When students enact the lives of the people they are studying, they develop a greater understanding of them.
CSDC tour group - period dance as community service
From 2016 to 2019 I was fortunate to be able to collaborate with dancers at CSDC to create dance pieces that represented different time periods in the 20th century. The group of about a dozen middle and high school age students performed for community events and monthly at various retirement communities and residential hospitals. The dancers found using music and dance styles from the past enabled them to connect to their audience of senior citizens, and the vintage styles inspired many of the residents to converse with the performers about their lives.
Legends of the West - Folk tales of Outlaws and Heroes of the American West
In 2013 CSDC staged four stories told through dance of various legendary characters of the American West. In an exploration of the Turner Thesis that the western lands and the "frontier" between European-Americans and Amerindians were what formed the American character, students enacted stories of Billy the Kid, Annie Oakley, Jesse James and others.
The prominence of gun usage in these stories prompted fruitful discussions of the prominence of violence in American history and controversies surrounding the second amendment in contemporary society. Partly through the development of this performance students engaged with the concept of gun violence historically, as well as the ways in which that history continues to inform politics today.