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Sharlee Eby D 367: Methods of Teaching Creative Dance Philosophy Paper 28 May 2012 Creative Dance Creative movement

is a form of expression. It is a dance style possessing characteristics that enrich the mind. It provides opportunities for a child to enhance intellectual capacity and allow for an overlapping extension of this knowledge in every category of education. Ultimately, creative dance requires guidance of a childs imagination. It seeks to feed development of the soul while finding positive ways to express it. It stimulates the mind, enlightens the senses, and encourages the artists craft. Through an understanding of rhythm, technical aspects, body, space, energy, shape, and creative techniques, a creative dancer will be more equipped with information to articulate the soul. Dance methods support learning from a basic to a higher order of thought. Children within a dance class learn to think, problem solve and make well informed decisions - all of which are useful in life as well as in dance (Pugh-McCutchen, 2006 p. 82). This enables dancers to expand lessons learned in dance to other aspects of life. For example, research (Azmita & Montgomery, 1993) indicates that interactions between pre-school aged children promote a range of cognitive and learning skills. At this stage, children become increasingly competent in cooperative play, taking turns, sharing and understanding the perspective of others. Lobo and Winsler (2006) provide strong practical evidence for the effectiveness of dance in supporting this development of both self-confidence and social competence. Behavior problems have also been reduced as a result of creative dance participation. Although creative dance aspires to allow a child to obtain their complete potential (mind, body, and spirit), children should not be forced to achieve a level beyond their developmental

capacity. For example, it is not appropriate for a three-year old dance student to be asked to perform complex movement such as a skip with upper body torsion. Developmentally, 3 year olds are attempting to physically control their legs and arms properly. They cannot perform simultaneous upper and lower body movement. This elucidates why a creative dance teacher must recognize and incorporate developmentally appropriate tasks. It is also important for a teacher to understand physical and psychological complications. Developmental milestones for 9-11 year olds are especially important to consider for these aspects. Many girls at the age of nine begin developing feminine traits as they transition into adulthood. They particularly begin to believe their bodies should fit an ideal. As a creative dance teacher, it becomes important to stress that God has created all of us in his image alike. We have been blessed with different bodiesall specific to the individual. One person may be excellent at one thing, while another child is talented in something else. It is vital to focus attention toward childrens strengths and emphasize their importance to the dance instructor, class, and surrounding community. The extent, depth, and height of this art form are far beyond technical aspects. A creative dance teacher does not instruct dance, but rather develops and nurtures an individual. Teachers should thus become educatorsaware of and positively influencing all aspects of a dancers life. Correspondingly, creative dance teachers should encourage and facilitate the development of expression over technique. As a teacher and dancer, I have experienced and witnessed eruption of the soul. Its power outweighs the actual movement a dancer executes. Over time, children develop and improve in the technical skills required of them as they physically progress. The factor that often lacks in adult dancers is expression. It is often feared. Therefore, it must be fed at a young age in order to keep it burning throughout adulthood. This gives creative dance purpose and validity. Creativity and expression are the very essence of dancethe soul of

this art. Before this art of the soul can be properly mastered, the artist must first understand how to properly utilize their facility. It is essential for the human body to be well understood and valued in order for a dancer to use it as a successful instrument. Most importantly, the body works in conjunction with the spirit. The spirit enhances, develops, and enlightens all bodily functionsallowing proper functionality. As a dancer discovers their body through creative movement their mind can be enlightened to receive revelation. A year ago I once questioned where the separation of the body and soul takes place. I understood that my brain controls all of my body functions. Among the list is our emotion and ability to choose right from wrong. So where does my spirit take over? I have discovered that finding the area of overlap is far more important than separation. This uncovers details of how the spirit enhances body capabilities. In Key to the Science of Theology Parley P. Pratt said: An intelligent being, in the image of God, possesses, every organ, attribute, sense, sympathy, affection, of will, wisdom, love, power and gift, which is possessed by God Himself. But these attributes are in embryo, and are to be gradually developed. They resemble a bud, a germ, which gradually develops into bloom, and then, by progress, produces the mature fruit after its own kind. The gift of the Holy Spirit adapts itself to all these organs or attributes. It quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections, and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful useIt develops and invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, invigorates and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being. In the presence of such persons one feels to enjoy the light of their countenances, as the genial rays of a sunbeam. Their very atmosphere diffuse and thrill, a warm glow of pure gladness and sympathy, to the heart and nerves of others who have kindred feelings, or sympathy of spirit (Parley P. Pratt, 1998 p. 55) For this reason, dance becomes a far more powerful tool than society recognizes. Dance possesses the ability to cultivate kindred feelings and sympathy of spirit through utilizing the very instrument (the human body) that the spirit works through to connect human kind. Creative dance becomes imperative for children to learn to be inspired and unite mind, body, and spirit at

a young age. Such teaching will cultivate intelligent and powerful beings prepared to understand and touch world societymaking a difference, daring to dream, improving civilization. Creative dance extends beyond creating an aesthetic. It enlightens the mind and teaches life principles. It values the imaginationfueling it through productive exploration. In the end, creative dance seeks to encourage an understanding of the body that allows for proper expression of the soul. It strives to create aesthetic experiences for those participating and viewing uniquely connecting humanity through its universal language.