Dancers Need Space… For Their Thoughts

photo: Janaea Rose Lyn, dancer: Liz Malloy, Artwork: Laura Higgins Palmer

Photo: Janaea Rose Lyn, dancer: Liz Malloy, Artwork: Laura Higgins Palmer

Being a dancer and a writer, I have a fondness for dance journals.

Whether keeping, suggesting, assigning, or just admiring a collection of pages set aside for thoughts on dance, I’ll admit I get a little giddy over the potential in a blank page.

Just in time for the start of the new year, I received a copy of the Dance This Notebook, a journal created by Dance Advantage guest writer, Janaea Rose Lyn and artist/collaborator, Laura Higgins Palmer.

Opening its pages, I was first struck by the amount of white space available to the dancer to fill. Around half of the pages in this 110-page paperback are completely blank. The rest feature quarter-page embellishments with Palmer’s wispy line drawings of dancing figures and original quotes of inspiration, written by Lyn.

Each message and drawing speaks directly to the creative spirit of dancers:

“Questions, like movements, lead to more and better ones.”

The imagery playfully echoes or relates to the quotes:

A figure in a stag jump, accompanies the text, “Leave the earth and see a new perspective.”

Words and pictures even guide the creator:

“A sacred space invites imagination to visit.”

“How to begin? Simply start and then continue.”

At roughly 6×9 inches and less than 1/2 an inch thick, the Dance This Notebook fits easily in your dance bag or satchel.

Unlike many journals, the pages are unlined, providing an uncluttered space to freely record your creative ideas, choreography, class combinations, questions, reflections, corrections, accomplishments, or even your own drawings or visual representations.

For my college ballet course, I require students to keep such a notebook for class. This book, because it is created by instructors of dance and art, is a perfect tool for such an assignment. The attractive, simple design and messages will inspire any student or dancer.

Record your audition experiences
Janaea Rose Lyn

Artwork by Laura Higgins Palmer

Janaea Rose Lyn has been offering her audition tips and advice here on Dance Advantage. Check out her posts and use the Dance This Notebook to reflect and recall details about the auditions you attend or plan to attend.

Let Dance Advantage prompt you

We offer the 4 for 40 E-course. The most popular component of this course is the “Dancescribe” journal prompts which are delivered weekly into your email inbox for 40 weeks – an entire year’s worth of dance classes. Once again, a great pairing with the Dance This Notebook!

More dance diary ideas in our Reflection and Journaling for Dancers post.

More about the Dance This Notebook creators:

Janaea Rose Lyn (McAlee) is the currently full-time faculty and Dance Coordinator at Estrella Mountain Community College in Arizona. Previously she was Assistant Professor of Dance and Performing Arts Program Coordinator at Cecil College in Maryland. She is the author of Dance This Notebook with Artist Laura Higgins Palmer and is a contributing writer for Choreoclinic. Janaea was Founding Artistic Director of both Convergence Dancers & Musicians and Dance Matrix, and she remains active as a Third Generation Isadora Duncan Dancer. Information at www.janaearoselyn.com.

Laura Higgins Palmer has been working directly with dancers and choreographers for more than two decades. From countless volumes of her drawings Laura creates finished paintings based on improvisations, observations, characters, and theatrical productions. Laura’s work has been exhibited internationally and she has taught drawing, painting, design, figure and anatomy to students from elementary school through college and beyond. See her work at www.StudioLHP.com or www.Drawn2Dance.com.

Dance This Notebook

An uncluttered dance journal to freely record your ideas, reflections, accomplishments, or corrections with original quotes and line drawings that directly speak to the creative spirit of dancers.

The Procrastinator’s Dance Gift Guide

By now your stockings have probably been hung by the chimney with care…

But you’ve still got dancers on your gift list! And Amazon is telling you that paying expedited $hipping fee$ a dose of Elf Magic is your only Ho Ho Hope for the timely arrival of those gifts.

Never fear, the digital age is here! These gifts are a procrastinator’s dream:

Dances To Go logo - Our Perfection is your PerformanceChoreography for Teachers

DancesToGo.com provides à la carte choreography for a variety of dance levels and genres. They’ve got a great group of guest choreographers with years of experience as teachers (and I’m not just saying that ’cause I’m one of them)!

One way to gift it: You may not know which choreography would be most useful for the gift-recipient. Since Dances To Go uses PayPal’s services, you could send money to your dancer friend or family member (they will need a PayPal account) for use at the site. While you’re at it, send them an iTunes gift so they can grab the music, too!

DanceStudioOwner.comHelp for Studio Owners

DanceStudioOwner.com gives studio owners what they need to be successful – e-books and articles, monthly teleseminars, templates, checklists, customizable forms, and plenty of support in an often isolating job. This is one of my favorite resources because they offer so much value at affordable monthly and yearly membership plans. Gift a membership and make your favorite studio owner very happy.

4 for 40 e-courseA Weekly Action Plan for Success

A new year. A new commitment to going the extra mile in your dance classes. We at Dance Advantage deliver the keys to make this year outstanding with an e-mail course that provides terminology, an inspirational quote, something to Dancescribe in a dance journal, and something to do EVERY WEEK in a 40-Week E-course.

Let us sustain and motivate your favorite dancer the whole year through. Yes, you can “gift” this e-course. It’s called 4 for 40 and you can find it right here.

Digital Reading

Whether your gift-recipient is Team Nook or Team Kindle, you can give specific digital publications as gifts at the Nook Store or Kindle Store (just look for the Buy/Give as a Gift links on the book’s purchase page).

Here are some of my favorites and books I’ve read this year: [Read more…]

Creative Process: 10 Ideas for Moving Beyond the Steps

I view dance as THE liberal art.

When working within the concert dance realm, we combine movement with music, acting, and principles of visual art while exploring topics in other academic disciplines. This helps provide meaning behind each motion and informs the process by which we create.

When I hear some K-12 (and studio) dance educators talk about the works they and their students present, I often feel they are missing what I consider to be my favorite part of teaching- getting kids to think about real things in real ways. This should include the field of dance.

IMAGE A winding path cuts through a grassy park IMAGE

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” - Don Williams, Jr. --- Photo by Ian Sane

But what if your career has never ventured into professional dance performance? What if your college dance experience only explored a small number of methods in making dances? What if your understanding of process means little more than practicing dances over and over until they are “performance ready”? What does “performance ready” even mean?
.
Concert Dance, to me, is determined by process- the ways movement is inspired, how it is developed, edited, and finally presented. The style of dance is irrelevant in many respects, it is all about the intent and the journey, which lead to the product.

If this idea is new to you, here is a ten-step list of how to engage in a process. The order of these events could certainly be played with, as could the methods for determining these events. [Read more…]

Sneak Peek at the New Dance Advantage E-course

I’m thrilled to unveil something new and exciting happening at Dance Advantage.

You know that we, my columnists and I, provide fantastic (if I do say so myself) free content covering all things dance for everyone involved in dance training. We give an edge to dance students, teachers, AND parents…

You’ve heard that somewhere, right?

But now for the first time, I am releasing premium material for those who want to unlock new doors in their dance training.

IMAGE The 4 for 40 Dance Advantage IMAGEWhat is it?

An e-course, sent to your email inbox every week for 40 weeks (TEN months – the length of an entire year of dance study at your school or studio).

Every weekly email includes four components (detailed below).

Who is it for?

4 for 40 is designed for students who want to be better, smarter, stronger dancers and dance students by the end of the dance year.

 

Ask a teacher to describe their strongest pupils. Regardless of any identified talent, they’re the ones…

  • who THINK about dance even when they’re not in the studio,
  • who go out of their way to LEARN and digest all they can even when it’s not their turn or even when they’re not in the studio.
  • who don’t expect to unconsciously improve as a mover but are motivated from within to put ACTION behind their goals.
This course is perfect for that kind of dancer…

AND it’s perfect for those who want to be BUT

need the extra nudging for their brains, the extra guidance for their bodies, the regular attention to themselves that teachers don’t always have time to provide in or outside of class.

What does it cost?

The course costs less than you’d pay for ONE private dance lesson. But it costs more than what you’d be willing to set aside on some shelf collecting dust or stuff in a dance bag, never to see the light of day again.

After all, I want you to actually USE it!

4 for 40 puts physical, mental, and emotional goals, actions, and lessons into the hands of YOU, the student week after week. I guarantee you’ll be an improved, more whole dancer than when you started and that your peers, family, and probably most of all, your teachers will notice!

With something to DO every week, the course will draw out real effort.

But 4 for 40 is also fun and creative and EASY.

No task should take more than an hour to complete. Most will require only minutes from your day or week.

In other words, it won’t feel like work!

IMAGE A peek at the 4 for 40 e-course IMAGE

In each email you’ll get:

A relevant and INSPIRING quotation to apply to your tasks and to your week in class.

A chance to grow your vocabulary

These aren’t the ordinary terms you find in every online glossary. Only rarely will they be the names of steps or ballet terminology. Instead they’ll be words and phrases that matter to students of any form or genre. They are must-know because they are often used but infrequently explained. You will LEARN, or at least be asked to THINK in a new way about each vocabulary term.

A reminder that dance is a verb

IMAGE A peek inside the 4 for 40 e-course IMAGEYour action assignment could be a physical exercise to perform daily. It could be something physical or mental to enhance your work in class(es) for the week. It could be a task to boost morale and get your creative juices or commitment energy flowing. No matter what, there will always be something to DO each week.

A way to ‘de-scribe’ dance

Though it may not be physical, it helps us digest all the yummy stuff we absorb each lesson, each week, or during each experience in dance. So with a mix of creative and reflective writing, list-making, and goal-setting each journal prompt is all about YOU, Dancescribing where you are and where you are going in dance so that you can look back, be present, and move forward in the way you THINK, FEEL, and PERFORM in your dance classes.

Find out more:

IMAGE The 4 for 40 Dance Advantage IMAGE

CLICK HERE

Can I purchase and then give this to a student as a gift?

Yep, you’ll have the opportunity to buy and then enroll your child, grandchild, or friend, adding their name and email to our e-course participant list.

Can teachers use 4 for 40 in their classes?

As I mentioned, this course is designed for students. 4 for 40 regularly asks the student to learn, think, reflect, and act on given tasks independently. This encourages and develops the necessary skills and motivation to eventually self-initiate their own habit of recording and investigating dance.

4 for 40 is most effective when the student can work through this process from beginning to end. While most any of the elements could be taken out of context and delivered or assigned to students as a class, the underlying lesson gets lost if they are not “working” the course on their own.

Teachers, YOU can definitely benefit from examining and/or working through the course yourself but paying for the course only to redistribute portions of it to students reduces its effectiveness and may even be a waste of your money.

In the future discounts or incentives for teacher-endorsed enrollment in this e-course will be offered. Until then, I invite you to learn more, ask questions, and give the course a try.

I gratefully welcome your recommendation of 4 for 40 as I welcome and appreciate your recommendation of any of the content here at Dance Advantage.

Enroll Today!

IMAGE Click here to get started with 4 for 40! IMAGE

Click here.

Celebrating Successes With A Dance Journal

“Sometimes in ballet it is easy to recall the corrections, but it is harder to celebrate the successes.”

Fellow dance teacher Nants Foley wants to help her students do both. And so, she suggests they keep a journal of their progress in class and write down their combinations and corrections.

IMAGE Nants Foley IMAGEShe’s created a special book for her students, including space for recording their class work and progress as well as additional content like checklists, quotes, ballet vocabulary, foot care, and more.

Thinking (and rightly so) that other students and teachers might benefit from her efforts, she has published the 70-page journal and workbook and is making them available beyond her own dance school.

I know many of you are actively aware of the value of logging your progress in dance and some use dance diaries as a tool with your own students. So, I caught up with Nants to talk with her about A Dancer’s Steps and ask how she encourages journal-writing in her own ballet classes.

Dance Advantage: Give us a little background on your dance history.

Nants Foley: I have been dancing all my life, though never professionally.  I was fortunate enough to train under Olga Ziceva and Richard Gibson in San Mateo, CA for many years, though I chose college over career in dance.

I came back to ballet seriously 15 years ago when my daughter was 6. I live in a small town in the central coast region of California.  I wanted her to have the same great training I did and there were no teachers!  I found my excellent training and my background in business teaching made me a valuable resource in the dance community.

I am blessed to be teaching at San Benito Dance Academy in Hollister now.  It is a studio with a commitment to excellence and a mission to nurture the bodies, minds and spirits of its students.

DA: Did you keep a dance journal throughout your own dance training?

NF: When I was young, people kept diaries and scrapbooks. I had a scrapbook where I kept all things ballet related:  Ticket stubs from performances I attended, pictures from favorite dancers, the combinations I was working on.  I still have it and it makes me smile.

The Artist's Way on Amazon.com


I have used journaling as a creative tool ever since discovering Julie Cameron’s The Artists’ Way years ago.

DA: Ah! I’m familiar with and have practiced some of Ms. Cameron’s techniques.
When did you first start encouraging your students to bring a notebook to class with them? Do you require it?

NF: Right now I am doing our summer intensive. This is the first time a notebook has been required.  They may bring any type of notebook.

I have been encouraging it for awhile, and many already had developed the discipline to use one.  I made it mandatory because this intensive is really intense!

DA: What does the process do for the student?

NF: The use of a book is an exceptional tool for many reasons.  Students write their combinations so they can practice at home.  They make note of their corrections so they can review them before their next class.

These are some of the obvious benefits day to day.  But the most important component is that they have a snapshot in time of where they are in their ballet education and growth.  In ballet, it is so easy to focus on what one is doing incorrectly or poorly.

The writing process allows them to go back and reflect and remember, allowing them to see how far they have come in their journey.

DA: How do you incorporate and encourage the use of this journal in your classes? Do you give them “homework” in each class or, is what they do with the notebook pretty much self-led?

NF: What they do with the notebook is self-led.  It is a tool offered to them.

The truly dedicated students go for it. I don’t give them homework with one notable exception.  I work a lot with students on how to set goals.

For summer intensive, each student was required to set three goals.  These were written in the notebook.  They also wrote the specific action items needed to achieve each goal.

There is a time limit…the end of the summer program.  Already we have seen several students complete a goal they set at the start of summer.  It is really inspiring for them, for the other students in class and, of course, for me!

I set three goals for myself:  To regain my right split, to lose 7 pounds and to eat 5 fruits or vegetables per day.  I’m doing really well on all three!

DA: Congratulations! I am a total advocate of goal-setting. I’ve used goal pages and journaling in my own classes and find myself talking about it a lot when students e-mail asking for advice. It’s all over Dance Advantage – for lesson and career planning, too.
What has been the most rewarding feedback you’ve received from students about keeping their journal?

NF: There has been lots of it!  The completion of goals is huge. The parents are noticing the change in their children and sharing it with me.  And my personal favorite is when a student asks me to autograph a copy of my notebook!

IMAGE A Dancer's Steps IMAGEDA: So, back to A Dancer’s Steps. At what point did you decide to put together the book?

NF: I looked for a journal like this for my students, and found nothing .  There are fabulous ballet reference books.  And beautiful journals abound.  I just couldn’t find the two things combined.

DA: Do your dancers use them in class?

NF: My dancers use them in class daily.

I have a short break mid-class, and many take the opportunity to write in them at that time.  I have a weekly set barre and center based on a theme introduced the first day of the week and repeated without further discussion all week.  There is a lot of writing on the first day of the week!

DA: The book is a mix of content and open spaces. How did you decide what would be in the bound workbook?

NF: I included the reference information I would have liked as a young student and my favorite quotes found over the years.

My undergraduate and graduate degrees are in architecture and design, so I enjoyed playing with the design of each page, choosing the form and the function I felt would be most usable for students.

DA: I really appreciate the design. It’s simple and attractive without being too frilly – good for all ages and genders even.
Which is your favorite section?

NF: I think the whole piece on SMART goals is the most valuable piece.

If we don’t have written goals that are truly achievable with a time limit, we only have dreams. “Someday I will be able to do the splits…or a triple pirouette…or be able to jump for 3 minutes without stopping.”  I encourage the use of goals in all areas of life.

DA: That would be my pick too. I think I’ve found a kindred spirit in you, Nants! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your journal with us.

If you are a student or teacher and would like a copy, contact Nants atIMAGE nantsfoley AT gmail DOT com IMAGE

A book shipped to an individual is $12.  They can be paid for by sending the money through PayPal.

Copies of A Dancer’s Steps: a Ballet Journal and Workbook are sold at San Benito Dance Academy for $10.

If a teacher or studio would like to purchase these for their class, Nants would need about two weeks lead time.  There is a discount for multiple books. Just contact her via that e-mail address above.

Do you keep a dance notebook or journal?

Do you require or encourage their use in your classes?

What do you put in your journal?

As you know, Dance Advantage values highly any tool that helps students log their progress and self-examine the learning and creative process. Having been sent a copy of A Dancer’s Step for review, Nichelle feels it is worthy of recommendation.

DA is also excited to announce an upcoming project and e-course that is designed to help you reach that next level in your dance study with a mix of goal-setting, progress recording, creative writing, and more. We will unveil this very soon. Please stay tuned!!

Chloe Arnold’s ‘My Life, My Diary, My Dance’

Chloe Arnold is confident in her life’s journey, as is evident in her one woman show, “My Life, My Diary, My Dance,” that debuted in New York City on February 11th at ‘The Club’ at La MaMa. The stage was devoid of scenery, except for three musicians and a blonde, wooden floor. (You can see for yourself in the video at the bottom of the page.) Through entries of Chloe’s ‘diary’ we come to understand the relationships and circumstances that developed her into the powerhouse performer that she is today.  While the style and flow of the evening was uniquely Chloe Arnold, she makes it very clear that this show is not just about her. Through a first-hand account of her performance and from my one-on-one correspondence with Chloe, I aim to prove just that.

Through home videos and spoken word accounts, we come to understand Chloe’s dance lineage completely. At 10 years old she began working with Savion Glover. She studied under him for several years and would develop friendships that would continue to shape her dancing. One of these friends, Bakaari Wilder, introduced her to the cast of Bring In Da’Noise, Bring In Da’Funk, a production that many consider the pinnacle event in contemporary tap. Chloe credits the spontaneous jam sessions that would break out backstage of the production as her initiation into the tap community as well as her trial by fire.

It is through her experiences growing up as an adopted, African-American female coupled with the talent that she surrounded herself with that forged the dancer and entrepreneur that she is today. Her attack is ferocious, and it is her fearlessness that aids in her rapid growth as a performer. In tap dance terminology, Chloe has a deep pocket.

What do you mean, deep pocket?

By pocket, I refer to a wealth of stored movements, rhythms, and styles.

Are you familiar with your favorite dancers’ signature moves? That’s their pocket. For those of you who are just beginning to explore choreography and improvisation, you may find yourself going back to certain movements or rhythms repeatedly. That’s your pocket. This memory technique gives your choreography and improvisation a flavor that is unique to your personal experiences. Developing the pocket is essential for anybody who is seriously considering a career in tap dance and/or cares to participate in the tap community and communicate effectively.

Early Influences

The lights dim as Chloe recalls the musical influences of her youth. She is no longer the strong, confident performer. She has become more introverted. Her shoulders slump a little bit. Her voice tightens and becomes whinier. Her entire attitude is [Read more…]

Your Story In Dance, Haiku, or Prose

A couple of years ago (has it been that long?) I participated in an arts workshop called Fieldwork here in Houston via CORE dance. The work (not the focus of this article but something I’d invite you to learn more about) culminates in a final presentation. For this particular program’s physical program we were asked to include a bio… in haiku form!

It was a unique request but one I had fun completing. I hadn’t written any haiku since my school days and spent a little time investigating the form beyond the 5-7-5 syllable rule my teachers had always instilled. The following was what I published in our program:

IMAGE A full and colorful tree. IMAGEHer leaves quiver aloft;

Broad tree with many branches

A sapling grows beneath

It felt like “my story”…incorporating a sense of movement, of personal growth, of my diversified career/interests/talents, and my then new role as a mom.

Speaking of…

It’s as good a time as any to let you know that the last line of my haiku might now be altered to Two saplings grow beneath. Yes, I’m currently about 4 1/2 months pregnant with my second child and due in August. A new chapter in the story, and…

Everyone has a story

Recently, in an email conversation, I traded “stories” (dance backgrounds, life and training pathways) with a young ballet dancer, who you’ll be hearing from later this week on Dance Advantage. I am more than twice her age (ugh!) but in a few paragraphs we were each able to summarize and hit the highlights of our experience. It was like exchanging bios but more personal, revealing something more of ourselves – character, qualities, aspirations. I began to think about autobiography and that all of us have an interesting and very individual story to tell (even if it wouldn’t or shouldn’t take a novel to tell it).

IMAGE A woman whispers into a large ear sculpture in The Hague. IMAGEShare yours!

I discovered in the process that her story: the things she’s accomplished, experienced, and done, are compelling not because they are uniquely spectacular but unique to her, interpreted by her, shared by her. [Read more…]

Goals and Reverse Resolutions

[image] Happy New Year 2011 [image]Resolutions made at the start of a year are notoriously broken. With the whole year ahead it’s easy to try taking on bigger goals than you are ready to complete, disappointing yourself as a result. There’s nothing at all wrong with goal-setting. In fact, I encourage it.

First though, take a moment to make your list of Reverse Resolutions. These are the things you’ve accomplished over the last year, written as resolutions crossed off your list.

Here is my list, including the personal and professional:

2010 Resolutions
  • Expand my Houston-based dance writing
  • Return to teaching at a studio
  • Complete potty training with my son
  • Help us both (my son & I) make the transition to preschool
  • Enjoy more getaway time with my husband
  • Be part of a dance film project
  • Welcome 500 Dance Advantage subscribers and our 100,000th visitor (since moving the blog in ’09)
  • Reach 1000 Facebook fans
  • Introduce an initiative to celebrate the significant and various ways dance matters and makes life better
  • Find new ways to engage and reach out to readers and fellow dance bloggers

I don’t know where the concept originated but I first encountered the practice of making Reverse Resolutions from another blogger named Amber. Amber was blogging at Dance Primer when I first started Dance Advantage in 2008 but has gone on to a master’s degree and a career teaching music (not to mention managing a family). She’s kept up the practice of listing Reverse Resolutions on her family blog and I’d like to encourage you to give it a try.

Make your list! Share it with us in the comments.

Setting Goals

After you’ve thought about your achievements, think about the steps you took to accomplish them. Did you take one gigantic leap or many small actions to get there? Did you take some risks along the way? Was the outcome actually different from what you expected?

Reflect on this and get ready to set some new goals.

[image] Click this Goal Page image to download the pdf [image]If you keep a dance journal or even a personal planner or diary, you can easily keep track of goals, the steps you take to achieve them, and also your progress and achievement.

I’ve included a Goal Worksheet (click on the image to the left to download the pdf). Use this as a guide or print copies to insert directly into your journal or binder.

Use the top half for setting goals.

Write down your goal, your plan for reaching that goal, and how you’ll stay motivated along the way.

Example Goal: Improve front splits by the summer.

List the specific steps you’ll take: Take a few minutes after class to stretch while you are warm; Allow time after your shower to go through a slow routine that works through the muscles surrounding the hips and lower back and finishes with gentle split practice; Spend time visualizing yourself in a full split

How will you backup your plan? Ask a classmate to join you and hold each other accountable, or listen to your favorite song only while stretching, make an inspiring picture your desktop photo.

Use the bottom half for reflection.

Three months, six months, or a year later have your splits improved? Even if you didn’t reach your goal, write down what you did achieve or what you are proud of yourself for accomplishing.

List the things you learned about yourself and your goal. Maybe improving splits takes more time than you thought, or you found that certain times of the day are better for you when it comes to flexibility.

Note the things or people that helped you the most. Did your teacher suggest a stretch that really worked for you? Maybe your mom was especially encouraging, reminding you to stretch.

The big picture:

  1. Keep a categorized list of to-dos: This is your big list of goals in different subjects, dance styles, or aspects of your life.
  2. Decide on the actions and tasks you’ll take to achieve select goals (maybe the most important or time-sensitive) from this list.
  3. Schedule those tasks into your day or week.

Teachers, need more ideas or want to help your students with this exercise? Check out this post.

What goals are you setting for yourself this week? this month? this year?

Reflection and Journaling for Dancers

Photo by Dave Spellman

Photo by Dave Spellman

Dance is a form of expression, allowing one to creatively or artistically “speak” through a non-verbal language. However, dancers have often found a need to express themselves through words and writing as well.  In fact, writing can be a useful tool for dancers, teachers, and choreographers.  And, journaling or keeping a diary is a great way to preserve and organize one’s thoughts, reflections, goals, and more.

Who and What

A dance teacher and friend of mine, recently wrote on her blog, Uptown Dance NJ, about ways in which a dance diary can be used for students, teachers, and professionals.  She spoke of her own methods and uses for this valuable tool and how and why she encourages her own students to keep a dance diary.

There are many types of journals from organizational (lists, schedules, data/idea collection), to pragmatic (what you did, what you’ll do, achievements, failures), to idealistic (goals, dreams, ambitions), to emotional (how you felt, reflections, critiques).  And, there are many, many, many techniques for writing and keeping a journal.  Some people collect and use or sketch images, others write free-form, limit themselves to one sentence, or answer questions or write lists.  Some use a binder, others a bound book, and others use technology and computers.  In this regard, each must determine the methods that will best meet his/her needs. However, in order to encourage you to make use of a dance journal, I’d like to highlight how particular aspects of a diary could be useful to dancers and/or teachers. [Read more…]