[Fwd: Re: Dance/Tech Questionnaire for Education]

Mary-Lou Michael (loulou@adam.com.au)
Wed, 31 Dec 1997 15:56:48 +0000


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From: Mary-Lou Michael <loulou@adam.com.au>
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"Robert Wechsler (Robert Wechsler)" <r.wechsler@rzmail.uni-erlangen.de>
Subject: Re: Dance/Tech Questionnaire for Education
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Hi robert
Robert Wechsler (Robert Wechsler) wrote:

> "learning new technologies" i am not sure what you mean. ... i assume you
> mean something like the instructor brings in a computer and ... i'm sorry, i
> really dont know what you are getting at.
> to teach a course where one introduces students to the general concept of
> dance- tech by, what, showing some video tapes of artists? or letting
> everyone take a turn playing around with life-forms?
> I mean even if you enough equipment to let a whole class try out, say an
> electrode system like the one we use, i am not sure it really makes much
> sense at this point. the stuff is all so highly customized and
> experimental. each student would need a technician to work with them.... i
> just cant imagine anything accept a "demonstration" kind of thing.
> hmmm. i am really trying to imagine how practicum in this context might
> work (and be successful). i'm affraid i just dont see it.
> if you mean simply the idea that dance students might study technical fields
> as well as dance, and be encouraged to experiment with combining seemingly
> disparate fields, well then yes. by all means. why not?

Hi Robert, and thanks for taking the time to respond! Much
appreciated... I wanted to explain myself at this point.

I have conducted a short workshop with my students, with the focus on
technology/dance. I believe we all learn by doing, and feel this is no
acception. The students all had the opportunity in groups to rotate
around the room experimenting with new technology, and the
introductory/demonstration was kept to a minimum... at my request.
When I first used Mac Draw... I played... I scribbled and came up with
many pretty average results... because I was learning... as you say
experimenting with something new... of course! My students played. In
the first workshop they came up with some pretty average results, but
by the third session they had all produced a self contained phrase of
composition material. As a dance educator i see this as very valid.

The students worked with a hand held Joystick which controlled,
everything from lighting, to sound, music and pre-recorded
computerised projections. They also worked with a sensitised floor mat
which could do similar things when activated. ... and a piece of old
technology, but I think quite fabulous, for a short while anyway...
called a Theremin, sound was controlled by movement. Anway I have
already written about this in detail on the list i think.

I'm sorry about the wording of this particular question itself I must
admit I submitted it quickly as an extra, it was not in the original

> most dance students neither want, nor could really profit from involvment
> with any tech. stuff. i think it must be considered highly marginal to a
> good dance education.

I'm glad for your opinion! I think it is important for students to
experience technique classes, choreography, performance/ repertory,
and appreciation... I'm not discounting what we already have... but I
believe in providing students with experiences, especially during
composition, choreography sessions. For instance I plan to take some
students down to the beach to shoot a short video, on sand and in
water... I put a group of students on a moving scaffolding this year
and they experimented with that... I like to provide students with new
spaces, new environments so that they may find new ways of feeling and
moving!!! ... and besides, it's lots of fun!!!

I read your article in that Ballet Tanz International magazine, and
I'll definitely be using a quote!! I like the photo of you leaping
over the computer!!

Cheers and thanks again. :)