Articles & Papers: Dance Education

Oreck, B. & Nicoll J. (2010). Dance Dialogues: Creating and Teaching in the Zone of Proximal Development by Barry Oreck and Jessica Nicoll Published in: Vygotsky & creativity: A cultural-historical approach to play, meaning-making and the arts. New York: Peter Lang

ABSTRACT: We are all born dancers, living in our instrument, moving spontaneously, rhythmically, expressively. We are also choreographers, responding to the satisfaction of form, shape and dynamics, the rightness of ritual. And we are an intelligent audience, sensing and sharing the movement of others in kinesthetic empathy to movement we “feel” even when sitting still. In teaching dance, however, and in defining and trying to analyze its “language” we often rely on verbal constructs and grammatical rules and syntax. The meanings in dance -- whether in social interaction, personal improvisation, or presentational choreography – transcend language and resist literal translation of signs and semiotic analysis. Yet, integration of the dance experience through verbal response and the interaction and juxtapositions of words and movement in many dance/theater pieces demonstrate the power and potential of the language connection in both learning and performing dance. This chapter deals with the many contradictions and paradoxes in the learning and creation of dance. How do we learn and grasp a common “vocabulary’ if it is not literal and directly symbolic? Where does meaning emerge in the choreographic process and does this change through the developmental process of becoming an artist? If the development of an artist requires a person to find his or her own way of visual and kinesthetic conceiving, then is the zone of proximal development defined by the extent to which the individual diverges from the teacher/model’s direction and chooses to express him/herself in her/his own way? In the Psychology of Art Vygotsky describes the power of rhythm, the internal satisfaction in pattern and form, and shared movement as critical social discourse. The content of that discourse and the ways in which somatic impulses become formalized and abstracted to enhance their meaning and impact on self and others, take on many forms in education and the development of artists. We draw on our observations of young dancers and choreographers and the reflections of adult artists to investigate the development of the dance artist and link them to Vygotskian understandings of the role of art and developmental processes in learning and teaching. . [ Download PDF ]

Oreck, B. (2005). A powerful conversation: Teachers and artists collaborate in performance-based assessment. Teaching Artist Journal, 3 (4), 220-227.

ABSTRACT: Introducing a field-tested approach to identify artistic ability and accurately assess student learning [ Download PDF ]

Nicoll, J. and Oreck, B. (2012). Sharing the Unknown: Developing Autonomy in Artistic Creation. A paper delivered at the Close Encounters: Dance Didactics in the Contemporary World Conference, Stockholm, Oct 30, 2012

As teachers of the arts we are committed to nurturing the creative potential of all of our students. We value process and want to inspire young artists to find their own way and their unique voices. But do we? Internalized models of teaching, and the external pressures in the settings in which we teach, can lead us away from those central values and toward a more teacher-centered, outcome-directed approach.Learner autonomy in the arts—qualities of which include confidence in navigating the unknown; the ability to look at one’s work more deeply; and the capacity to independently sustain one’s artistic creation—has become an overarching goal for us. This paper examines how we use observation and reflection in dance classes, how we hear students’ questions, how we support and mentor artists in their own discovery process, and how and when we provide our expertise. We seek a model in which artist and teacher engage in a mutual artistic process that pushes both to see new potentials and make personal discoveries. Our title—Sharing the Unknown—reflects our belief that where our teaching meets our students’ artistry, we must share and embrace the unknown. Both teacher and student enter a process that changes how we see and how we work. [ Download PDF ]

Oreck, B. (2001). The arts in teaching: An investigation of factors influencing teachers' use of the arts in the classroom (Doctoral dissertation, University of Connecticut, 2000). ProQuest cat. #9999695.

ABSTRACT: Coming Soon....

Oreck, B (1999) A better way to assess talent.  Dance Teacher.

A description of the DTAP process for identifying potentially talented students for advanced instruction. [ Download PDF ]

Oreck, B., & Piirto, J. (2004). Through the eyes of an artist: A study of teaching artists engaged in educational assessment. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association, San Diego.

ABSTRACT: Coming Soon.... [ Download PDF ]


ABSTRACT: Coming Soon.... [ Download PDF ]

Barry Oreck| 291 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, NY 11238| 718.622.2176|Barry@Barryoreck.Com