band camp is a universal app like soundcloud but has more features and more music and can play on and offline.
imovie is an application that comes with all apple device and allows you to edit and combine videos of performances or routines.
Garageband is a great way to cut, copy and blend music for performances or class activities.
Name of application: Vimeo
Cost: Tiered; basic is free, premium memberships available.
Pros: Able to follow desired dance and video artists and populate your wall with content that is relevant to your interests. Able to upload original content and tailor video privacy. Able to download certain videos for offline viewing.
Cons: Weekly upload limits for free members.
Uses: Vimeo can be a great classroom tool on a number of levels. First, it’s a wonderful resource for examples of different artists’ filmed dance work. Many videos are even available for offline viewing, negating the risks of spotty school Wi Fi. Additionally, choreographers and filmmakers can upload their own original content to share, publicly or not–though free members take note; the amount of data you can upload in a given week is strict. I found it was worth the “plus” membership.
Conclusion/conversation: Vimeo is a fantastic tools for choreographers and filmmakers of all ages to share their work, and for aficionados to see new and different dance works for the camera.
Number of stars: ***** (5)
Name of application: Duolingo
Pros: Teaches basic vocabulary and language structure through responsive games. Uses phone mic and speaker to facilitate speaking and listening skills. Incentivizes learning with point system for in-game purchases. Fun owl mascot, “Duo”, provides positive reinforcement as you progress.
Cons: No app is truly a complete language learning experience. Practice sentences may not be the most useful for classroom teachers–for example, “The horse drinks milk.”
Use: I am using Duolingo to practice basic Spanish skills, as 90% of my students speak Spanish as a home language. While my dance department is not technically part of my school’s dual-language program, I teach students from that program. I find that even the minimal Spanish skills I have help me in the classroom–not that I’m attempting to teach in Spanish (yet), but that when a student struggles to express an idea in English, I can help her translanguage more readily.
Conclusion/commentary: We know that practice is the best way to learn language, but Duolingo has helped me build my Spanish grammar and vocabulary to the point where practice becomes useful.
Number of stars: ***** (5)
Name of application: Videoshop
Pros: Intuitive interface. Does what one would expect a video editing software to do.
Cons: Ad banner at the bottom of the screen.
Uses: In lieu of Quik, I will try Videoshop as a way to edit footage in-camera. If I can make it sing, I will have my students download it so that we can do dance-for-camera choreograpy projects.
Conclusion/commentary: After my frustration with Quik, I’m happy to find an in-camera video editor that gets the job done!
Number of stars: ***** (5)
Name of application: Common Core by Mastery Connect
Pros: Standards at your fingertips.
Cons: Does not include Core Arts Standards.
Use: Quick lookup of common core standards in ELA, math, history/social studies, and science/tech. Includes resources on how to read and apply the standards.
Conclusion/commentary: An easy way to access Common Core standards when planning interdisciplinary lessons.
Number of stars: ***** (5)
Name of application: Quik
Cons: Challenging interface. Hard to do simple things.
Use: Quik is supposedly an in-camera video editing app. I had some experience with Quik’s predecessor, Slice, and thought this app might help my kids make their own dance-for-camera choreography projects. Sadly, like so many of my favorite apps (RIP old iMovie), upgrades have made it more difficult to do simple things. Quik seems to think that you want awkward preloaded music layered on top of your clip. It’s not clear how to upload footage from several events into Quik and edit into a single product. It feels like this app has evolved away from being able to make individual video projects, and towards having your video clips automatically processed by the app. It’s possible that with sufficient time to dig, I could find those more usable features, but the app interface doesn’t point easily to the most basic things a potential dance filmmaker would need.
Conclusion: I will continue to beat my head against this app and see if I can make it do the things a video editor should do. But I am disappointed.
Rating: * (1)
Four Ways of Looking (adapted from The Four Ways of Looking Reflective Practices for Masters in Literacy Program, developed by Yang Hu)
Looking Back – Yesterday was my first exposure to the Gaga language. While the language in and of itself was distinct from other experiences I’ve had as a dancer, I’ve done a lot of improvisation with different movement impulses and qualities to consider and explore.
Looking Inside – I have trained extensively in ballet and very linear techniques like Graham and Cunningham. To this day, I harbor many unhappy thoughts about what my body has never been capable of doing simply because of my short and stiff build. Add to that the fact that I am in my mid 40’s, and I often feel as though my dancing ship has passed. The Gaga language was absolutely liberating. As a dancer, I felt able to move and to reach and express in ways I have not felt in quite a while. This old body might still have the ability to dance after all! The intricate attention to bone and muscle and dynamics was also very healing. I could feel my connective tissue releasing a fair amount of tension.
Looking Sideways and Around – I am of a generation of dancers that missed the wave of workshops and exposure as part of my own performance training. I’ve been hearing about it and have even found some youtube excerpts, but the exposure is always very limited. There is also a bit of an elitist cloak of secrecy about it in the way Manhattan and Brooklyn dance studios have approached their scheduling of such. At Peridance, an hour and a half Gaga Workshop is much more expensive than a regular class. I now understand the reasoning behind the no observer policy, but when considering dance classes, I usually prefer to know what I’m about to pay for, so the inability to peek at the class was off putting. I think all I’ve really heard from some other dancers is that the language really accommodates one’s own body.
Looking Forward – I’m a first year Grad student making a career change, and I’m still in the very infancy of my understanding as a dance educator. My next steps are to well in my classes!
Last night I taught my Building the Foundation of Literacy class an Intro to Composition lesson – my very first time teaching a dance education class. First I lectured about creating movement phrases out of 6 body actions. Then I had everyone get up and use those actions in a circle, then in groups to create their own unison and counterpoint phrases. It was amazing. Everyone had a lot of fun and really worked well with each other. I walked the room to assist with movement or transitional status –never creating my own movements to impose on them but asking how they might deal with a specific issue that was preventing unity or fluidity. They all created their own little pieces of art!
I could see myself in that sort of situation with children who might never have been exposed to dance beyond their own preconceived notions of what it is to be a dancer – to allow them the opportunity to explore how their own bodies can move and become part of a greater whole with other bodies moving with and around them.
The feedback I got from my learners was that I made them feel at ease with moving, working together, and then demonstrating their work to the class. I think the Gaga workshop that I took just a few hours before my lesson was very much in the same vein of supportive exploration. I will definitely want to put some of the language in my “toolbox”, as an educator as well as a dancer and choreographer.
As we continue to think of innovative ways to explore dance and expand dance curricular ideas through the use of technology, it is important to read about and research ways to be mindful of reaching all learners. Please read the following article for thoughts on how blind and deaf students may be left behind with increased use of high-tech teaching.