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Dancing Together

Dance courses adapt to remote learning during COVID-19 pandemic.

Dance Pedagogy. Dance Composition. Introduction to Dance. These are some of the many arts courses that have transitioned online this semester. How do you teach dance remotely? And how can students continue to practice dance at home? Dance faculty at Ursinus asked themselves these questions a little over six weeks ago.

Visiting assistant professor of dance Bailey Anderson sheds light on her approach to teaching remotely: “I have been enjoying asking students to pick and choose what movement practices feel accessible and useful to their body and mind right now,” she says. “My classes have also been incorporating a lot of the work by disabled dancers who already know a lot about how to make dances in homes and in beds and with limited traditional dance access.”

Karen Clemente, professor of dance, has been focusing on creating consistency and special opportunities for her students by maintaining regular class schedules and providing access to dance professionals in the Philadelphia area. “A fun experience that the Dance 100 students had recently was a virtual ballet master class by Philadelphia based dancer and choreographer, Melissa Chisena,” Clemente says.

As the semester continues, faculty like Anderson and Clemente encourage their students to embrace their environments and challenges through dance. Anderson says, “Dance repertory students are working together in groups to film choreography. They are learning about camera angles, unifying their movement through specific tempos and augmenting set phrase work to new spaces.”

While the students continue to grow through dance, Clemente and Anderson remind us that dance teaches skills that can help anyone during this difficult time. Anderson says, “Dance teaches us so much, but right now I really feel that flexibility, creativity and adaptability are key elements within dance that are supporting many people right now.”

Clemente adds, “Dance can teach us hope. Period.”

The dance program recently launched their virtual spring concert on April 30, which is available to the campus community and the public. Clemente reiterates that the arts community at Ursinus continues to be resilient, creative and optimistic during these unprecedented circumstances. –By Jordan Scharaga ’17

If you are looking to explore dance at home, Karen Clemente and Bailey Anderson recommend the following resources: