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As we mentioned yesterday, it’s National Arts Ed month. We wanted to take a moment to reflect on the values behind the dance instruction we bring to neighborhoods around Los Angeles.

Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre runs a three-pronged education program: Duck Ed. Duck Ed’s three branches each serve a slightly different function. Our Duck Truck Residency Program elapses over 12 sessions. We use a mobile classroom/performance site—1960’s Oasis trailer—at schools and community centers to teach site-specific dance to school-age students. Duck Tales is an intergenerational residency program. Community elders share memory objects with teenage program participants. The students create and perform original choreography based on the object they were given.Duck Works is a flexible residency program (usually 2-4 days long) at schools and community centers. Our teaching artists work with small groups of students to orient them to their surroundings and how to use that to create choreography.

While our programs differ in duration and participant age, they are all founded on a shared set of values and lead to similar outcomes.

Heidi Duckler’s Dance Education Manifesto

Dance is experienced, rather than imitated.
We seek to touch the individual as a composer as much as a player, as an originator as well as a performer

Dance is a practice.
We seek to teach the craft and language of movement so that students can express themselves.

Dance connects us to humanity.
We seek to activate the body/mind in order to expand our feelings of empathy.

Dance is not just about something. Dance is something.
We seek to teach dance that connects our selves to our surroundings.

The tools of dance are basic to life: body, space, force, time.

By creating programs rooted in these values, we’re able to encourage creative problem solving, provoke imagination, develop spatial awareness, inspire collaboration, encourage development of teambuilding and communication skills, facilitate narrative construction, build empathy, motivate movement, and provide new opportunities for self-expression.

Learn more about Mercedes Ibarra, one of our teaching artists, and check back in throughout March to meet our other dance educators!