Dance News

Up Your Teaching Game With NDEO's Latest Online Courses

Photo by AACPS, courtesy of NDEO

To stay on top of your game as a dance teacher, professional development is required. But there's no time! You're most likely shouting into the screen. This is understandable. With busy lives and jam-packed schedules, continuing education can seem impossible for a dance professional. That's why the National Dance Education Organization created the Online Professional Development Institute (OPDI). And they just announced their spring 2018 courses.

All OPDI courses are designed for dance teachers—educators, teaching artists and administrators working in private studios, community centers, higher education and K–12—looking to learn new content and strengthen their own skills.

Here are a couple of highlights, beginning January 29. Each 12-week course is $500 and earns three NDEO-endorsed continuing education units (CEUs).

Foundations for Assessment in Dance: Taught by Dr. Rima Faber, this course explores the basics functions and purpose of assessment. By looking at the different ways to evaluate a student's achievement, it helps teachers understand their students' progress better.

Choreographic Explorations in Dance Since 1953: Led by Professor Naima Prevots, the class takes a thematic approach to modern, ballet, hip hop, tap and cultural forms since 1953. The works of George Balanchine, Bill T. Jones, Lucinda Childs and Doug Varone, among others, will be explored.

NDEO offers the Certificate in Dance Education (CiDE), which is obtained by completing 33 CEUs of OPDI Courses.

Monica Martens, a dance teacher in Texas, recently earned her CiDE. Here she talks about how her dance-teaching practices have changed from her NDEO education:

"Every course I took supported my work as a teacher. In fact, it felt as if I learned something just in time for the next opportunity that came my way. For instance, about two years ago I taught a dance-appreciation course at a college (without a performing-arts program). By then I had taken several dance-history courses and choreography courses. These helped me to plan my syllabus and assignments immensely. Also, the ballet pedagogy course that I took led me to the ABT teacher-training program, which I attended this past spring. A kinesiology course supported my Pilates teaching and gave me insight into dealing with injuries and dance students who overtrain. All of my courses either supported my current teaching or helped me to anticipate another type of teaching assignment I might have in the future, or connected me to an additional resource or program."

To register and learn more about the program, visit here. An online OPDI application will need to be completed. And don't wait! The courses have caps on enrollment and fill up fast.

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Photos by Amy Kelkenberg

Whether a dancer has too much or too little, turnout can be one of the most frustrating aspects of technique. Students often feel they must achieve 180-degree rotation to become successful in the field. In reality, the average person only has 45 degrees of external rotation in each leg, meaning their first position should be no greater than 90 degrees.

Because range of motion in the hip is ultimately determined by the joint's structure, it is impossible for dancers to increase their structural turnout. Often, though, students do not use what they have to the greatest potential. By maximizing their mobility they will find greater ease within movement, improve lines and, most important, prevent injuries caused by forcing the joints.

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Here, Vogel suggests exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles that activate turnout:

Sitting Stretch: For Stretching Turnout Muscles at the Back of the Pelvis

Sit on the edge of a chair with knees at a 90-degree angle and feet flat on the floor. Cross the right ankle onto the left knee. Lace your hands together and nestle them under the right knee, lightly pressing energy into your hands and toward the floor (though the knee should not actually move). Sit up straight—some may already feel tension here.

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