DEL Reflection 2016
By: Holly Warner
Dance Education Laboratory was the best possible place for me to spend my summer. Throughout the month of I learned so much about teaching, interacting with children and how to invoke creative habits in all areas of my life. Each week of classes was led by a new pair of instructors who shared their wealth of knowledge with us. I was constantly amazed by the level of expertise they possessed. The clarity of their instruction made it possible for me to identify and define effective teaching methods they utilized. Through their commitment to the material and the classroom it was clear that they love what they do. It showed me that a good teacher must be passionate about their work, because teaching requires so much effort, preparation and perseverance.
For me, the most edifying and eye-opening section was focused on Labon notation and the Language of Dance. When we began this week of studying notation, I was questioning the validity and relevance of it. With the accessibility and convenience of video recording, I thought that Labon notation might be a thing of the past. I quickly saw that notation is an invaluable tool that should be preserved and shared. As well as having many uses outside of keeping records of dances, notation can document specific qualities and choreographic intensions that often get lost in film. This week was particularly engaging for me because I felt like I was given the opportunity to re-learn basics of dance through a new lens. Labon notation is versatile in application and has a wide range of topics that it can connect to. The lessons can be altered to be appropriate material for any age group and can be geared to express a variety of ideas. It can also be taught in multiple ways to reach learners of any type (kinesthetic, auditory, visual). Many concepts we studied were also useful reminders of important choreographic tools and this reminder will strengthen my creative process. I will definitely utilize my newfound Labon notation skills the next time I set out to choreograph.
Throughout the summer it was a treat to have such wide variety of peers in class each week. Some people were enrolled for the entire month, while others came for only one week. There were teachers and students with all levels of training and all kinds of backgrounds. It was inspiring to see how many ways there are to keep dance as an important aspect of life. I gained friends and mentors who helped me in many ways.
In addition to the richness of Dance Education Laboratory, living in New York for a month proved to be an overwhelmingly enjoyable experience. I fell in love with the accessibility and freedom of the subway. I managed to frequent ballet, yoga, Horton technique and house classes at a variety of studios. I found a nearby art gallery that held free spoken word performances and I discovered endless amounts of tasty food to try. New York City has everything if you search for it and I very much look forward to returning.
My experience this summer was inspired and enriching. I am leaving New York feeling determined to help turn Jody’s passionate belief that ‘every school should have dance available for every child’ into a reality. I am expecting to feel reverberations from the lessons at the 92Y echo throughout my senior year at University of California, Santa Barbara. I’ve already discovered that becoming a better teacher has increased my ability to be a better student. As I look back on everything I gained in the month at the Dance Education Laboratory, I am full of gratitude towards those who made the trip possible and I look forward to sharing this knowledge with others in the future.