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3. a. Interactivity and Distributed Instruction 

Process-Based Dance Documentation (2000-2015)

Professional Labanotator, Valarie Mockabee, and I conceptualized the design for a new model for dance documentation for the work Prey by New York choreographer Bebe Miller.  Miller is a premiere African American modern dance choreographer. Among the awards and fellowships, she received include two Bessie awards given by New York critics for excellence in performance (1986 & 1987), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1988), and an American Choreographer Award (1988). In our model, Process-Based Dance Documentation we analyzed how Miller made the work, explained how the work came together through movement instances, identified key movement elements, described the problem-solving techniques employed, and identified movement themes that directly relate to this dance as a whole and to Miller's approach to choreography.


The CD-ROM and the accompanying Labanotation score not only provide contextual, production, and analytical information on the dance but also include linked Labanotation and video showing Miller coaching. The documentation captures the elusive process of developing choreography and illuminates the essence of the work. Mockabee & Parrish (2001), Mockabee & Parrish (2002). My long-term interest has been to create and understand the impact of interactive dance pedagogy for children and young adults. Thus, the next step in my program of research was to address the development of dance-based multimedia for K-12 populations.

Bebe Miller Process-Based Dance Documentation website

Vicky Shick Process-Based Dance Documentation website


Parrish, M. & Mockabee, V. (2001). Process-based dance documentation:

Living past the moment of Bebe Miller’s Prey.

Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Irvine, California. 190-195.


List of Research Presentations

Before Creating: Tilling the Creative Field with Research.

Presenters: Laura Pettibone with Cathie Kasch, Mila Parrish and Catherine Tharin

NDEO Conference. Focus on Dance Education: Engaging in the Artistic Processes:

Creating, Performing, Responding, Connecting, Phoenix, AZ. Adjudicated. (October, 2015).

Living History Yvonne Rainer and the 1960’s.

Lead Presenter: Dr. Mila Parrish with ASU graduate education students

Jennifer Walker, Nancy Happel and Apryl Seech  

NDEO Annual Conference. Albuquerque, New Mexico. Adjudicated. (October, 2003).

New methods in technology pedagogy.

Lead Presenter: Dr. Mila Parrish with ASU students Jennifer Walker, Carrie LeBarron,

Sara Anderson, and Maegan Ender

NDEO Annual Conference. Albuquerque, New Mexico. Adjudicated. (October, 2003).

Living in the Process.                                                                                              

International conference on Kinetography Laban (ICKL)

Taipei the 23rd Biennial Conference of the International Council of Kinetography Laban (ICKL)

Beijing, China: (with Valarie Mockabee). Adjudicated. (July, 2003).

Inside the Process: Dance documentation issues and observations

International conference on Arts and Humanities, Hawaii. Adjudicated. (January, 2003).

The Process of the Process: Digital Dance Documentation.             

Presenter: Dr. Mila Parrish

Multidisciplinary Technology Arts Conference. Irvine, California. (November, 2001).

Prey: An Innovation in Dance Documentation.

Enhanced process-based dance instruction from the companion

CD-ROM for Labanotation score “Prey”

International Conference of Kinetography Laban (ICKL)  

Columbus Ohio, (with Valarie Mockabee). Adjudicated. (August, 2001).

Process-Based Dance Documentation:  Bebe Miller CD-ROM & Labanotation score.

Presenter: Dr. Mila Parrish

National Dance Education Organization. Minneapolis, MN. Adjudicated. (April, 2001).

Interactive Gateway (2003-2018)

Interactive Gateway (IG) is a curriculum and reconstruction program centering on internationally renowned choreographer Yvonne Rainer, her choreography Chair/Pillow and the postmodern dance movement. Rainer is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, notably two Guggenheim Fellowships, a MacArthur Fellowship, seven NEA awards, and three Rockefeller Fellowships. The research brought together distinct communities of university dance education students and HS students and included four components: (a) the reconstruction of the historic dance, (b) the revision of the Labanotation score to include Rainer's notes and comments about the piece, (c) the investigation of the limits of webcasting workshops, rehearsals and performances thereby providing access to choreographer’s directives and improvisational strategies employed in the reconstruction of Rainer’s signature work Chair/Pillow and, (d) the production of an online high school dance curriculum and teachers guide with two DVDs. IG broke new educational ground by allowing students and teachers access to the world of the choreographer, dance notator, re-stager and performers (Parrish, 2003; Parrish, 2003; Parrish, 2005; Parrish, 2016-2018). Yvonne Rainer’s dance, Chair/Pillow, is a popular dance often reconstructed and taught in dance history classes. With substantive changes to digital and distributed media, in 2016-2018, Interactive Gateway’s teacher resources, curricula and website were revised, updated and posted online.

Interactive Gateway dance website

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Parrish, M. (2010). Enhancing Accessibility:

Interactive Gateway Creating Online Curriculum for Dance Education.

In Overby and Lepczyk (Eds), Dance: Current Selected Research,

Volume 7. AMS Press, Inc.

List of Research Presentations

Interactive Gateway.                                                                                                  

Dance and the Child International Conference-

Coloring Senses, Moving, Creating, Observing Three Dimensions of the Dancing Child:

daCi, The Hague, Netherlands. Adjudicated. (July, 2006).

Interactive Gateway and process-based dance documentation

Guest Lecture

State University New York at Brockport. (October, 2005).

Interactive Gateway and mediated curriculum.

Guest Speaker Invited master class

The Ohio State University. Columbus Ohio. (February, 2005).

Interactive Gateway: Happenings in the Digital Classroom.

Presenter: Dr. Mila Parrish

Southwest American College Dance Festival. Scottsdale, Arizona. (March, 2004).

Interactive Gateway: Happenings in the Digital Classroom.                         

Presenter: Dr. Mila Parrish and Kathy Lindholm Lane                                 

Winter Conference on Arts in Education. Tucson, Arizona. (April, 2003).

Interactive Gateway

Guest Artist - Invited Master Class                                                                                                       

Temple University. (November, 2003).

Living History Yvonne Rainer and the 1960’s.

Lead Presenter: Dr. Mila Parrish with ASU graduate education students

Jennifer Walker, Nancy Happel and Apryl Seech  

NDEO Annual Conference. Albuquerque, New Mexico. Adjudicated. (October, 2003).

Interactive Gateway.                                                                                                  

Dance and the Child International - Breaking Boundaries: Dances, bodies and multiculturalism.

Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. (with Kathy Lindholm Lane). Adjudicated. (August, 2003).

Interactive Gateway: Happenings in the Digital Classroom.                         

Presenter: Dr. Mila Parrish and Kathy Lindholm Lane                                

Winter Conference on Arts in Education. Tucson, Arizona. (April, 2003).

Student Support Statements of Interactive Gateway

“All movement can become dance, even the sway of a palm tree, a tennis match or a lady walking down the street.”  --Carrie LeBaron


I really liked using words and visual imagery to think of movements. Writing things down is a great way to organize my ideas and remember things, and it is also true for recording movements.  I plan to do more writing in the future when planning dances.” --Rachel Ryan

Distributed Instruction (2006-2019)

My research surrounds the understanding of the cognition fostered in the union of technology and dance, I examined the use of distributed instruction in the teaching of dance to students in rural communities (Parrish, 2008). This work determined that regardless of geographical limitations, distance instruction presents unique opportunities and challenges for teaching students and supports the notion that community partnerships can flourish through technology. Pedagogical strategies for distributed instruction in dance confirmed that videoconferencing enables participants to share their knowledge, experience, and ideas with one another and to expand their worldview and to create communities with other students and their teachers. (Parrish, 2009). I am currently applying distributed instruction techniques developed in iDance Arizona and iDance SC to support, guide and mentor student teachers whose field placement is not easily accessible (Parrish, 2016, Parrish, 2017). Strategies developed for distance assessment and mentoring were shared at the 2018 NDEO conferences and will also be discussed at the upcoming 2019 conference. My research investigating distributed instruction in iDance AZ and iDance SC detailed later in this summary of research, led to unexpected partnerships in the schools (Parrish, 2008).

iDance AZ website

iDance SC website




Parrish, M. (2008). Dancing the distance:

iDance Arizona videoconferencing reaches rural communities.

Research in Dance Education, Vol. 9, No. 2. (June 2008), pp. 187-208.

List of Research Presentations

iDance SC: Linking communities and creating dance through videoconferencing.

Presenter: Dr. Mila Parrish

South Carolina Campus Compact. Columbia, South Carolina. (April, 2010).

iDance: Linking communities and creating dances with videoconferencing

Presenter: Dr. Mila Parrish

National Dance Association-Pedagogy Conference:  The Learning Circle:

How Dance Pedagogy Leads our Practice. Las Cruces, New Mexico. (January, 2010).

Videoconferencing in Dance Education            

Professional Development Seminar                                       

Richland One School District. Columbia, SC. (January, 2010).

Videoconferencing in Dance Education.                                                           

International Conference on Arts & Humanities Honolulu, Hawaii. Adjudicated. (January, 2009).

Connecting Moves: Teledance in K-8 Dance Education.                                           

The Dance Research Society of Taiwan Annual Conference: 

A New Epoch of Dance Education. Taipei, Taiwan. Adjudicated. (December, 2008).

Connecting Moves: Teledance in K-8 Dance Education.                                   

Crossing Boundaries: Investigating the nexus of the arts, education and community.

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Adjudicated. (May, 2007).

Connecting Moves: Teledance in K-8 Dance Education.                                  

Presenter: Dr. Mila Parrish

NDEO Conference. Long Beach, CA.  New York. Adjudicated. (October, 2006).

Distributed Performance YEARS

Visual culture is a complex matrix of imagery that reflects and identifies the everyday world. Mediated technology as seem in photography, TV, and the Internet join the social practices of advertising and marketing, creating a sociocultural sphere that is exemplified by commercialized imagery (Sullivan, 2003). The research seeks to provide artistic vision and technological innovation, allowing the students the opportunity to create, influence and interact with the technical elements in an immediate way. As the dancers, actions generate new internal imagery, we suppose that the resulting experience will enhance the audience’s knowledge in dance as well.  Participants can activate, respond to, and ultimately create new relationships with the dance and technology.


Interactive Performance: Visual Culture in Dance seeks answers to the following questions:

  • Specifically, how will participants interact with and utilize dance technology to express their knowledge of their vision and their voice as teenagers?

  • In what ways will discussions of visual culture inform students understanding of their awareness of community, society, culture, self-expression and creative process?  How might the answers to these questions delimit or inform our understanding of culture, dance and pedagogy.

  • How might explorations with electronic media, new media, video dance technology and choreography be expressive of participant’s worldview?

Interactive performance: visual culture in dance investigates the use of interactive performance as a way for teenager’s adults to create choreography, which expresses their interpretations of visual culture. Undergraduate dance students, Leslie Smith and Taylor Ferguson will collaborate with dance faculty Dr. Mila Parrish and the students and teachers from 4 school in Columbia, SC to create and implement visual culture dance curriculum and to create interactive dance performances.  The research team will work with 120 students from two inner city middle and two high schools.


In the year-long research project the research team will instruct and mentor the student participants in the development and production of their own interactive dance technology performance. In the process, of developing an interactive dance, the students will employ critical thinking and problem-solving skills by discussing, analyzing, creating, collaborating, rehearsing, and performing their own dance works. Participants will discuss visual culture, determine their views on the subject and create works of interactive dance expressive of their beliefs. In the process,  they will experience first-hand the profession of choreographers, editors, designers, cinematographers, and directors. In the spring, each school will hold an interactive performance for parents and friends.


We hope to inform student participants of the impact of visual culture as an interpretive process, and how culturally charged visual images, act as language and in turn signify cultural codes.  Enlightening student participants that visual imagery, including dance, does not stand outside of culture; rather it is contextualized by both personal and socioeconomic conditions and is reflexive and constructed with the artist and the audience creating meaning based upon their social class, gender and race.


Additionally, we will be adopting the educational principles of noted educator and curricular integration proponent, James Beane. We will implement some of Dr. Beane’s (2005), views on student-centered curriculum specifically: (1) Focusing on widely shared concerns of teenagers and the larger world; (2) Serving the teenager population where they are and address what they are interested in today; (3) Appreciating that teenagers are real people with real concerns; (4) Emergent themes will come organically from the concerns of the students rather than the interest of the research team and dance teacher. Beane proposes that integrated curriculum help students develop skills related to communication, problem solving, research and social action. He proposes that adolescents can become acquainted with a rich array of facts and complex and multi-faceted concepts from a wide variety of sources with curricular integration resulting in metacognitive learning. Curricular features that will guide our process include: (1) The adoption of a constructivist pedagogy; (2) Awareness that knowledge and skills are taken out of abstract discipline specific categories and repositioned in the context of thematic units; and, (3) The support of authentic integration of affect and cognition.  

Glimpse of "Solar," an Interactive Video Dance performance.

Student Support Statements for Interactive Video Dance Performance

"I think it has increased my artistic voice in that our dances don’t solely have to be scripted on a stage.  We, as dancers, can be projected onto different surfaces, magnified, reduced, etc.  We aren’t as confined as we were on a stage when we use technology."  --Meryl Anne Dexter 

"Using the technology allowed my artistic  voice to grow, ……increased it by expanding the area we were able to use with our dance……. the stairs and wall …….the ceiling and someone’s back. The audience is now surrounded by the dance and theme. 

Another  point is the versatility it requires. Dancers might have spent their whole lives dancing and therefore might not have a technological background.  Technology  brings together different worlds." --Nisha Boyington

Interactivity and social media YEARS

Media advances have changed the ways in dancers interact, communicate, teach and learn. Technology has helped transform the economy and forever changed our way of life. The growth of telecommunication, video sharing sites, and social media have exponentially increased the number of people interested in dance and dance education. Dance educators are conducting live webcasts of classroom activities and concerts or utilizing Twitter to promote, advocate, and communicate, thus expanding their viewership and increasing knowledge of dance and media buzz. Social media’s immediate interactivity is similar to the improvisatory and ephemeral nature of dance.  Media resources link scholars to practitioners and professionals to children in a dynamic web of ideas. Social media applications such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, selfies, microblogs, and digital videos are ways we now connect, experience, and “live” in the world. With increasingly easy access to the internet and progressively more powerful “smart” devices in the hands of students and teachers alike, technology presents new ways for students to think about their learning, express their ideas, and problem solve. 


My research concentrates on finding better ways to connect, engage, inform, and empower students. When used appropriately, technology serves as a way to grant access to significant resources to expand world-view and to shape community. When used inappropriately, technology restricts creativity in favor of imitation and disembodied passive experiences. (Parrish, 2007). Dance teachers and artists are recognizing the digital explosion through increased connectivity in all aspects of the profession, art making, instruction and performance. (Parrish, 2007).  Dance scholars, however, are just beginning to understand the complex implications of technology use in dance education.


There are different schools of thought as to the benefits of handheld devices, social media, online instruction, and interactive technology in the teaching and learning of dance. Some educators feel there is no place for technology in the dance studio, while others feel that technological tools should be embraced and brought into the dance classroom. Because a major direction of my research examines the cognition fostered in the union of technology and dance, I am looking into applications and strategies for assessment, self-analysis, and video feedback in my training of pre-service and professional teachers. (Parrish, 2016; Parrish, 2017).

List of Research Presentations

Cultivating Champions: develop leadership skills with technology            

Session lead Dr. Mila Parrish with Jen Florey and Amy Bramlette                                

NDEO Conference: Connections, Knowledge, and Leadership:

A new Era in Dance Education.  San Diego, Ca. Adjudicated. (November, 2018).

Advocating with our thumbs: BYOD to the dance class

DaCi and the Child International Panpapanpalya conference

Adelaide, Australia. Adjudicated. (July, 2018).

Keynote Address      

Topic: Flipped dance class technology and assessment

Keynote presentation at the Professional Teachers Conference in Provo Utah. (June, 2017).

Flipped dance class: Using handheld dance technology

Dance and the Child International Open Space conference  

Provo, Utah. Adjudicated. (July, 2017).

Advocating with our thumbs: BYOD to the dance class

Presenters: Dr. Mila Parrish and Amy Lang Crow

National Dance Education Conference. Focus on Dance Education: Speaking with Our Feet:

Advocating, Analyzing, and Advancing Dance Education. Arlington, VA. Adjudicated. (Oct, 2016)

Smartphones in the studio: Flipped assessment in the choreographic process:

Session lead: Dr. Mila Parrish with Co-Presenters Emily Enloe, Cathie Kasch, Amy Lang Crowe.                           

National Dance Education Conference. Focus on Dance Education: Engaging in the Artistic Processes:

Creating, Performing, Responding, Connecting. Phoenix AZ. Adjudicated. (Oct, 2015)

Reaching Synthesis: Artistry and Assessment with Technology Apps

Session lead: Dr. Mila Parrish with Co- Presenters Emily Enloe and Erica Seninsky.

National Dance Education Conference. Focus on Dance Education: Engaging in the Artistic Processes:

Creating, Performing, Responding, Connecting. Phoenix AZ. Adjudicated. (Oct, 2015)

Processes: Creating, Performing, Responding, Connecting.

Session lead: Dr. Mila Parrish with Cathie Kasch, and UNCG Graduate Students

Jennifer Cheek and Amy Lang.

NDEO Conference. Focus on Dance Education: Engaging in the Artistic Processes:

Creating, Performing, Responding, Connecting. Phoenix AZ. Adjudicated. (October, 2015).

Technology and teacher training.                                                                          

Dance and the Child International Conference: Cultures flex Unearthing Expressions

of the Dancing Child. Kingston, Jamaica. Adjudicated. (August, 2009).

Teaching dance with technology: a hands-on workshop                                   

Presenters: Dr. Mila Parrish and Cathie Kasch  

National Dance Education Conference– Take A Bite of the Apple-

Exploring Resources to Promote Best Practices. New York, New York. Adjudicated. (June, 2009).

Integrating technology in dance instruction.                                                          

The Dance Research Society of Taiwan Annual Conference: 

A New Epoch of Dance Education. Taipei, Taiwan. Adjudicated. (December, 2008).

Technology in the dance education class.                                                         

International Dance and Technology Conference, Tempe Arizona. Adjudicated. (February, 1999).                                                                                                                        


The Intelligent Stage (iStage) is a research lab and performance space dedicated to motion analysis and interactive, multimodal feedback development. The Motion Analysis Lab/Intelligent Stage is a research lab and performance space dedicated to motion analysis and interactive, multimodal feedback development. The lab has two sections, each with two independent high end and standard motion-capture systems. The facility has sound and projection systems, lighting, and a pressure-sensitive floor developed at the School of Arts, Media and Engineering that is integrated to the motion-capture system. The lab is part of the Interdisciplinary Research Environment for the Motion Analysis (IREMA) initiative, which offers a unique and powerful palette of perspectives to address existing research questions in motion capture and analysis. IREMA also helps create new approaches and tools, and identify new areas of inquiry. This initiative was awarded an NSF infrastructure grant in 2005, which allowed for its continued expansion.

Example of an iStage performance in-action

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