I left Redlands on Friday January 22 for the California Dance Educator’s Association Conference(CDEA) feeling a bit apprehensive. On the other hand, I was rested and healthy. Moreover, the main thing was the main thing. Right? I was prepared to speak on ‘Children’s Dance: Educational or Sexualized’ and I had my hand-outs ready. So what was the problembow? For one, I wasn’t sure if my laptop would align with conference equipment. In my world, there always seems to be an IT glitch. And if you know me, you’re aware that I am not a computer whiz(BTW, that is an understatement). Do you ‘get me?’ So I went early to check things out. That was Friday afternoon. Of course, I found out the exciting news. A person on the administrative staff told me that the powerpoint equipment never worked. Ugh.
Then I heard some good news. Boo-yah! I met the head of the dance department at Santa Clara, Kristin Kusanovich(so kind). I found out that she had arranged for entirely new equipment to be rented out for all conference sessions. Happy heart! Happy me! The next morning I met up with the IT staff and they made everything click. By that, I mean that everything worked. Ahhhh, my best friends, the computer techs. Thanks guys!
After the very important Olympic dive into a couple of cups of coffee and lots of conversation, the conference started. I went to some wonderful sessions that included a welcome to the CDEA conference by a dedicated CDEA board (upbeat with lots of news) followed by many, many class options. I’ll list just a few: Mexican-American and Scottish-American dance, NDEO priorities, Improvisation for Dance & Classroom Management, Change from the Inside Out, Improv/Ensemble Thinking, Inspired Teaching with the National Core Arts Standards, Movement for Humans, ballet, jazz, modern technique classes, and panel discussions as well as my session (with other classes running concurrently) at 3:55pm. The end of the first day.
Before I talk about my class, I need to share another bit of apprehension. I had an odd thing happen during Saturday morning. More than odd, actually bizarre…. I started sneezing. A lot. More than a lot. Then I started blowing my nose. A lot. More than a lot. No kleenex with me so my companion was toilet paper. A new friend? Embarrassing….. Actually, I was totally unprepared for this surprise episode. I felt great on Friday and now this. Oh well. By the time my class time appeared, I was a mess. And then the miracle occurred: the sneezing and nose blowing stopped when I began my class until I finished it. Adrenaline? Maybe….but I experienced the Lord Jesus helping me. His grace gave me needed strength. Thank you Lord.
But let’s get back to my presentation. The class went smoothly even though I forgot to take any pictures. It was well-attended. I spoke, the video worked, and the class discussed the topic. I’m here to praise dance educators; they know what’s going on in our culture and they don’t like it. It was a joy to be there. Can I remind you about the beauty and importance of dance research that says when children’s dance is age-appropriate, it fosters creativity, problem-solving, risk taking, higher ordered thinking, communication, social awareness, emotional maturity and improved self-esteem? And so much more. You might want to check out Dr. Judith Hanna for her incredible research in this area. And, if you’ve forgotten, check into the videos available on danceawareness.com. Then, of course, I must mention the welcoming hearts of board members Kristin Kusanovich, Susan Gingrasso, Nicole Robinson, and Jennifer La Curan. And oh, I can’t forget my friend Zach Forcum(not pictured). Zack and I have been email buddies for quite a while. He’s the one who encouraged me to go to the CDEA conference and speak in the first place. What a guy! Zach has also commented and edited an article I wrote for CDEA on the DA:NCE topic. An aside: all of these folks are volunteers.
A big thank you to CDEA. I was welcomed, supported and stimulated by movement at this conference. It’s an understatement to say that I love being with professional dance educators. I’m glad that I was able to go to this conference for myself, for the fabulous movement classes offered, and for the topic.