Texas Tech University

On Pointe

Charlotte Boye-Christensen

March 31, 2020

Charlotte Boye-Christensen

This period of time reminds us how important it is that we take care not just of ourselves but also each other. As we maintain social distancing, we should make a conscious effort to support each other, slowing the spread of COVID19 and its impact on society.

It is inspiring to see the efforts that individuals are making for the collective whole. Thank you to everyone for making these necessary changes and for staying optimistic, positive and engaged in the process.

As we move classes online, it changes how creative movement and technique classes will be taught.

The immediate creative, energetic dialogue created in the studio between student and teacher is now to be sought differently. It is more challenging to be expansive and far reaching in our movement because of spatial limitations, as we are now moving into living rooms, kitchen areas and otherwise.

I have been reflecting on how best to serve our students in this new reality and how, in dance, we can take advantage of this moment to hone in on strengthening internal resolve, to focus intently on technical specificities and on clear intention in simple gestures, and on nurturing a quietness and a peace of mind that can mitigate the onslaught of changing news. Also, I'm exploring how can we use technology to serve this purpose generously, where we help our students from afar find creative ways of being physically exploratory in new spatial and social conditions. Ideally, this will provide insight regarding dance on film and site-specific movement exploration combined.

While challenging, there is great potential in this moment to be a springboard for discovery, refining ways to push traditional modalities of dance and in turn provide students and faculty alike with an exciting journey.

I am inspired by how resourceful and passionate our dance faculty has been in this transitional process switching from in person classes to online.

Here are their thoughts:

The transition to moving my dance courses online for the remainder of the semester has been both daunting and invigorating. I teach two levels of jazz dance technique courses, a musical stage dance course focused on learning iconic Broadway choreography, and a service-learning course that involves our students working with local schools and agencies. None of these courses translates easily to online learning, but using the resources available to me and finding inspiration from others online has made me excited to see where this might grow. It's times like these that remind me to not stay complacent, and to push to do better for my students because they deserve that. I want to be a resource for them, providing them with a sense of normalcy during this trying situation. We are so lucky to live in an era that is technologically advanced, and we have many tools to communicate and connect to one another. I hope to use these tools to continue our work together by deepening our understanding of course concepts and creating community within the work we create independently.
- Kyla Olson

I am using a combination of synchronous and asynchronous teaching with Blackboard, Zoom, and Microsoft FlipGrid. I'm using platforms that students can access easily on cellphones since not everyone has good internet signals and/or access due to potential increases in usage within each household. I am not trying to replicate in person learning, but instead adapting to the positives of our new platforms, especially the portability of our work (dancers' instruments are our bodies!) I'm excited to see what we can make happen, and how we can integrate online and digital work further into our pedagogy after this phase is over.
- Tanya Calamoneri

While I already miss seeing the students every day, hearing their ideas, and witnessing their growth in person, this unusual circumstance offers a wealth of opportunity for us as a dance community to bring the vitality and relevance of live dance to the screen and to the page, and to foster connection and learning in exciting new ways. The Choreography II class, for example, will be creating dances for film - a timely implementation of new media - and I'm planning to facilitate a distance iteration of Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process so we may share in each other's creative development. The flexibility we implement this spring will make us a stronger, more adaptable dance program. We dancers are resilient and we can do this!
- Ali Duffy

I am inspired and actually strengthened by the show of humanity and compassion by the Arts communities all over the world. To witness all of the individuals, organizations, schools, (professional and regional) offer their art (dance, theatre, voice, visual, etc) to everyone through social media is encouraging. I am looking forward to stepping up to the challenge of online classes where we may enjoy increased introspection into technique. Online classes will encourage us not only to listen more carefully, but also be responsible for our own training. Instructors and students will each have to be purposeful and disciplined to apply the information physically and mentally on our own rather than repeating information, as is common in technique classes. to have class!
Let's remember what we learned so far, apply the learning, retain it and move forward to learn more.
- Yvonne Racz-Key