Peter Sparling Dance Company
Educational Outreach Programs
A Window on the World of Dance
This 50 minute lecture demonstration is appropriate for audiences of all ages. The program begins with a simple introduction to the dancers' daily warm-up routine. Sparling talks the dancers through a demonstration of various ways to shape movement by altering the use of space, time and energy as the dancers fill the stage with sculpted images in concentrated motion. Citing familiar examples from everyday experience to illustrate how movement comes alive and communicates, the company assembles a moving picture puzzle of various design, rhythmic and dynamic elements until the pieces come together in formal choreography. The audience witnesses the building of a dance quartet from one solo dancer to four in an overlay of danced phrases.
The company has performed this demonstration for pre-kindergarten through college student audiences in assemblies as large as 800. High school classes, college students and adults are given a more sophisticated tour through the same materials. The program is easily adaptable to suit different situations, performing spaces and age groups.
To design this informative and entertaining presentation, Sparling has built upon years of experience as a traveling artist with the Lincoln Center Student Programs and Affiliate Artists, Inc. and as teacher and educator in his current position as Professor and former chair of the University of Michigan Department of Dance.
Elements Of A Dance - An introduction
Lecture-demonstration as described above, however does not include the performance finale as above.
A series of workshops have been designed to complement the lecture demonstration.
Workshop One: Introduction to space and direction. Students participate in the dancer's daily warm-up as demonstrated in the lecture demonstration. Dancers engage students in a conversation about space, one of the elements of dance. The dancers demonstrate and then students act out levels of high/middle and low with different shapes. Then direction, (forward, back, side) and pathways (curvy, straight and zig zag.)
Workshop Two: Introduction to time and energy. Students experience acceleration, deceleration and stillness. They are instructed how to move on the beat and move to rhythms in 4/4 and ¾ time. They also talk about energy and experience how music/melody/rhythm and tempo influence movement.
Workshop Three: The making of a dance. With knowledge of space, direction, time, and energy, students create their own dance. Students are divided into four groups and each group works with one dancer. The dancers guide students in the creative process.
Workshop Four: Performing a dance. Students rehearse their works and then perform for each other. For the final workshop, we suggest that parents be invited to watch. The lead dancer can explain the creative process to parents and then introduce each group.
The workshops are interactive and work best in a multi-purpose room or a large classroom in which chairs can be stacked. Each workshop is 45 minutes. It is best to allow an hour for workshop four. Each workshop can accommodate up to 30 students.
Community involvement: Suggested ways to enhance dance experiences
A musician from a community symphony or university can introduce students to live music by playing sections to the dancers' musical score. .
A visual artis or art teacher A visual artist or art teacher can work with students to create visual pictures of the dance they are creating. In one school, four murals were painted by students and used as the back-drop or set for the final performance in Workshop 4. The murals are now permanently on display in that school.
A poet/writer or language arts teacher teacher can work with students to write poetry based on the theme of the dance performed.