Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thinking Dancers

At the National Dance Education Organization annual conference in Minneapolis this past week, I participated in an interesting workshop that I’d like to share.

David Alexander, Education and Community Initiatives Advisor for Boston Ballet, explained how several years ago Brown University actively recruited retiring professional dancers from Boston Ballet for admittance into their undergraduate programs.  David explained, "They saw these dancers, perhaps by their virture of their training, experience, and general positive work ethic as good investments, and great ambassadors for the university's 'Mature Adults Returning to Study' [MARS] program."

He added that a few years ago, two researchers from Boston College and Harvard University--Ellen Winner and Lois Hetland--studied the personal habits of students involved in intensive arts training and experience and discovered '8 Habits of Mind' which might explain the university's interest in recruiting them.
  1. The willingness to Develop one's Craft
  2. The personal commitment to Engage and Persist
  3. The ability to Envision
  4. The ability to Express
  5. Willingness to Observe
  6. Willingness to Reflect
  7. Eargerness to Stretch and Explore
  8. Willingness to study and Understand the Art World

To me, this is just another example that dance is much more than just learning steps. Just some food for thought.