DEC Newsletter April 2003

The Dance Educatorıs Coalition (DEC) is a network formed in 1986 to provide emotional and professional support to Dance Educators.  DEC’s mission is to serve the needs of its members and to give impetus to more and better quality dance programs throughout the state.

President:  Colleen Callahan-Russell

Vice President: Sherry Saterstrom

Finding My Way Home With a Little Help From My Friends

I returned to the Twin Cities on September 11 almost five years to the day of my arrival in Los Angeles.  Iıve accomplished much in the last seven months, made more difficult by my expectation that this transition would be easier than when I tore myself away from family, friends and career to do graduate studies at UCLA.  Iıve been helped through this process by discussions with members of the dance community who have been curious about my program in the Department of World Arts and Cultures and the direction Iım heading in with my new MA in hand.

I didnıt expect that I would no longer care to teach childrenıs dance.   I didnıt expect that I would still love mentoring people who teach childrenıs dance.  I found I enjoy teaching university students.  I found I enjoy teaching theory courses.  I found I miss my L.A. dance improvisation group, Locomania. I want to start an improvisation group. I want to teach an adult improvisation class.  I want to, I want to...

I found it all takes longer than I anticipated to turn wishes into action. But back to those accomplishments:

I connected artistically with many talented folks at an amazing workshop called WASH facilitated by Suzanne Costello and Stuart Pimsler and have since done a workshop for the staff at a mental health day treatment facility.  We will develop movement activities that meet a myriad of goals.
The DEC February 16 event was a wonderful opportunity to re-experience the richness of this dance community and to dialogue with Colleen Callahan-Russell on ways to extend the exploration of the German Influence in Minnesota Modern Dance into a new forum, the Book Club meeting on April 19.  It is our wish that participants will continue to develop topics for investigation by movement, video and text.
The Compleat Scholar has taken up my new course, Movement as Cultural "Performance."  It is a non-credit sampling of a larger course for a university still to be determined...  Weıll visit various classes and movement events and explore ideas about the body and embodied experience.
Discussions are underway on a seminar on Theories of Interculturalism. Thanks to the folks at the Perpich Center, Iıve shifted from wanting to teach a university course to creating a forum for community dialogue.

And, I got a job, not THE JOB, but a job, and I am happy.   I am so happy to be here with family and friends and dancers.

So dance educators, if you are interested in improvising, pursuing your scholarly interests, exploring your attitudes about the body and movement forms, and cultural interchanges, please contact me. 

                                                                                                                Mary Kay Conway

Minnesota State Arts Board Legislative Updates Funding for the Arts

You may have heard about budget cuts to the Arts Board, here is the recap from the MSAB website for the year ending June 30, 2003:

"On Friday, February 7, Governor Pawlenty used his unallotment authority to reduce state spending and balance the budget for this fiscal year. Overall, the governor cut $281 million from across all state agencies and programs. The Arts Board received cuts, as well. They include:

Cuts to grants $ 344,000

Cuts to Arts Board administration / services 40,000

Total cuts $ 384,000"

Dance applicants were to be notified by the end of March whether Artist Assistance Fellowships were to be awarded.   The February 3 and May 1, 2003 Career Opportunity Grant deadlines were cancelled. A very limited number of Folk Art Apprenticeships and Folk Arts Sponsorships were available and were to be reviewed in March.  The February 14, 2003 Video Documentation deadline was cancelled.

The German Influence in Minnesota Modern Dance

The guiding questions for the February 16 event were: What is the German modern dance aesthetic and how did it differ as practiced by Nancy Hauser, Margaret Dietz and Molly Lynn?  What influence did they have on what exists in the Minneapolis Dance Community today?  And, why Minnesota?  The following are excerpts from that gathering in which Heidi Jasmin led the group in contrasting movement qualities and spoke about Nancy Hauser, Julie Mueller recalled Margaret Dietz through a movement sampling of spatial circles and memories, and Molly Lynn presented Pilates and the German influences in Minnesota dance education.

Heidi Jasmin:  "Right away Nancy grasped the principles.  Hanya (Holm) wanted to do these lecture demonstrations in New York when she moved here rather than doing performances because she wanted her dancers to understand these principles.  They would go out and do these lec-dems where they would vibrate and they would swing and would do some improvisational work and some spatial work.....Hanyaıs dancers would come out and vibrate and have a sense of joy in what they were doing.....Letting your body become that principal.

I remember taking classes with Nancy...she would come in with a concept, but she would never get there ahead of time to plan a phrase.  Her phrases developed out of that concept so you saw in that class where it was going and why it was going there kinetically...Her classes were so complete from beginning to end."

Julie Mueller:  "At the time that the Nazis took over of course Wigman was told that she would have to quit performing in order to continue the work at the studio.  When Mary came to Margaretıs class at one point and watched then she said, OOh, now I know why you are not so frantic or so committed to performing choreographing and performing because her classes were a whole experience in themselves, and after the class, you felt like you had performed, and it was complete.

On very very hot days she would start her class with chest opening and then eventually we all ended up dancing, swimming out of the Benedict Art Center and getting into cars and going to swim."

Molly Lynn: "One of the most important ways that I think the German influence in dance sprinkled itself in Minnesota is through the dance education programs that were here....Because of Nancy I was able to choreograph a dance called, "Dancing Playground."...That piece was quite successful because it was one of the first pieces that actually interacted with, not just performed for children. The children danced with the dancers and also interacted with the teachers so that the teachers were able to get some of the principles that Heidi was talking about in their classrooms. And in a way I think that is the true heritage of the German dance because it really spread it among the children.

I see vestiges of the German dance in so many different kinds of dances...To me the interesting thing is these principles have existed and still exist in much of the dance that is going on even though the styles are different, the principles are there...Just the concepts of  space, time and force...Those were the principles we used to teach the children, and quality of movement, expressing yourself through movement....There were really really clear forms that they could latch onto."

Spin-Off Reading Group "Ecstasy and the Demon"

The February 16 program was the opening foray into a larger discussion of the German influence in Minnesota Modern Dance.  The next installment is a group reading of Susan Manningıs book, "Ecstasy and the Demon: Feminism and Nationalism in the Dances of Mary Wigman."

Saturday, April 19, 1:00 ­ 2:30 p.m. 1376 St. Clair (Colleenıs house) (651) 699-6299

Everyone is invited to read the book and enter the discussion.  To facilitate the session, individuals have signed up to do a close reading and lead the discussion on selected chapters.  That way, if people are unable to read the entire book, we can still have a lively exchange.  So far we have one person per chapter, and others are invited to prepare topics of interest.

Related subjects, and perhaps further session topics,  are: the Bauhaus, Nietzche, Einstein, Freud, Dadaism, Expressionism and Quantum Physics Pre and Post-WWII.

Merce Cunningham Coming to College of St. Benedict/St. Joseph, MN

Hey Dancers!!!  From April 22-26, Merce Cunningham will be in residency at the College of St. Benedict.  The company performance is April 26!!

A Free, Advanced Adult Dance Class is offered on Saturday., April 26, 10:30-12:00, taught by dancer/choreographer assistant, Robert Swinston.

Pre-registration is necessary, and there are plenty of spaces left.   To register, call Tonya Miller at (320) 363-2963.

There are other free related classes too!  For more info/details, check out:

Dance on!! Ann-Marie Loushine Thompson

Upcoming DEC Michelle Rusinko In-Service 

A Dance Educatorsı Workshop with Michele Rusinko

"These are a few of my favorite things. . . . "

Sunday May 4:  1:00 ­ 3:30 p.m. (location to be determined). Michele will share some of the "tools" from the "toolbox" she has accumulated over 25 years of teaching dance.

favorite transitions (letting go of the outside world; coming home to the body)
incorporating Dr. Lulu Sweigardıs "lines of energy" into technique class
a few favorite warm up exercises
a lush combination or two
a favorite improvisation or two

Participants are asked to bring ideas to share from their "toolboxes."

Peggy Hackney Summer Workshop

Dance Educators Coalition presents a Summer Weekend Workshop:

Friday, August 1 ­ Sunday, August 3
9:00 a.m.­ 12:30 p.m. Barbara Barker Center for Dance
Cost: $100

with Peggy Hackney

Peggy Hackney is internationally recognized for her work in Dance and Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis.  She holds an MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College and performed for many years with the Bill Evans Dance Company.  She is currently the Director of  the "Integrated Studies Certificate Program" in Berkeley and teaches on the faculty of the University of Utah Certificate Program.  She is also Assistant Director of "Moving on Center" in Oakland, California, which is a program in Somatics Education and performance.  Her book, "Making Connections: Total Body Integration through Bartenieff Fundamentals" is in its third printing by Routlege.

If you have ever wondered how to help yourself and your students approach dance training in a way that will lead to more joy and personal investment in motion, this is the workshop for you!  Peggy will use all her movement training (most especially Laban/Bartenieff) to guide us through movement, improvisation and composition experiences that will speak to the artist and teacher in you.

Register online by emailing or call Colleen at (651) 699-6299.

"Opportunity-to-Learn Standards for Dance Instruction"

These following materials, equipment and facilities Standards are excerpted from a document prepared in 1995 by the National Dance Association.   This might be a good check-in for your dance facility.  How many of the following does your facility have?

Materials and Equipment

3.  The following equipment and materials are available in every room in which dance is taught:

CD player, dual tape deck, speakers, amplifier, drums, percussion instruments, portable tape recorders, camcorder with tripod, VCR, and TV color monitor.  Also available for appropriate student use are good quality recording tapes for audio and video use.

5.  Every school provides the following technology for dance instruction:

computers that have CD-ROM drives and access to Internet, appropriate software, dance-related CD-ROMs, printers, video cameras, color monitors, and stereo VCRs.

6.  Every school provides access to stage space;

appropriate and adequate dressing room and shower facilities for boys and girls; and secured storage space for all equipment, costumes, props, and scenery.

7.  An annual budget provides for performance/production costs (costuming, music, props, scenery, etc.) and for the purchase of supplies, equipment and materials needed for teaching dance (records, CDs, audio- and videotapes, dance reference books, periodicals, and computer materials).


1.  Every school with a dance program provides a dance classroom appropriate for the size of the classes being offered.  Dance classes require a clear, clean space with good ventilation, convenient electrical outlets, and an even, smooth resilient floor with the dimensions of at least 30ı x 40ı. Ideally, the classroom contains a sprung wooden floor for safe dance work, mirrors, and bars mounted on the walls, a bulletin board, and chalkboard space.  The room provides good lighting and supports comfortable temperatures throughout the academic year.

Member News

Linwood A+ School won the Creative Ticket Award from the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C..  On March 10, 21 students performed an original opera, "Tales of Immigration" and a dance, "Justice Starts in Your Heart," on the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center.  The performance is now part of the archives and can be seen on the Kennedy Center website: Click on "Millennium Stage."  The necessary plug-ins are available for free.  It was a very exciting trip.  We rarely have time to work on a project with much depth in a public school setting, but for this project, the students not only could get into the material, they had time for reflection.  That alone would have made the project worthwhile. Add to that the thrilling opportunity to perform at the Kennedy Center, and we really had a once in a lifetime experience.  Kathy Mohn

Wendy Ansley recently had surgery on a herniated disk at C5C6.  She immediately regained the use of her right arm, performing Bharata Natyam mudras in the recovery room.  The prognosis for a return of full functioning looks very good.  During her four week recovery period, her position at Ramsey Fine Arts School is being covered by a teacher from the On Your Toes Studio.

Emmy Thompson is back in Salt Lake City teaching K-12 at Waterford Institute, a private charter school.  In teaching the littlest dancers, she is embracing an area that she had previously felt unequipped for, and discovering untapped resources and great joy.

Janet Skidmoreıs improvisation company, Just Add Water, did a Valentines show at the Lakeville Area Arts Center.  Janet hosts "Add Water & Stir" for improvisers in all genres, at Patrickıs Cabaret each month.  See the Patrickıs website, for more information.

Roberta Puzon shares that Sheridan Global Arts & Communicationıs K-8 Dance Program has grown immensely.  The Festival of Arts on February 27 was a huge success with lots of performances in the fields of Dance, Music, Art Making and a ton of other great stuff.  Her family is also growing very fast: Elbert and Robertaıs daughters Gabriela and Adriana are 3 years and 7 months old!  Time flies by...

The ACE Dance Program at the Perpich Center for Arts Education held its final workshops on April 10 & 11. Over the past two years, K-12 teachers from Hopkins, Wrenshall, Glenwood, Starbuck and Minneapolis have participated in professional development workshops and received onsite consulting through the ACE Dance Program so that they might further develop and strengthen dance education in their school districts. Diane Aldis directs the program and is assisted by Derek Phillips.  Dance Education Specialists for the ACE Dance Program have been Judith Howard, April Sellers and Christopher Yaeger. Applications for new ACE Dance school teams and Specialists will be available Spring of 2004.  Diane Aldis

Upcoming Member Events

VIVA CITY: Tuesday April 22, 7:00 p.m. at Orchestra Hall Minneapolis Public High Schools present an evening of music and dance with representatives from all eight Minneapolis Public High Schools (north and Southwest Dancers will dance).

Linwood A+ Second Annual Dance Concert:
May 1 at 6:30 p.m. and May 2 at 1:30 p.m. in the Linwood Gymnasium 1023 Osceola Avenue St. Paul, MN
The school is south of Grand and two blocks east of Lexington.

Southwest High School "Dancing Outside"
Wednesday, May 21, 7:00 p.m. at Lake Harriet Band shell.
Works by Toni Pierce, Barbara Thatcher, Colleen Callahan-Russell and mega Student Choreography.  FREE.

March 6 Minneapolis Public School Staff Development

Diane Aldis presented  "The Curriculum Follies" to the fine arts and physical education specialists in Minneapolis Public Schools on March 6, 2003. The Follies is a dance performance and dialogue that investigates some of the metaphors we might encounter in working with curriculum such as a finish line that keeps changing position just as we get close to it.

Colleen Callahan-Russell has been using digital video as a feedback tool with students at Southwest High School.  Her presentation suggested various methods for using I Movie to teach dance skills, to shape choreography and to assess learning.

In a session on how dance and theater can improve reading literacy and support reading and language arts standards, Wendy Ansley showed video of kids dancing to stories.  Michael Engel brought scripts of plays written by students. For Michael, this session reinforced his approach to students who are phenomenal creators and performers and who memorize their lines not by reading them, but by hearing them.  This would seem to be a negative demonstration of the reading and language standards, but is indicative of the ways that the arts can be a uniquely positive school experience for students who struggle with reading.

Dance Resources ­ Conferences, Websites, Books, Videos

~K-8 Dance Videos~
Michael Engel is offering beautifully edited videotapes of student dance and drama.  The videos, which appeal to anyone in education and particularly to dance teachers, are boxed and come with written materials introducing the content   $10; contact Michael at (612) 869-6609.

~NDEO Conference~
 Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 16 ­ 19.  "Culture, Language and Dance." For more information, e-mail Bill Evans at or visit NDEO website.

~Cross Cultural Dance Research Symposium~
"Applying Dance Ethnology and Dance Research in the 21st Century" June 6-8, 2003 Flagstaff, Arizona

Presenters include internationally recognized pioneers in their fields:
Allegra Fuller Snyder, Elsie Dunin, Joann Kealiinohomoku, Vicky Risner, Elizabeth Aldridge, Colin Quigley, Edy Greenblatt, and more.  FFI contact

~Dance History Teachers Discussion Group~
Send DHTDG mailing list submission to

To subscribe or unsubscribe via the web, visit or via email, send a message with subject or body of help to You can reach the person managing the list at

~Dance History Scholars Conference~
University of Limerick, Ireland June 26 ­ 29.  "Dance History on Shannonıs Shores" check DEC and DHTDG websites for more information.


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