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Dance discipline review 2006 Topic 1 – Where are we now?

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Dance Discipline Review

Topic 1 – Where are we now?
A. Purpose and Goals (relation to the institution)
“People who run schools and cities and institutions don’t want to bank

on [the] arts because there’s never any guarantee that it will sell. But if

you are like me, you are drawn to the idea of the seer who makes visions

that become contagious: visions that allow people to engage in heroic

actions. It’s the allowing that art makes possible. We traditionally think

that it’s the patron who gives the artist an allowance. Yet it’s the artist

who gives society a large allowance. The artist gives us the allowance to

imagine things another way.”

excerpted from Letters to a Young Artist

Anna Deavere Smith

As an educational institution, Riverside City College has not only been allowing the arts to exist, it encourages and provides an environment where the arts can flourish. Visual and Performing Arts are often marginalized and undervalued – one of the frills and flourishes deemed non-essential in a practical, efficient world. However, Riverside Community College District’s Mission Statement emphatically states:
“In the tradition of general education…the liberal arts and sciences…prepare students for intellectual and cultural awareness, critical and independent thought, and self-reliance.”
The students within the disciplines of visual art, music, theatre and dance have been given the opportunity to explore the vision and imaginations of other artists in addition to finding their own unique voices as artists here at Riverside City College. As such, the Visual and Performing Arts are often the vehicles to promote creativity and originality within the educational community. As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi notes in his book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, “Students generally find the basic academic subjects threatening or dull; their chance of using their minds in creative ways comes from working on the school paper, the theater production, or the orchestra. So if the next generation is to face the future with zest and self-confidence, we must educate them to be original as well as competent.”
Given the mission statement of RCC and the subsequent institutional support of the Visual and Performing Arts Departments, each discipline has a responsibility to its students and to the larger educational community to develop artistic, intellectual, educational, and curricular goals within its area of expertise. As a valued component of the educational mission of Riverside City College, how then does the discipline of dance measure up?
The Dance discipline at Riverside City College is a comprehensive, yet accessible program of dance technique and related academic courses for the general education student, transfer student, pre-professional dancer, and dance enthusiast. The mission of the RCC Dance Program is to educate community college students in the art of dance, its history and heritage, its purpose, its multi-faceted aesthetics and genres, its various techniques, vocabulary and performance. Students are introduced to the culture of dance which includes the exploration of the physical, intellectual, and artistic pathways found in choreographic and performance endeavors.
In order to serve the diverse student population, the Riverside City College Dance Program offers a wide variety of curriculum and opportunities that present challenging and straightforward objectives for students and dancers of all levels. As a benchmark of current standards of dance in higher education, RCC Dance utilizes the Standards and Guidelines developed by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD). NASD is recognized by the United States Department of Education as the agency responsible for accreditation of all dance curricula.

For the general education student

NASD Standards

“Course offerings in basic dance technique, which include development of actual dance skills, vocabulary, self-perception abilities and observations of others.”

RCC Courses & Offerings

D19 – Conditioning for Dance

D20 – Introduction to Social Dance

D21 – Ballet, Beginning

D22 – Ballet, Intermediate

D23 – Ballet, Advanced

D24 – Pointe Technique, Beginning

D25 – Floor Barre

D30 – Social Dance Styles

D32 - Jazz, Beginning

D33 – Jazz, Intermediate

D34 – Jazz, Advanced

D37 – Modern Dance, Beginning

D38 – Modern Dance, Intermediate

D39 – Modern Dance, Advanced

D43 – Tap, Beginning

D44 – Tap, Intermediate

D45 – Tap, Advanced

D46 – Body Control Mat Work

D47 – Pilates, Beginning

D48 – Universal Reformer Technique

D49 – Pilates, Intermediate

D51 – Pilates, Advanced

D61 – 67 Summer Dance Intensives

(Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, World& Social Dance, Musical Theatre Dance

NASD Standards

“Course offerings which are structured to develop artistic perception. These offerings should include live performance and participating whenever possible, and should be based on recognition that there may be little difference among students in actual intellectual abilities at the initial stage of conceptual dance development, whether or not students have performance strength.”

“Course offerings offer qualified general education students the opportunity to participate in courses which include performance and creative studies as part of the elective portion of their program.”

“Offer a variety of dance experiences for general education students and provide and assign leadership faculty for these experiences.”

“Offer course work which emphasizes the mind=body connection. Reading, speaking, and writing about dance should be considered an important element in dance studio classes. Movement classes should be considered part of the theory class course work.”
“Design and maintain an effective program for building audiences among the general education student populations, especially for faculty and student performances.”

“Integrate performances, lectures, and demonstrations by students and faculty whenever possible into the curricular approaches of other humanities disciplines.”

RCC Courses & Offerings

Dance 6 – Dance Appreciation

Dance 7 – Choreography I

Dance 8 – Choreography II

Dance 9 – Choreography III

D9 – Concert Dance Ensemble

Dance 10 – Dance Performance

Dance 11 – Rehearsal & Performance

Dance 12 – Dance Touring Ensemble

D13 – Dance Rep., Modern

D14 – Dance Rep., Jazz

D15 – Dance Rep., Ballet

D16 – Dance Rep., Tap

D17 – Dance Rep., Ethnic

D18 – Dance Performance Prod.
Master classes, dance-related field trips, attend college dance festivals, student involvement in on-campus events
D19 – D67 (see listing previous page)
Ushering, required attendance at concerts for enrolled students in all dance courses, open dress rehearsal to Perf. Arts students, Works-in-Progress Informal Concert

World Music & Dance, Arts at College Hour, French Impressionist Collaboration, Summer Theater Conservatory, Riverside Arts Foundation events, RSA, Performance Riverside

NASD Standards
“Create opportunities for the participation of general education students in activities involving visiting dance professionals.”
“Involving continuing education students where appropriate and fiscally feasible.”
RCC Courses & Offerings

Ushering, master classes, lecture-demonstrations, Arts at College Hour, Guest Choreographers

All of the above – no restriction to exclude any student from participation in dance events & activities.

For the transfer student
For the transfer student, a course of study in the dance discipline should be varied, well-rounded and incorporate a sensibility of bodily awareness and technique, appreciation of dance history and aesthetic valuing, and the inherent discipline within the studio and the within the art form itself. Artistic and analytical work, collaborative learning, and leadership skills are developed and expanded within the various performance opportunities. Courses and experiences should prepare the student for transfer in a timely manner and for the rigor and selectivity of a four-year arts institution.

NASD Standards
“Encourage the transfer student in dance as an appropriate major in a liberal arts institution.”
“Provide curricular and non-curricular orientations to develop understanding of the philosophical and sociological significance of the arts in a variety of lifestyles and cultures.”

"Provide opportunities to prepare students to identify issues and take action in the community, using dance as a vehicle.”

RCC Courses & Offerings
One-on-one counseling, field trips, attend college dance festivals, RCC as an audition site for articulated institutions (Cornish College of the Arts – Seattle, WA)
Dance 3 – World Dance Survey

Dance 6 – Dance Appreciation

D20 – Intro to Social Dance

D30 – Social Dance Styles

D65 – Summer World Dance

World Music & Dance Celebra-tion, advisors to special interest clubs, coaching liturgical dance off-campus

Dance Touring Ensemble outreach at area elementary schools, fund-raising (ASRCC & YMCA, Kiwanis, Inland AIDS Project)

NASD Standards
“Encourage dance students to present themselves and their art to the larger community.”

“Provide curricular opportunities in which artistic, historic, scientific, cultural, psychological, and pedagogical aspects of dance relate to other disciplines.”

“Address issues of audience development as an important element of the professional training program.”

“Structure programs to develop policy leadership skills along with scholarly, artistic, and movement skills.”

“Make dance majors aware of the importance of encouraging the dance enthusiast to perform in both large and small productions.”

“Assist dance major students in recognizing varying types of dance virtuosity and encourage them to have an inclusive view of the world.”

RCC Courses & Offerings
Mainstage dance concerts,

Dance Touring Ensemble, Works-In-Progress, Summer Dance Concert, attend college dance festivals, ASRCC events (Homecoming & Awards Banquets), International Students Receptions

Dance 3 – World Dance Survey

Dance 4 – Music for Dance

Dance 5 – Introduction to Movement Education

Dance 6 – Dance Appreciation

D18 – Dance Performance Production

Kinesiology in all Pilates classes

Live music accompaniment
D9 – Concert Dance Ensemble

D10 – Dance Performance

D18 – Dance Performance Production

Summer Dance Concert

D18 – Dance Performance Production

Educational Assistant – Student Director position

ASRCC Budget Hearings

ASRCC Special Interest Clubs

Summer Dance Concert
Mainstage dance concerts, Works-in-Progress Informal Concerts, Choreography classes, Summer Dance Concert
One-on-one counseling, field trips, attend college dance festivals, all technique classes (discipline faculty & staff encourage students to think critically & intellectually

For the pre-professional student
For the pre-professional student, the emphasis shifts from a broad-based liberal arts education to primarily experiential work focused on mastery of skill and expression. Although relatively small in number, RCC Dance has trained many students who have no desire to continue their education as transfer students, but seek career opportunities that require technical and performance proficiency. Recent examples are pre-professional students who have received full scholarships to the American Ballet Theatre, summer scholarships to the American Dance Festival, San Francisco’s Lines Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, and Debbie Allen Performing Arts Academy, and those who work as dancers at Disneyland, Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, and off-Broadway. Quoting again from the NASD standards and guidelines:

  • Studio experiences are of prime importance in the preparation of students for professional careers in dance. The opportunity should be available for all students to become familiar with every major aspect, technique, and direction in their field.

D19-25, D30, D32-34, D37-39, D43-49, D51, D61–67 all fulfill this guideline

  • Students should develop a significant sense of what constitutes a serious work of dance and a relatively coherent set of ideas and goals which are embodied in their work

All performance based classes (D9–18) , choreography (Dance 7 – 9) and

concerts fulfill this guideline

  • Students should demonstrate their competency by developing a presentation for evaluation

Celebrate Dance, Summer Dance Concert and Works-In-Progress each fulfill this guideline
For the Dance Enthusiast
The RCC Dance Program provides avocational dance classes to the broader population of RCC students who enroll in dance classes to explore their interest in dance as an art form, find a creative outlet for self-expression and maintain/develop health and fitness. These students often include re-entry students, local community members who have a desire to explore dance as life-long learners, students from neighboring educational institutions that do not offer dance, and those who wish to participate as performers in concerts and ensembles. All of our classes, activities and events are open to all students, thus serving the vision and values of the RCCD Mission Statement and Goals in the specific area of student centeredness.
B. History
Since 1986, RCC Dance has developed a comprehensive dance program which now provides pre-professional training for the serious dance student as well as for the recreational dancer. The program offers a complete training program that meets the requirements for transfer into dance major programs at any Cal State University or University of California, private colleges, or performing arts colleges. RCC Dance students are well prepared to transfer into a four-year school for a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. Serving the general student population who wish to learn about the art of dance for arts transfer credit is an important aspect of the Dance Program as well. Each concert and sponsored activity supports and critically enhances the curricular offerings of the Dance Program and is essential to a well-rounded Performing Arts Department. Specific curricula and programs will be detailed in the next section.
The Riverside Community College Dance Program continues to be a leader in the arts community throughout the Inland Empire. The faculty maintains an excellent working relationship with the arts councils of both Riverside and San Bernardino as well as with the California Arts Project. Faculty, both fulltime and adjunct, continue to work as artists both within the college setting and in the larger professional dance/theatre environment.
C. Curriculum and Programs
1. Curriculum

Varied and appropriate curriculum is one of the strengths of the RCC Dance Program. As noted earlier, RCC has utilized the standards and guidelines of the National Schools of Dance in developing and revising curriculum in addition to the standards and templates developed by the Riverside Community College District Curriculum Committee.

Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced level technique classes are consistently offered in Modern, Ballet, Tap, and Jazz. Dance Appreciation was revised in November 2002 in order to be included in the list of IGETC courses for University of California transfer and has gone from being offered once a year to three sections each semester. Choreography and World Dance Survey are offered as well as courses in the various aspects of dance performance and production. Social Dance is a recent addition to the Dance curriculum and the various courses are proving to be popular with many segments of the college community.
The dance program also houses a complete, up-to-date Pilates program taught by certified Pilates instructors. The Pilates program has grown from 4 classes offered each semester to 10 classes each semester. Since 1999 four new courses have been added to the Pilates curriculum.
With the addition of a fulltime instructor in Ballet in 2001, the Ballet curriculum has been expanded as well. Courses such as Pointe and Advanced Ballet that had been in the curriculum but had seldom been taught are now being offered each year.
The discipline of Dance went through program review in 1999-2000. The existing curriculum was rewritten to match the District’s form and template for course outlines and to facilitate articulation with transferring institutions. By November of 2002, all dance courses had been revised and approved by the Curriculum Committee. Since 1999 the following new courses have been offered:
Dance 8 – Choreography II

Dance 9 – Choreograph III

D11 - Rehearsal and Performance

D20 – Introduction to Social Dance

D25 – Floor Barre

D30 – Social Dance Styles

D46 – Body Control Mat Work

D49 – Pilates, Intermediate

D50 – Pilates for Dancers

D51 – Pilates, Advanced

D61 – Summer Ballet Intensive

D62 – Summer Jazz Intensive

D63 – Summer Modern Dance Intensive

D64 – Summer Tap Dance Intensive

D65 – Summer World Dance Intensive

D66 – Summer Social Dance Intensive

D67 – Summer Musical Theatre Dance Intensive
Currently all dance course outlines are in process of being rewritten. D50 – Pilates for Dancers has been rewritten according to the new template and has undergone approval by the RCC District Curriculum Committee. All other dance course outlines are in the process of being revised and updated according to the new template with specific focus on rewriting the student learning outcomes. The goal is to have all dance course outlines updated by June 30, 2006. Fulltime and adjunct faculty are involved in the process with technical support from the Office of Faculty Affairs.
2. Programs

A vital aspect of any Performing Arts discipline is the quality and consistency of the creative and performing opportunities offered for both faculty and students. Faculty, both fulltime and adjunct, are encouraged to present and perform their own works as creative contributions to the artistic environment and to serve as models for student performers and choreographers. For students at all levels the Dance Program provides ample performing and choreographic opportunities in various styles and genres. Studio concerts are presented each year to give students the opportunity to perform in an informal setting. Four main stage concerts are presented each year: World Music and Dance Celebration, Kinetic Conversations, Collaborations and Celebrate Dance. Each of the mainstage productions are held at Landis Performing Arts Center, which is a shared space between various sectors of the College and the community at large, in addition to the full offerings of Performance Riverside, the resident semi-professional musical theater production company. Selected RCC dance students are also given the opportunity to produce their own studio concert during the summer session. This provides an opportunity for the serious student choreographer to plan and execute all of the production elements of a full concert from start to finish with faculty consultation and supervision. This summer dance concert is held in the dance studio, Huntley Gym 102.

In addition, any number of supporting activities sponsored by the Dance Program enhances the student experience and provides additional support for students and faculty. An excellent example of such an essential event is American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA.) Every year, RCC dance students and faculty travel to the regional location of ACDFA to participate in classes, panel discussions, and adjudicated concerts. This annual experience provides students and faculty with essential networking with others in the dance field, and gives our transfer students direct access to faculty and students from potential transfer institutions. Choreographic work from RCC has been included in the Gala concert four times in the last nine years – this year both the faculty and student choreographed pieces were honored, along side work from such highly regarded programs at UC Irvine, Chapman University, San Francisco State and Cal State University, Long Beach.
Every semester, the Dance Program seeks out guest artists and teachers for master classes, workshops and many other opportunities for students to broaden their dance experience. From organizing field trips to attending dance concerts to scholarships for summer studies at intensive workshops, the RCC Dance Program seeks to support the dance student at every turn.
One great apprehension of the Dance Program concerns mandated enrollment numbers in specific classes which are vital to our dance transfer students. Production classes (D9, D10, D11, D12, D13, D14, D15, D16, D17, and D18) require special consideration as minimum enrollment numbers grow to over 25 students per section. Choreographic and production work has many concerns, including the number of students utilized in any given piece or performance ensemble. However, numbers should not be the single governing force for each artistic endeavor to ensure the continuing quality and consistency of the RCC Dance performance and choreographic experience. It is this superior reputation that transferring institutions note as our students matriculate on par with continuing students.
D. Student Outcomes Assessment

The nature of the arts is learning by doing. The artist and apprentice systems have always been based on performance; the master teacher observes the process of students working on something real, gives feedback, and then assesses the novice’s use of feedback and adjusts evaluation and teaching methods accordingly. As such, authentic assessment has its origins in the arts – typical assessment methods of other academic disciplines do not accurately measure student progress in a performance-based discipline.

Accordingly, assessment of any performance-based discipline does not fall easily into the lines of statistical information gathering that may assess other academic programs so well. For instance, many Performing Arts Department students do not receive an A.A. degree as it does not enhance their ability to transfer. Those who do transfer to a U.C. or Cal State can be documented; however, many go to private arts institutions or programs that are not currently being tracked. There are also students who continue in their career in the arts as a supplement to another major or area of expertise. Those who perform as an avocation are still successful performing arts students – they just choose not to major in the performing arts!
However, each performing arts discipline undergoes constant review and critique from within, just as we utilize student peer evaluations in technique and performance classes. Although the process may not be as formalized as those we utilize with our students, they are nonetheless a vital tool for judging the direction of future artistic efforts based on current curricular offerings, programs and performance opportunities.
For instance, the full-time faculty of the dance discipline meets weekly to plan, execute, and debrief all aspects of our program. This includes curriculum, class offerings, student guidance, staffing, budget, concert preparation, and, most importantly, our day-to-day interaction with our students. We are constantly monitoring how to best serve our students and their needs while maintaining pedagogical integrity and artistic vision. Specific action items are taken on by each faculty member who then researches and reports back the following week. Student input is achieved through regular debriefs and reflection of key events and concerts, and by review of end of the semester evaluations / surveys.
In addition, Riverside Dance faculty who currently teach Dance Appreciation (our main survey course for the general education / transfer student) meet regularly to review delivery methods of course content and the accuracy of assessment tools. Based on an ongoing conversation regarding a more consistent and objective rubric for written concert critiques, instructors are currently revising the rubric from a holistic to an analytic model. These instructors also utilize pre and post testing as an evaluative tool to determine if students are learning and retaining information and concepts at the completion of the semester. Riverside dance faculty who teach Dance Appreciation will participate in the District Assessment Committee’s pilot project in Spring 07 to demonstrate critical thinking skills in courses taken by students to fulfill their general education requirements. Involvement in the DAC project will undoubtedly support our attempts to genuinely address systematic outcomes assessment within the dance discipline.
Due to the geographic proximity of the dance and Pilates classes at Riverside and the fact that we share one main dance studio and a shared mat / equipment room, dance and Pilates faculty see and hear each other’s classes regularly. This encourages frequent discussion and interaction with each other’s teaching and assessment methods. Analytical rubrics are often shared as this is the preferred model of assessment for practical movement exams in our technique classes. Although not standardized to allow for genre-specific material and personal choice in regards to levels of performance and score assignment, the analytical rubrics developed by dance faculty encourage students to become more self-focused and directed as they often contribute to the design of the rubric. Another method to monitor student progress commonly utilized by dance faculty is student self-evaluation at the start and close of each semester, allowing student and instructor to align expectations and goals with actual course content.
Of course, the evaluative tool utilized on a daily basis in every Pilates, technique or performance preparation class is instant critique offered verbally. Whether the student is learning a new dance form or Pilates concept for self-esteem, fitness, and stress relief or as preparation for transfer and/or a professional career, practice with targeted instructor feedback is ongoing throughout the learning process no matter what the incoming skill level of the dancer. Feedback takes place immediately with the instructor providing individual, on-the-spot side coaching or offering group corrections based upon observation of a series of movement phrases completed by the class as a whole or in small groups. Of course, evaluation of this nature relies on the instructor’s own understanding of the art form and its aesthetic and functional guidelines, as well as pedagogical considerations.
In the case of performance-based experiences of our dance students, the RCC Dance Faculty support artistic products borne out of artistic inquiry for those directly involved in these performances / ensembles, but also for the countless students who attend these productions. Many are students within the various disciplines who are viewing to critique, support their peers and aspire to perform themselves. Still more are students enrolled in any number of courses such as Introduction to Theater, Music Appreciation, and Dance Appreciation who not only attend for credit, but to enlarge and enhance their own artistic experiences through viewing quality productions and performances. Conducting exit polls (as already utilized by the Music Discipline) of these existing RCC students would be a possible avenue of documenting the effect of viewing live performances to enhance student understanding and appreciation of the performing arts.
As educators in the performing arts, we have a duty to our students to appraise them before, during and after the process of rehearsal of their progress through a series of benchmarks, feedback / critique, and reflection. These tools can take various forms in each discipline. For instance, in dance videotaping is often used to make corrections and serve as a record of the progress of a piece prior to performance and to document the finished artistic product for review and debriefing. Utilizing a collection of a student’s progress as in the portfolio process, is a more accurate reflection of how and what our core students do in the performing arts, rather than just examining enrollment patterns and trends. For instance, student choreographers selected for Celebrate Dance 2007 will be tracking their artistic process with statements of intent, digital media, peer and instructor evaluation, written reflection, and debriefing sessions to include in their portfolio of the entire creative process and concert experience.
As always, a thorough examination of what we do and why we do it is at the heart of any self-study. Certainly the dance faculty at RCC is committed to ongoing assessment of ourselves and our teaching methods, and the evaluation of our students within each aspect of our curricular offerings and performance-based experiences.
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