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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: growth of dance in America
(Summer-Fall, 1976)

H'Doubler, Margaret
Dance in academe: [dance as an educational force],   pp. [322]-[335] PDF (14.0 MB)


Page 334


Technique in its broadest sense refers to the
whole process, mental and physical, which
enables the dancer to embody aesthetic
values into his compositional forms, brought
into existence by disciplined movements. In
this sense, technique, form and expression are
three interdependent aspects of all art
expression, for as soon as the message is
expressed it has been given a form and the
form is brought into existence by movement.
Technique is aesthetic engineering; it trans-
forms aesthetic values into the material forms
of their expression.
Beyond the knowledge of the structural
determinants of movement and of the sensor-
ial factors of rhythm and of the knowledge of
the laws of motion as they effect movement,
lies the message of the dancer.
The knowledge of kinesthesia, and the deep-
ening knowledge of movement and rhythm,
and of the relation between feeling and its
movement expression are trends which are
influencing the developing techniques accord-
ing to forms that are inherent in movements
because of body structure and function, rather
than techniques developed for visual appear-
ance alone. A change in the technical study
of dance naturally brings about a change in its
theory and philosophy and vice versa. As a
result, dance today is accepted as a creative
art form, expressing and communicating the
dancer's values as he knows them. The con-
cept of contemporary dance is not a pre-
scribed system; it is dance conceived in terms
of all that we know today of its science, its
philosophy, and its claim to art. Perhaps it
might be helpful, and cause less confusion
to think of our students as modern youth
dancing, instead of their performing "modern
dance." For after all, any art form is modern
in its time. Dance today is the contemporary
phase of dance in its development toward
greater universality.
Creative ability has many applications to life
and can contribute much to improve the qual-
ity of living. It is a means of becoming sensi-
tive to quality values in one's environment,
not only as found in the arts, but also as they
can be observed in nature and human rela-
tions. Because of the nature of creative
effort, participation in it can contribute to a
heightened and critical awareness of life, not
only in evaluating experiences, but also in
creating the forms of their expression.
334
Students bring a wealth of natural endowment
to a study of movement. They come with a
structure made for action, and another for its
perception and control, a rich inheritance of
reaction patterns, and an innate love to move.
What are we doing with this endowment?
Nature adequately provided the means for
self-expression through movement; education
must provide the ways. Not until provision is
made in the curriculum for creative activities
can we hope to renew much-needed aesthetic
sensitivity in our lives today and be freed
from herd-like conformity. Although movement
does not need mind for its existence, it does
need mind for its clarification, direction and
control.
To integrate one's self within a group, and to
cooperate intelligently with his fellow men,
one first must feel the security and self-value
which comes from integration within the self.
Self-understanding is the basis of understand-
ing other selves. The individual's culture as
well as the culture of the social order is
dependent upon man's ability to create and
produce. These are human qualities which
must be saved. To release and foster creativ-
ity is one of education's greatest
challenges. [1
In closing I would like to quote from Lord
Byron:
'Tis to create, and in creating live
A being more intense, that we endow with
form
Our fancy, gaining as we give
The life we image.
All photographs appearing in this article were
the courtesy of Professor Mary Lou Remley,
Dance Division, and the Women's Physical
Education Department, University of
Wisconsin.
A


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