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Harnessing the Wind

Harnessing the Wind

$37.98 CAD $75.95 CAD

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    Harnessing the Wind: The Art of Teaching Modern Dance gives you the theoretical knowledge, the practical tips, and the inspiration to prepare the next generation of dancers to meet the demands of contemporary dance.

    This book combines information about constructing and presenting a dance class with personal reflections about the art of teaching modern dance and integrating somatic theories, scientific research, and contemporary aesthetic practices. It provides new teachers with a solid theoretical base and incites experienced teachers to reexamine and revitalize their teaching.

    The book asks dance instructors to make conscious choices about what, why, and how they teach. Advocating an individualistic approach, it helps teachers understand how their personal dance interests and interpretations influence their teaching styles. Part I, “The Vision,” provides a philosophical perspective. It defines the role of technique and explores the delicate job of nurturing the artist during the quest for technical control. Part II, “Class Preparation,” is where the planning process takes shape. This section shows how to

    - set strategies and realistic goals to lay the groundwork for a carefully built progression of movement skills;
    - use rituals to facilitate centering;
    - safely incorporate conditioning principles into dance training, thus encouraging the development of powerful and resilient dancers;
    - understand the interplay between gravity and rhythm, space and energy to shape phrasing; and
    - sequence exercises effectively using helpful graphs and planning guides.

    Part III, “Class Presentation,” covers essential issues such as pacing, making good corrections, building images to enhance movement learning, and collaborating successfully with musicians. Finally, part IV, “Professional Concerns,” embraces important issues that touch the teaching professional, such as how to objectively analyze and critique a very subjective subject—the body—and how to maintain a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

    Learning Aids: Investigations and Reflections

    Each chapter is followed by a series of investigations and a reflection designed to challenge and inspire students and teachers. The investigations are concise exercises that explore theories both in and out of the classroom. They cover a range of activities including writing, drawing, chart making, observing, and experiential processing. The reflections provide insight to a dancer's world. Told through the eyes of a dance teacher, these narratives unveil the intangibles that are taught in dance, such as breathing, centering, playfulness, presence, and discipline.

    Teacher Resources

    The appendixes are full of practical tools, including a sample syllabus, sample grading policies, placement goals for four levels of technique, and assessment and evaluation forms.

    Throughout the book, abstract and highly imagistic photographs by dance photographers Erika Dufour and William Frederking provide a powerful visual stimulus that captures mood, motion, and emotion.

    This book provides dance students the information and theory necessary to begin the task of teaching. For seasoned teachers, it will inspire new questions and introduce new possibilities. Either way, readers will unleash a world of potential with Harnessing the Wind.


    Textbook for modern dance majors in pedagogy or methods courses and for graduate assistants in training to teach modern dance at the university or college level. Resource for professional modern dance teachers.

    Table of Contents

    Part I: Philosophy
    Chapter 1. Dancing Roots: Technique
    Technique - The Wisdom Of Ancestors - A Point of View - Reflection: Breath

    Chapter 2. Flying Souls: Artistry
    Doing and Undoing - Teaching the Real Truth - Odd Choices - Role of
    Improvisation - Practice Solitude - Reflection: Play

    Part II: Class Preparation
    Chapter 3. Sculpting Dreams: Goal
    Vision - Designing a Syllabus - Progression of Movement Skills - Principles and Strategies - Reconciling Individual Dreams With Class Goals - Evaluation - Reflection: Presence

    Chapter 4. Centering Minds: Rituals
    Rituals of Ancestors - Floor or Standing? - Repetition - A Labyrinth Toward Center - Special Classes - Reflection: Discipline

    Chapter 5. Gathering Power: Conditioning
    Resilience - Conditioning in Dance Practice - Strength - Flexibility - Muscular Endurance - Cardiorespiratory Endurance - New Dance Curricula - Reflection: Surrender

    Chapter 6. Shaping Phrases: Dancing
    Building Phrases - Spatial Intent - Energy - Musicality and Rhythm - Demonstrating - Reflection: Transitions

    Chapter 7. Weaving Light: Sequencing
    Sequencing Exercises - Designing a Class Template - Continuums - Reflection: Centering

    Part III: Class Presentation
    Chapter 8. Time Flowing: Pacing
    Reading Tea Leaves - Flow - Art of Pacing - The Clock - Length of Class - Reflection: Stillness

    Chapter 9. Body Listening: Corrections
    Seeing and Sensing - Knowing Oneself - Reflexes - Alignment and Posture - Fixing or Guiding - Touching - Empowering Student Observation - Reflection: Connectivity

    Chapter 10. Space Moving: Images
    The Power of Images and Metaphors - Developing a Bag of Tricks - The Senses - Reflection: Balance

    Chapter 11. Silence Sounding: Accompanists
    Relationship Between Music and Dance - Movement and Music - Teachers and Accompanists - Students and Musicians - Reflection: Openness

    Part IV: Professional Concerns
    Chapter 12. Energy Talking: Communication
    Bodymind - Resistance and Fear - Authorities of Bodymind - Love and Challenge - Counseling - Reflection: Patience

    Chapter 13. Excellence Training: Health
    Stress - Dangerous Obsessions - Injuries - Reflection: Nourishment

    Chapter 14. Youth Spinning: Vitality
    Bodymind - Mindbody - Spiritenergy - Reflection: Renewal

    Appendix A. The Dance Center of Columbia College Modern Dance Technique Syllabus
    Appendix B. The Dance Center of Columbia College Level Placement Guide
    Appendix C. Pre- and Post-Assessment in the Performing Arts
    Appendix D. The Dance Center of Columbia College Course Evaluation—Student
    Appendix E. The Dance Center of Columbia College Instructor Evaluation

    About the Author

    Jan Erkert is a dance artist, leader, and builder in contemporary dance. As artistic director of Jan Erkert & Dancers from 1979 to 2000, she presented her work throughout the United States as well as in Germany, Mexico, Taiwan, Japan, Uruguay, and Israel. Erkert has been honored with numerous choreographic awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council. Erkert also received a CalArts Alpert Award nomination, a Fulbright Award, and a Ruth Page Award for choreography and performance.

    Erkert is currently a professor at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, where she teaches modern dance technique, pedagogy, anatomy, kinesiology, improvisation, and composition. She recently received the prestigious Excellence in Teaching Award from the college. She conducts training workshops at major dance departments to help faculty, teaching assistants, and dance majors learn how to teach modern dance more effectively. Erkert is known throughout the United States and internationally as a master teacher, inspiring people with her intense, honest approach that interweaves scientific principles with the artistic drive for excellence.

    In her free time, Erkert likes to spend time outdoors hiking, swimming, gardening, bicycling, and traveling. She also enjoys sewing, cooking, and practicing Ashtanga yoga. Erkert and her husband, Bernt Lewy, live in Chicago.