is a faculty member of the DEL Program (Dance Education Laboratory) at the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center. She has served as consultant and teacher of dance pedagogy for the New York City Department of Education. In prior years, Randi Sloan taught in academic venues both nationally and internationally.