Dancing Faces: Why is Emotion Not a Part of the Dance Curriculum?

By Kirsten Harvey.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The dance community is a world of pliés, spirals, and jazz hands. The technical elements have slowly but surely become the highest priority for many dance companies, conventions, and festivals. The emotional connection is at the root of dance. We dance to celebrate and express our inner thoughts and ideas? Don’t we? Yet, dance educators and choreographers are focusing more on how high the leg is or if the hip is down that the dancers end up frustrated not understanding what to do with their faces and as a result do nothing. This research will explore why these ideas are being perpetuated and emotions are no longer as important in the Western dance aesthetic. In order to create new ideas and techniques that we can use for the 21st century dancer, I will examine dance forms such as Bugaku,Kabuki,and Classical Indian Dance where facial expressions and emotions are of the utmost importance. Also, I will discuss my practical applications in various jazz classes at Western Michigan University and what techniques produce results and what appears to be ineffective. These results will offer new insights for teachers and choreographers on how they can produce dancers that can bring out their emotions naturally and without affectation.

Keywords: Dance, Emotional Connections

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.223-234. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 613.748KB).

Kirsten Harvey

Assistant Professor, Dance Department, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Kirsten Harvey is a dancer, choreographer, and researcher. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts Degrees from the University of California, Irvine. Ms. Harvey began her dance career studying with some of the best from the School of American Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, American Ballet Theatre, and the Opera National de Paris. She danced with the Marla Bingham Contemporary Dance Company as a soloist in works such as Firebird, Sanctuary, and Vision. Over the past ten years, she has worked with some of Hollywood’s elite directors and choreographers such as Vincent Paterson, Marguerite Derricks, Anne Fletcher, and Jason Myhre. She was signed at the age of fourteen by Kazarian Spencer and Associates and is a member of the Screen Actors Guild as well as the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. She has performed in numerous commercials, music videos, and movies. Ms. Harvey has presented her research on jazz dance improvisation and improvography in Germany and England. In 2009, she was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Jazz and Music Theatre Dance at Western Michigan University.

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