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  1. #31
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Apr 2008

    Re: Is dance class like math class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Meredith View Post
    Contrast that with several dancers I know who after 4 or 5 years have never (not even at home) done improv or created choreography. I was paired with one in an intermeadiate class several years ago to do improv for eachother - she cried.
    My experience may not have been typical, but it was typical of THIS. I was dancing almost five years before someone asked me to improv in class--and it was a guest teacher who was subbing who did it. I had years of lessons with no expectation that I was doing anything beyond showing up once a week and mimicking whatever the teacher did that night in class.

    They are terrified of it and their teacher never introduced or guided them through either process. She just taught choreo after choreo, combo after combo.
    I can take it one better. I've been in classes where the teacher didn't even cover this much. It was an endless loop of movement drills (not even combos) and a small set of choreographies that were restarted for each wave of new class members. If you are not a good improv dancer, and want to run your classes as choreography-only, that is certainly your prerogative, but I think you have an obligation to your long-term students to at least continually give them new choreographies, instead of cycling through the same handful you've been using for years. If you can't or won't do that, then why not encourage your higher-level students to take on the task of providing new material for your core students or troupe? Not only does that push you as an artist to explore new ideas, but it gives the students a chance to practice their choreography skills. From a students' perspective, this hesitation has a very suspicious whiff of "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" What good reason can you have for NOT wanting to try this? If you don't know everything, and you won't learn WITH us, what are you hiding?

  2. #32
    Advanced BHUZzer BELLA_BELLA's Avatar
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    Jan 2008

    Re: Is dance class like math class?

    Quote Originally Posted by kashmir View Post
    Really? Advanced differiential calculus takes a bit more than just plugging in different numbers and letters and working on the imaginery number plane takes a bit of a different mindset as well. ,r:;
    And the rest. This is missing the point. YEs, you can't "really" compare the two, it's just a discussion. As for diffy q and other higher maths - of the 6 billion on the planet - how many do higher math? Same for brain injuries, that is an argument reduced to pointlessness - of course, that impairs anyone's ability and that the damage affects a person's ability, but this is not the norm. [Don't interpret that last as a slam at someone with a head injury, I'm just pointing out that most people haven't had THAT particular unfortunate experience so they don't have a similar math-impairment].

    So that can't be an example of how math isn't like dance. But everyone does story problems every single day - you measure, you count, you use a recipe, you do sudoku, you pay for something and have to estimate the tax, or you calculate the probability that if you accelerate at 75 mph you can blow past that truck on the interstate without hitting anyone (ok you probably do the probability wrong but you're using your math and science skills, here).

    I do statistics correctly, not because I have this innate grasp of the calculus used to derive the tests (which I don't), but because I have had alot of practice plugging in the right numbers into the right formulae. And statistics scared me for years!

    I simply have more belief in people's ability to learn a task which, for the most part, is based on repetition.

  3. #33
    Mega BHUZzer kashmir's Avatar
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    Jul 2000
    Christchurch, New Zealand

    Re: Is dance class like math class?

    Quote Originally Posted by BELLA_BELLA View Post
    Same for brain injuries, that is an argument reduced to pointlessness - of course, that impairs anyone's ability and that the damage affects a person's ability, but this is not the norm. [Don't interpret that last as a slam at someone with a head injury, I'm just pointing out that most people haven't had THAT particular unfortunate experience so they don't have a similar math-impairment].
    It wasn't the brain injury - but rather the acknowledgement that brains work differently. It could be because of a stroke or a fall - but it could be due to abuse as as child or plain old genetics. For some people there is no way through - no matter how determined they are or how good the teacher. Dance is the same.

    I think a lot of unneccessary guilt and stress has been generated by the "you can do anything" movement - to students and teachers. That isn't to say teachers shouldn't teach well and students work hard - but there comes a line that some people will never be able to cross.

  4. #34
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Jul 2004

    Re: Is dance class like math class?

    Like me .... for what ever reason, I am incapable. Or at least I have been in the past. I must admit, part of it may well be laziness. If I cant have one of those wonderful aha illumination moments while learning a new subject, I will loose interest at some point. I just don't enjoy a slog that doesn't seem to end...ever...

  5. #35
    Ultimate BHUZzer kiyaana's Avatar
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    Jan 2004

    Re: Is dance class like math class?

    I'm a math teacher and have taught grades 8-12, including all spectrums (spectra I suppose, having formerly taught Latin, too) of ability (collaborative classes with over half special ed students up to advanced). Despite (?) math being easy for me throughout my own schooling, I think I do an okay job of teaching it.

    My main thought about this whole thread is this: no matter what subject you are teaching, you can take one of two approaches.

    Teacher A says "this is how you do it" and leaves it up to the students to figure it out. S/he never changes her/his methods and is either unaware of teaching deficiencies or doesn't care when students are struggling and blames it on their lack of ability or laziness. Yes, some students will learn from this teacher, but typically they will be the type that can learn from any teacher because they have "natural talent" (and many could teach themselves up to a certain level).


    Teacher B pays attention to what's going on in her/his classroom and adjusts/re-explains according to the needs of her/his students. Teacher B works to open the lines of communication with students and when they say they don't understand, does her/his best to find a different approach for helping them learn. S/he reflects often on teaching practices and seeks out inspiration from other instructors and professional resources and keeps up with current approaches to the subject matter.

    Yes, sometimes you need to drill and practice. No, it's not all going to be fun and games. But there is plenty of room for innovation, inspiration, and enthusiasm.

    Oh, by the way, I LOVE using an airliner board with SMART technology in my classroom. Saves money in the long run because I won't be using expensive transparencies. Plus it frees me up to walk around the classroom instead of being tethered to the chalkboard (so ancient! so easy for kids to throw things when your back is turned!) or the overhead projector.

  6. #36
    Advanced BHUZzer raqFariha's Avatar
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    Oct 2009

    Re: Is dance class like math class?

    i think it's more like foreign language class. Shems wrote an article comparing dance to language for the gilded serpent awhile ago, i was SO thrilled when i found it because it said what i'd been thinking only so much more clearly and fully.
    learning the isolations is vocabulary and drilling them is like doing flashcards
    combos are like those practice sentences where you learn if the languages goes "i threw the red ball" or "i red ball did throw" or "i-threw the ball of red"
    choreographies are like reciting a speech. (if it's a really good choreo then maybe it will be more like a poetry reading) it's good for helping you to learn how the language is composed, cadence, etc.
    listening to music is like reading books in that language, and teaches cadence and sentence structure
    improv. practice is conversation practice, in my opinion the goal of learning a language ^_^

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