Frequently Asked Questions/Parents Corner

I think  my child needs technique.  Does Luna teach technique?  Can you recommend someplace else for me to go where the teaching style is just like yours but she’ll get technique?

Luna embeds technical training in all of our creative dance classes.  Because we are preparing our students to become choreographers, they need the most extensive range of strength, coordination and flexibility available.  This looks different than a class with a more traditional format.  We are currently engaged in an organization-wide inquiry about how to articulate our technical approach more clearly.  Meanwhile, checkout our recent blog entry for some musing on the topic and feel free to weigh in blog.lunadanceinstitute.org.

I am a teacher and I’d like to incorporate dance into my classes. What do I do?

How exciting! Most teachers know that children learn through moving and direct experience, using multiple intelligences. Dance allows students to strengthen cognition through their kinesthetic, spatial and musical intelligences. Moving also opens neurological pathways in the developing brain and contributes to a holistic education. To get started teaching, consider an entry level workshop, Developing & Implementing Dance Curricula-A, Dance in Early Childhood or Dance Literacy, or check out one of these user-friendly books: Brain Compatible Dance Education by Anne Green-Gilbert (available at www.creativedance.org) or Body, Mind & Spirit IN ACTION: a teacher’s guide to Creative Dance by Patricia Reedy (available by calling our office).  Be sure to download your state’s Visual and Performing Arts Standards for Dance as a resource.

I want to bring Luna to my child’s school. What do I do?

Luna works with schools to build sustainable dance programs. That means, we want to help your school recognize internal resources and provide the knowledge, skills and support to create vibrant, standards-based dance for all children now and for the future. We can also help by referring you to a dance specialist who has studied with us and support your efforts to create a successful partnership between the dance teaching artist and your staff. If your school is interested in developing a model dance program, consider sending a representative to an entry-level workshop Dance Literacy or one of our Free Consultation sessions. Also, send as many participants as possible to the Dance Education Forum on March 5th. There you will meet others who have been successful in bringing dance to their schools.

I am a dancer who wants to get more involved in Advocacy. How do I start?

Good for you that you recognize that being a professional in our field means becoming an advocate. We recommend that you join the National Dance Education Organization (ndeo.org) and, if your state is an NDEO affiliate, you will automatically become a member of your state’s group. Visit your state’s department of education website and read about their arts education status. Does your state have an arts education advocacy group (for example California Alliance for Arts Education)? If so, join. Does your state have a dance teaching credential or certificate? Standards? If so, write your representative a note of appreciation. If not, consider writing a letter discussing the importance of dance to all children. Sometimes the best first step is to start local—talk about the importance of dance to your friends, your child’s teacher, others in the community. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. A positive approach when we aren’t in a crisis can go far. Finally, when letter-writing campaigns begin, take 5 minutes to write something. Often policy-makers make decisions based on the letter count, not content. Everyone’s voice counts! See Advocacy page for more actions.

My 4 year old daughter really wants to take ballet. I understand that might not be the most appropriate choice for her but I want her to dance.

You are correct, the structure and the “one right way” approach to ballet technique is not developmentally appropriate for a four year old. Often, young children like the music and costumes and pre-set aesthetic beauty of ballet, which is sometimes frustrating for parents who want their child to develop a range of aesthetic appreciation. Luna’s curriculum provides experiences for each child to discover all the ways their body moves in space and to experiment with different energy qualities and rhythms so that later they have a humongous palette of resources from which to move and choreograph. We recommend enrolling your young dancer in a high-quality creative dance class and let her call it ballet or dance or anything she wants. We do not recommend trying to convince her why Creative Dance is better–a four year old does not have the cognitive or emotional maturity to understand why—or the difference in different dance styles. If she wants to wear a fancy dance outfit to class, let her—so long as it doesn’t restrict her movement and she won’t slip and slide on the dance floor. (Tip: if she wants to wear tights, cut a small slit in the arch of each foot so that tights can be pulled up over the ankle during dance class. We want children to be able to “dance really fast” safely.)

What is standards-based dance?

Most states have adopted dance content standards as part of their Visual and Performing Arts standards and framework. For the most part, these are based on the national dance standards published by the National Dance Education Organization. Standards-based dance curriculum is about deepening knowledge in all dance content areas, building in complexity from grade to grade. Dance curricula centers around student creating of dance works, over time. These dance works demonstrate student skill level in conceptual understanding, creating, performing, responding, and revising and assume that the historical and cultural context is embedded in all curricula.