3.b. The iDance Company

 

The iDance company provides lecture demonstrations, master classes, and community performances in schools and community centers. It is designed to advance educational equity for marginalized and underserved students: from 2013-2016, the program served more than 1,400 students and community members and has cultivated university student’s awareness of the needs schools and the value of public service. iDance thematic programs include:

 

  1. Dance Spectacular: a fast-paced and lively presentation about the different styles of dance from Ballet to Jazz and from Hip-Hop to Musical Theatre. Participants develop an understanding of the athleticism of a dancer, the elements of dance, and the power of dance to express thoughts and ideas;

  2. Black History in Dance - A Celebration of Freedom: Through narration and audience interaction, the program teaches students about two important African American choreographers: Alvin Ailey and Donald McKayle. The dances performed include a soulful dance inspired by Alvin Ailey’s masterwork Revelations, an uplifting dance depicting the bravery of Harriet Tubman, as well as Donald McKayle’s Repertory Etude about slavery and chain gangs in the South. By engaging with the artistry and passion of dancers and theme of freedom, the audience develops an understanding of the power of dance to express what words cannot to build connections between movement, music, the human spirit, and the community.

 

The DC community dance program and iDance company were highlighted in the 2014 Chancellors Report as milestones in community engagement (Chancellors Report 2013-2014). With each year, the DC continues to mature with increasing student enrollment, program offerings, and scope of instruction. Though class offerings can change based on the needs of the community and the skills and interests of the UNCG dance education students, the program currently offers between twelve to sixteen age-based and dance discipline-specific classes a semester and serves more than 200 children and young adults and 40-50 university students a year along with generating more than 700 community service hours. In seven years DC has served more than 1,000 young dancers and yielded 4,000 student practicum and service hours. In 2019, DC was approved by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD) as a non-degree granting program for the community.

 

My research within DC has identified that participation in the program scaffolds pre-service dance education student’s cognitive growth, capacity for creative problem-solving, adaptation skills, self-knowledge, and self-efficacy. Having come from strict technique and performance-focused training programs, many UNCG dance students arrive with highly limited experience using creative problem-solving methods that celebrate process over product and that nurture the voice of the child. As a result of modeling from master teachers and practicum instruction within the DC program, UNCG students have begun to believe and later to prove themselves capable of creating and completing challenging instructional tasks and reaching their instructional objectives and curricular goals (Parrish, 2014, Parrish, 2019). 

 

In addition to directing the program for the past six years in North Carolina and three years in South Carolina, I have also published articles and disseminated numerous curricula centering on research implemented in the DC programs. Themes and discoveries made therein have been presented at 15 national and international conferences. Additionally, DC is central to the realization of funded research projects (Parrish, 2008-12; Parrish 2013-2019). A list of the DC grants can be found in A.I.e. Chronological List of Grants, Awards, Publications, and other Achievements Relating to Teaching and Curriculum Development.

iDance Company performance video

iDance Company Performances

2016

​Davie High School, Monksville, NC

​East Millbrook Middle, Raleigh NC

​Washington Elementary Greensboro, NC 28301

​Wellspring Senior Center, Greensboro, NC

 

2015

​Jessie Wharton Elementary School, Greensboro, NC

​Reid Ross Classical School Fayetteville, NC 28301

Fayetteville Street Elementary School, Durham SC

2014

​Wellspring Senior Center, Greensboro, NC

​East Millbrook Middle, Raleigh NC

​White Oak Elementary School, Cape Carteret, NC

Jessie Wharton Elementary School, Greensboro, NC

 

2013

​Wellspring Senior Center, Greensboro, NC

​Irving Park Elementary, Greensboro, NC