Thursday, 24 November 2022

Inquiry into what lights the spark inside me

 I am returning to these questions which I explored earlier in the module but have needed to add to as my learning has developed across the module.


What in your daily practise gets you really enthusiastic to find out more about?

How trauma affects and manifests within the body.

Why people act the way they do.

The creative process of collaboration with a choreographer.

How I can develop my ability to direct others by using an empowering approach.

Bringing ballet to people who would not otherwise access it.

Dancer health.

Connecting to an audience

 Reaching a deep level of characterisation within the roles I dance

Mental health in dance- how can support services be improved for dancers and those working in the performing arts industry

The healing aspects of dance and how it can help with overcoming mental health issues

Inclusivity in dance

 

Who do you admire who also works with what makes you enthusiastic?

These are all people who all work or have worked in areas I am interested in, and I deeply admire all of them. They are just a very small proportion of the people I admire really because I when I think about it I realise just how many people I truly admire for different reasons.

Anna Pavlova, Misty Copeland,

Terry Hyde (dance psychotherapist) Lucie Clemence (Dance psychologist)

 

Nicky Keay,

Stephanie Potreck (Dance nutritionist and doctor),

Claudia Bagley (teacher)

Layla Harrison (former dancer, now teacher).

Ashley Bouder – recently spoke out about body shaming in the dance industry

Joseph Isaac Powell- Main

 Lauren Lovett

Julianne Rice-Oxley

Emma Slater

What gets you angry or makes you sad?

Dismissal of children’s needs and feelings.

 Dictatorship in directorship.

Not feeling I have a voice within the working environment.

Body shaming of dancers

Lack of awareness of mental health issues and ways of dealing with them in the dance industry

 

Who do you admire who shares your feelings or has found away to work around the sadness or anger?

 Misty Copeland,

Ashley Bouder

Terry Hyde

Stephanie Potreck

 Lauren lovette

 What do you love about what you do?

I love to get into an honest place with the roles I dance. I love collaborating with artists across diverse disciplines. I love to work with children who are dealing with mental health challenges and helping to build their confidence.  I love performing when I really know a role and feel prepared for it. I love reaching people who I wouldn’t ordinarily get to connect with by bringing dance to them. I love dancing in unusual places.

I love helping or giving something meaningful to others

I love being a part of change and development to make the dance industry a healthy environment and yet still produce wonderful art.

Being a support or role model to young dancers

 

 Who do you admire who also seems to love this or is an example of what you love?

I feel that once again I am returning to Anna Pavlova as my biggest inspiration. She was the focus of my BAPP and my interest in her work and the way she bought ballet to so many through authentic and expressionistic performance remains a huge interest of mine.

She is the most prominent person who seems to be this example for me yet she is not necessarily an example of health.

She performed all over the world and worked herself to a point of burnout probably. Therefore, as this module has developed, I realise that I want to continue to be inspired by her work but now progress this to the present and to find a way to live a meaningful career whilst still being an example of health to others.

Lauren Lovett

 Misty Copeland 

Marianella Nunez

Vadim Muntagirov


 What do you feel you don’t understand?

I feel that I am struggling to understand my place within the industry. I still feel there is a lot of dance within me that I want to share. I don’t understand where the boundaries are in my teaching sometimes, where my responsibility ends so to speak. I have a tendency to feel responsible for everything even that which is not necessarily my fault.

I really want to understand my upper body more so that I have better coordination. I want to understand why I have an inconsistent coordination when I dance. This has worsened since being unwell.

 

I don’t fully understand where my boundaries are in terms of how much I can push myself before I experience a decline in my health. I am still in search of balance to some degree although I have much more awareness than I used to.

 

 

 

 

Who do you admire who does seem to understand it or who has found a way of making not understanding it interesting or beautiful, or has asked the same questions as you?

Raymond Chai seems to have found his place within the industry as a dancer and teacher and held onto a sense of integrity through his work.

My ballet mistress has given her life to dance and teaches in a way that is nurturing and empowering to young people.

Layla Harrison is wonderful teacher who had a great freelance career.

The co-founders of Danscend official

Lauren Lovette former NYC Ballet dancer who became freelance during the pandemic

Sara Mearns dancer with New York City Ballet

Ashley Bouder

Richard Slaughter one of my first ballet teachers has this year come to new insights which have aligned us further.

Misty Copeland

Sally Marie director of sweetshop revolutions

Jack Philp




Misty Copeland in Swan Lake

Image from

Read Misty Copeland's Amazing Response to Her "Swan Lake" Critics (dancespirit.com) Last accessed 24/11/2022

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Journal writing experience

 Taking a moment to consider approaches to journal writing I have taken across this module.

I have explored writing through the Gibb's reflective model, using the frameworks of Reid and Moon. 

What I have found with The Gibb's model is I am only entering the first layer of the depth of my reflection. I found that I had some strategies for what I might do differently but did not seem to have reached the undercurrent of the reasons for some of my behaviours or actions. This left less of a memorable mark on me and my approach to what I will try differently next time.

With the frameworks of Reid and Moon I was able to reach more of a 'double loop' learning level if relating to Schon's theories. 

I found I had great resistance in creating graphs or charts as I am simply not much of a graph or chart kind of person. However, I adapted this and created a landscape of my day instead. This seemed to be reflective of my mood and emotions at each part of the day with hills representing the high points where I was feeling fulfilled and the valleys representing the darker feelings of the day. This made me consider how I definitely am writing from a place of emotion most of the time and had me considering the implications of that on the validity of my reflection. How can I know if I am truly seeing things for what they are.

This was where writing from another perspective was useful as it made me realise that often I am assuming situations are personal when in fact they are simply another person's challenge, and I am taking on full responsibility for something which is not my sole responsibility. This was important to identify, because I know that I play a part within the responsibility, but usually other people do as well. 

However, I also found this quite challenging to see how others may have viewed my day and it took a bit of time to get into. This also made me think of the area of mental health because to someone else my day might have looked like a perfect dream and yet behind closed doors I might have been really struggling. It made me think of how mental health and trauma cannot be seen and that is what makes these areas so hard to recognise and help people with.

It is one of the key areas of wonder emerging for me.

It led me back to one of the first questions I journalled about when embarking on this MA and now that I am coming up to the end of Module 1 I return to the question with further depth - 


Why have I found myself doing this MA?

Because I want to learn more

To make sense of what I have been through. To help others overcome trauma with dance.

To move towards a more educated background

To understand my students and help them to overcome challenges

To equip me to create my own projects

To dance and find my own voice within this profession

Because I want my work to be recognised at MA level.

To equip me to create artistic workshops

To work with those overcoming trauma and finding their ways back into dance through holistic approaches

Mental health understanding for dancers

To make a strong impact on the dance community

But I must say that in terms of my journalling there have been times across this module when words have simply felt inadequate to express what I was trying to say. In these times I have improvised, collaged or engaged in freewriting. Then from there have drawn out the meaning behind what I have created. Below is a collage which was my starting point for my reflection of learning across Module 1.

It seems to represent the ever-evolving process of learning, the stormy sea we can find ourselves in and yet the balance between these turbulent times and the calm seas. The embellishments are representative of the insights of wisdom and the strands of string show the thread of perseverance running through it all.



Friday, 11 November 2022

Theories of Reflection and Experiential Learning

 

I have been spending a lot of time expanding my knowledge of reflective and experiential learning theories lately. It is interesting returning to these theories having explored some of them when I undertook the BAPP. This time I am returning to them with a more critical, analytical eye. Previously I feel that I may have been quick to agree with them all and focus purely on the positives attached to them and not take the time to explore the theories from all angels.

Reflection essentially refers to the observations we make of our daily experiences and how we analyse those observations and learn from them. Different strategies for reflective practice have been developed by the individuals John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, Donald A Schon, David Kolb, and Jennifer Moon. Bolton's book Reflective Practice is most informative, and the following quote is a favourite of mine as it really makes sense of the process of reflection. I like the metaphorical way that Schön describes it.


Schön described professional practice as being in a flat place where we can't see very far (1987). Everyone would love to work on a high place from which all the near valleys and far hills are in view. Everyday life and work rarely has sign posts, definitive maps, or friendly police to help with directions.....We cannot stand outside ourselves and our work from our work (from the cliff), in order to be objective and clear. We work in the 'swampy lowlands' (Schön, 1987) by trial and error, learning from our mistakes....Reflective practice makes maps. Everyone needs thorough methods to sort through and learn from muddles, uncertainties, unclarities, mistakes and anxieties.
(Bolton, 2014, p.3)

I think that this quote tells us that in order for us to learn from life's experiences, we must all engage in a type of reflective practice. Through exploring key principles of reflective and experiential learning I have discovered how learning about the theories of philosophers and those key figures who have helped the evolution of reflective practice can assist with the way I reflect as an individual. In order for me to be able to employ the theories of others to my own professional practice, it was necessary for me to return to some previous research of the key figures. Below I will look at the background and work of some of these individuals and critically analyse some of these theories against my own experience of reflective practice.

John Dewey
John Dewey (1859-1952) was an American philosopher and educator. He founded the philosophical movement known as Pragmatism, was a pioneer in functional psychology and leader of the progressive movement in education in the United States. Below is a quote which indicates Dewey's main thread of interest.

The Common theme underlying Dewey's philosophy was his belief that a democratic society of informed and engaged inquirers was the best means of promoting human interests.


Dewey challenged previous philosophers views in his writing by indicating that everything is subject to change and that no being or aspect of nature is static. Therefore, human experience is never purely subjective because the mind is part of nature. He was fascinated by the idea of experience and how we as individuals as well as the wider world can gain from that experience through the process of reflection. The quote below is indicative of this.

Human experiences are the outcomes of a range of interacting processes and are thus worldly events. The challenge to human life therefore, is to determine how to live well with processes of change, not somehow to transcend them.


Dewey theories definitely speak to me and have clearly formed a basis of the many theories which were subsequently developed.  


Source: Gouinlock, James, S (2010) John Dewey:American philosopher and educator (online),Encyclopedia Britannica. Available from: https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Dewey Accessed 11th November 2022

Kurt Lewin
Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) was a social psychologist who became most famously known for his theory of behaviour. He worked at the Faculty of The Berlin Psychoanalytical institute, then at the State University of Iowa's Child Welfare Research Station. He was the founder and director of Research Centre for Group Dynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.
His theory was that unusual human behaviour was a response to environmental factors and an individual's self perception. Lewin used topical systems or maplike representations to convey his views.
He became known for the methods which are divided into steps and stages. For example his Theory of Change which he divided into 3 stages. These stages can be seen below:

Stage 1: Unfreezing
This is the stage at which a person prepares for change and anticipates the challenge of moving out of their comfort zone. Lewin developed the Force Field Analysis as a way to refer to all the surrounding factors which either encourage or discourage someone to embark on their journey of change.

Stage 2: Change or Transition
This is literally the point at which someone makes a transition towards their direction. This stage can be an extremely challenging and daunting one, as often there is a lot of fear surrounding change which must be overcome.

Stage 3: Freezing or Refreezing
This is the stage at which having made the change, a person re establishes stability with these changes in place. This point occurs when the changes have been fully accepted and embraced.

I feel that Kurt Lewin's theory has a strong visual depiction of change. This visual imagery appeals to me however, I find myself feeling that the idea of freezing when a change has occurred and been assimilated is not such a great image. It feels static and set which doesn't evoke a feeling of continuous experiential learning. For me this image is not so useful.

Sources: Connelly, Mark (No date) The Kurt Lewin change management model (online) Available from http://www.change-management-coach.com/kurt_lewin.html Accessed 9th November 2022
Eds of Encyclopedia Britannica (2008) Kurt Lewin: American social psychologist (online) Available from: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Kurt-Lewin Accessed 9th November 2022



Howard Gardner
Howard Gardner (1943-) is the John, H and Elizabeth A Hobbs Professor of cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Also the adjunct professor of psychology at Harvard University and senior director of Harvard Project Zero. Gardner is most famously known in the area of education for his Theory of Multiple Intelligences. 

He created his theory, which divides intelligence into eight forms, during the 1980s. The multiple intelligences are Intra personal, inter personal, logical-mathematical, naturalist, spatial, bodily- kinaesthetic, linguistic and musical. (Gardner, 1993, Frames of Mind) Please see the diagram below.



This theory has been ground breaking in all areas of education, helping people to identify their own individual ways of learning and make the most of their intelligence.

However, there are draw backs I feel as it seems unlikely that we will all be one singular type of learner. It feels that this could be somewhat restricting making people feel that they are incapable of learning in any other way than there most dominant or comfortable form. Bolton also supports and explores this possibility (2014, p.50)

Sources: Bolton, G. (2014) Reflective Practice. London: Sage Publications Ltd
Gardner, H. (1993) Frames of Mind. London: Harper Collins Publishers





David Kolb
David Kolb (1939-) is a psychological and educational therapist. With the work and theories of Dewey and Lewin, Kolb created his own theory of learning with a cycle. The cycle is divided into the following categories: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation and active experimentation. The cycle is designed to help an individual to understand how they learn and at what stage they begin their learning. Everyone learns in a different way and therefore enters the cycle at a different stage.

The cycle can be seen below




I feel that there are some issues with the Kolb learning cycle and this mostly relates to the feeling that this continuous cycle is very self contained. It does not feel as though there is a great deal of space for input from others or for reflection from differing view points. It does not seem to push for deep learning or 'double loop' learning to occur. Although I feel with this awareness it can form a strong basis from which to develop experiential learning.

Source: Bolton, G. (2014) Reflective Practice. London: Sage Publications Ltd
No specific author (No date) Learning Theories: Experiential learning (Kolb) (online) Available from: https://www.learning-theories.com/experiential-learning-kolb.html Accessed 9th November 2022

Peter Honey and Alan Mumford have gone on to create their own learning styles based upon Kolb's learning cycle. They divided it into the following categories: Activist, Theorist, Pragmatist and Reflector. I identify as being between a reflector and theorist although again this is not to say that in some situations, I might not fall into another learning style.


Donald A. Schön
Donald Schön (1930-1997) was the Ford Professor of Urban Studies and education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He trained in philosophy and became famous for his work in the development of reflective practice and learning.
He was also a pianist and clarinettist, playing in both the areas of Jazz and Chamber. This musical background fed into his academic work as the area of improvisation paralleled with his theories of reflection in action.
Schön's two most influential theories were the 'double loop learning theory' and the theory of 'reflection in and on action.' The double loop learning theory refers to the approach taken to learning from an error. A single loop approach would be to look for another strategy which will ultimately address the problem within the governing variables. Where as the double loop approach is to question the governing variables and critically analyse them. Ultimately resulting in a greater degree of change and learning.

Reflection in action refers to our ability to learn whilst in the process of our task, to self analyse, and think on our feet. In order to achieve this we must use the knowledge that we have already gathered and assimilated.
Reflection on action is when we look back on an event and think about it in retrospect drawing out a different type of knowledge from what we have done.

Donald Shon has an extremely strong foundation to his work and I find myself questioning very little of his theories. Perhaps because his argument for the strength of experiential learning is so deeply researched and expressed (Educating the reflective practitioner, 1987). He makes his theory applicable across all professions it seems to me.

Source: Schon, D. (1987) Educating the reflective practitioner. California: Jossey-Bass Inc, publishers.  
Smith M.K (2011) Donald Schön: learning, reflection and change (online) The Encyclopedia of Informal Education. Available from: http://infed.org/mobi/donald-schon-learning-reflection-change/ Accessed 11th November 2022



Jennifer Moon
Jennifer Moon works in educational development at the University of Exeter. She has worked across all levels of education, professional development and counselling. She has written a number of books exploring the theories of reflection from journal writing, practical experience and tacit knowledge. She is deeply interested in how we can learn from experience and how work and experiences can be freshly empowered through the process of reflection through journal writing.
She has developed workshops and courses on learning from experience through the process of reflection.

Moon explores the theories of Reflection and experiential learning in a most comprehendible way. 
I find her theories to be accessible. Her theory around the effect of emotion on learning has been of great value to me so far as my journey as a reflective practitioner.
Source: Moon, Jennifer A (2004) A handbook of reflective and experiential learning, theory and practice, Oxon: Routledge Falmer


My experience of Reflective Practice across Module 1 MAPP

It has been interesting returning to the theories of reflective practice over the last few months and exploring them in greater depth. I

 The following extract from Bolton's book explores the benefits in a metaphorical way:

Route finding equipment or information can only help when the traveller knows their destination. One cannot find the solution without having identified the problem accurately and precisely. This is the conundrum of reflective practice. We want to become good experienced practitioners. But to do this, we have to discover which areas of practice we need to improve, and why. We find out by exploring, experimenting and discovering, with uncertainty as the central paradox Dewey (1933a) said doubt and uncertainty is an essential element of effective reflection.

(Bolton, 2014, p.4)

I can relate very well to John Dewey's theory that art should not be something that is appreciated only at it's finished stage. He has the view that this cuts it off from the rest of the world and believes that it is only through exploring the experience of how it comes about that it can connect on a deeper level with both the creator and and surroundings. He states that

When artistic object are separated from both conditions of origin and operation in experience, a wall is built around them that renders almost opaque their general significance, with which esthetic theory deals. Art is remitted to a separate realm, where it is cut off from that association with the materials and aims of every other form of human effort, undergoing and achievement... 
We must arrive at the theory of art by means of a detour. For theory is concerned with understanding, insight, not without exclamations or admiration, and stimulation of that emotional outburst often called appreciation. It is quite possible to enjoy flowers in their coloured form and delicate fragrance without knowing anything about plants theoretically. But if one sets out to understand the flowering of plants, he is committed to finding out something about the interactions of soil, air, water, and sunlight that condition the growth of plants.

(Dewey, 2005, p 2)

Through Dewey's theory, I am reminded that the process of art is just as important as the finished piece. I think that very often as a dancer I am concerned with the performance or the audition and I miss out on essential points of learning in the process of reaching those destinations. I have found myself with more questions than answers and more interested in the learning process.
Kurt Lewin's theory of change as I mention above has caused some resistance in me this year. I used to find this theory comforting as it gave me a secure structure to hold onto in an area I find most daunting - change. However, I believe I now feel differently because this vision of the freeze state reminds me of the fight, flight and freeze response following trauma and this makes me feel uneasy around the visual image.



Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences I do find fascinating.
I feel I use a combination of a visual, bodily kinaesthetic and musical learning styles mostly. When learning choreography now, I find it much easier to learn from watching a video first, then visualising with music, then marking, then doing the movements full out. Although this is a time-consuming process, it is nevertheless the most effective strategy for learning that I have found. When I do all of these stages my ability to dance the steps increases and my overall performance is of a higher standard. It is clear that bodily and musical intelligences have a close link. In a conversation with my musician friend recently, I was interested to see that in the same way that I am led by music, those within the music profession often see music as gestures when composing or playing. Gardner himself states

Many composers, sessions among them, have stressed the close ties that exist between music and bodily or gestural language. On some analyses, music itself is best thought of as an extended gesture- a kind of movement or direction that is carried out at least implicitly within the body.

(Gardner, 1993, p 123)

My self-awareness has most certainly been enhanced by Kolb's learning cycle, knowing that I enter the cycle in the reflective observation stage has made me realise why I feel that I need to spend a lot of time preparing for what I do. In the area of teaching or performing, I always spend time in preparation for my roles or classes and if I cannot do that I am very reluctant to take on the job. Because I know that I will reach the standard I am capable of. There are great drawbacks to this because in the performing arts industry it is important to be able to adapt and jump into situations last minute. I personally find that I become very anxious when I am in those situations. But there are times when the cycle feels enclosing and unhelpful as there seems to be no external perspective to the situation.

  In Twyla Tharp's book The Creative Habit she talks about perfectionism when starting out on something. She really explores how this sort of mentality can be very creatively limiting and really must be let go.  She states:

Another trap is the belief that everything has to be perfect before you can take the next step. You won't move on to that second chapter until the first is written, rewritten, honed, tweaked, examined under a microscope, and buffed to a bright mahogany sheen. You won't dip a brush in the paint until you've assembled all the colours you can possibly imagine using in the course of the project. I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do.
(Tharp and Reiter, 2006, p 124)

I do have high levels of perfectionism still, but thankfully the courses I have undertaken on Sports psychology and Stress management have helped with this and now I try to reach excellence and avoid the term perfection at all costs.

Schön's theories around reflection-in-action are of great benefit to me currently. I was in a place before embarking on my MA where I felt I should know all the answers and often felt unequipped to deal with the day to day challenges of work. But what this theory does for me is remind me that life is a continuous process of reflection and learning, we never arrive and that is how it should be. Shon's theories show us the world we could create if everyone was reflecting on their lives and work. Most of us are engaging with this theory yet not everyone is reaching a level of awareness so that change can take place.

 Schön states that

Although reflection in action is an extraordinary process, it is not a rare event. Indeed, for some reflective practitioners it is the core of practice. Nevertheless, because professionalism is still mainly identified with technical expertise, reflection-in-action is not generally accepted-even by those who do it-as a legitimate form of professional knowing.

(Bolton, 2014 p 69)

Reflection on action occurs all the time in my mind. But sometimes I find it hard to order these thoughts and get them written up in journal form. Lately I have noticed more than ever that I have been unable to write some days. I have needed to collage, move, dance and find other ways to reflect. 

Tacit knowledge
 Schön indicates that the majority of professionals engage with a form of tacit knowledge without knowing it.:

In my analysis...I begin with the assumption that competent practitioners usually know more than they can say. They exhibit a kind of Knowing-in-practice, most of which is tacit.
(Schön, 1983, p viii)

In my BAPP work I wrote this about my experience of tacit knowledge:

'What I am specifically interested in is tacit knowledge in relation to stage performance. Often I find that I surprise myself with what I achieve on the stage, it is as though I have experienced things that I did not know and am able to bring these into the portrayal of a character. I have found this especially with the role of Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet. There are many emotions which the character must show that I feel like I have not experienced in real life. Yet when I am on the stage I feel as though I have. This interests me a lot and I will continue to delve into this topic.'

Looking at this now I can still relate to it strongly. In many ways now I have experienced more emotions in real life, but I always feel like I lived it in dance first. Hard to explain how or why.

But since being unwell I have had less confidence in my tacit knowledge of technique. I and to learn to work with my body again in a different way and there are times when I feel as though I am not in tune with it, and this affects my tacit knowledge deeply. An area of interest and wonder which I hope to explore further in module 2.


Muscle memory
Equally I feel that the trauma of illness and all that came with it has affected my muscle memory in some areas as well. There are times when I simply can't reach that place of flow because the choreography requires conscious thought. Tuffnel and Crickmay say that muscle memory enables us to engage in a much deeper level as is suggested in the quote below:

Without a sense of the body, of sensation and feeling, we lose connection to what is around and within us, to the immediate and present moments of our lives. To move out of our heads and into the sensory world of the body awakens us not only to sensation but also to a slower, deeper landscape beneath the surface of everyday awareness, a landscape of feeling, memory, impulse and dream.

(Tufnell and Crickmay 2008, p 3)
Of muscle memory I previously wrote:
'I think that as an individual, I like to be able to get to a stage when I can fully embody the choreography that I am doing. This is not always possible as I have found that in the profession there is very little time and often you must go on stage not feeling entirely confident, however, it is my belief that it is only with full embodiment that the audience will really feel what you want them to feel.' 

Time is still an issue, but now I also feel that my brain and body are in a different place and there are times when I miss the feeling of being able to fully embody the choreography I dance. But this may also be because I am now required to dance much harder roles than I was previously. I strive to find this place of flow once again.

Tharp says:

Muscle memory is one of the more valuable forms of memory, especially to a performer. It's the notion that after diligent practice and repetition of certain physical movements, your body will remember those moves, years, even decades, after you cease doing them. In the dance world, muscle memory comes into play everyday; we couldn't survive without it.

(Tharp and Reiter, 2006,p 64)

The more I engage with the area of reflective and experiential learning the more I am encouraged to notice the patterns that frequent my mind surrounding not being enough, failing and generally being hyper critical of my life and work. There is something most enlightening about realising that every mistake and every challenge is where the true learning is going to take place. That this is part of our journey, and we must not shy away from these occurrences but instead discover what seeds may be floating amongst the fallen leaves.


Bibliography
Books
Bolton, G. (2014) Reflective Practice, fourth Edition, London: Sage Publications Ltd

Dewey, J. (2005) Art as Experience, first published 1934, second Perigee edition. New York: Perigee Publishing Group

Gardner, H.(1993) Frames of Mind: The theory of Multiple Intelligences, first published 1984, second edition London: Fortana Press

Moon, J. (2004) A handbook of reflective and experiential learning, theory and practice, Oxon: Routledge Falmer

Tharp, T. and Reiter, M (2006) The Creative Habit, second edition, New York: Simon and Schuster Paperbacks

Schon, D. (1983) The reflective practitioner, United States of America: Basic Books, Inc.
Schon, D, (1987) Educating the reflective practitioner, San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass Inc. 
Tufnell, M. and Crickmay, C. (2008) A widening field: journeys in body and imagination, first Published 2004. London: Dance Books


Websites
Connelly, Mark (No date) The Kurt Lewin change management model (online) Available from http://www.change-management-coach.com/kurt_lewin.html Accessed 9th November 2022

Eds of Encyclopedia Britannica (2008) Kurt Lewin: American social psychologist (online) Available from: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Kurt-Lewin Accessed 9th November 2022

Gouinlock, James, S (2010) John Dewey:American philosopher and educator (online),Encyclopedia Britannica. Available from: https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Dewey Accessed 11th November 2022


No specific author (No date) Learning Theories: Experiential learning (Kolb) (online) Available from: https://www.learning-theories.com/experiential-learning-kolb.html Accessed 9th November 2022

Smith M.K (2011) Donald Schon: learning, reflection and change (online) The Encyclopedia of Informal Education. Available from: http://infed.org/mobi/donald-schon-learning-reflection-change/ Accessed 11th November 2022


Pictures

Saturday, 5 November 2022

Core values

 A couple of weeks ago I also attended a Dancers Career Development Zoom session for independent dancers. It was based around the theme of finding direction and your personal values. It was such an excellent session, with a very safe space created for us to share our ideas and feelings. We were given a list of values to reflect on and had to place them into 3 different categories- A: very important, B: not so important and C: not very important at all. Most of the values went into the A category for me with some finding themselves in the B category. We were not given much time for this because they didn't want us to consciously decide where they should go but to go with our 'gut instinct'. Then we gradually narrowed it down to identify 5 core values. It was hard to be so selective but also great to be clear about those which stood out most clearly.

My 5 core values are:

Authenticity

Empathy

Connection

Courage

Trust 

Generosity


From this we had to pick one which stood out most at the moment and think about ways we could live more in alignment with this value. I identified

Authenticity 



I realised that this was one of the first areas I became interested in when doing my BAPP. How can we become more authentic performers? What does authentic performance mean? It did form the basis of my BA studies for sure. A blog post I did around this area can be found here. What I realise is this value is so essential to me as a performer but one that I often lose sight of. It is hard to fully understand what our authentic self is, but I feel that it is as much about recognising that our so-called 'imperfections' are what make us who we are. That we can share our weaknesses as well as our strengths and be generous to give a true essence of who we are to our audience - our real emotions and feelings. It is perhaps about trusting that we have something to say. Tyla Tharp identifies this as being one of her 5 biggest fears yet also recognises that this fear is 'An irrelevant fear' as 'We all have something to say.' (Tharp, 2006, p.22)


I considered ways I can ensure I live more in alignment with this value and came up with these solutions:

1: Talk more about authenticity as a dancer in my teaching

2: Meditate on the value each morning

3:     Remember the value when doing class or performing and remind yourself that you are individual and you want to be authentic, not a copy of someone else.

I already felt a lot more freedom in performance in the last week than I had previously by keeping this value in the forefront of my mind. 


During the zoom session I also raised the question how do we truly know what our gut instinct is? How do we know when it is simply our anxiety telling us we are not capable or undeserving of something. For example, I sometimes get a gut instinct I shouldn't do something when I really want to do it but feel that I am undeserving of it. I can only see this in retrospect. 

This is a question I have asked myself so much lately. I am really interested to know what other members of the MAPP community do to differentiate between a gut instinct and this feeling that we have when we want something so much that we have high levels of anxiety surrounding it.

Bibliography

Tharp, T. (2006) The creative habit. 2nd edn. New York: Simon and Schuster

Creative structures and Gibb's cyclic reflective model

 It has been a whirl wind few weeks. From the passing of my grandma to the completion of my first performance season with my company. A year in which I returned to the stage for the first time in two and a half years after being very unwell. I returned dancing principal roles on stage for the first time. I seem to be experiencing intricately woven patterns of emotion at the moment and these are surprising me every day. But on the whole my heart is filled with gratitude.

It was wonderful to connect with other members of the MAPP community in the zoom session last week where we discussed ways to approach the critical personal reflection essay. Helen shared a beautiful essay she is currently writing with us, as an example of different ways of constructing and approaching an essay. I was really inspired by this because it revealed to me just how creative the process can be. I can easily become stuck within one format and strive now to be more experimental with my approach.

The second take away from this session was Helen's idea of creating a map of your learning through this term. I like the visual idea of this and have already identified that I am predominantly a visual learner. Therefore, I have been inspired to collage a map of my learning. I feel this may also help me with ensuring I really identify the key points of learning as my tendency is to feel that everything is relevant and then become overwhelmed with too much material.

It was inspiring to hear how others are approaching their reflective practice with Matthew saying he has been collating photographs, Olga interspersing study with movement and Deiter recording himself talking and taking his writing from there.

All of these different approaches have encouraged me to think about how I can fulfil my desire for creativity whilst still getting my work done on time.



 I have been enjoying journalling based on the Gibbs Reflective cycle. I found a journal on amazon which has already been structured and I have found this really great as I can fill it in any time and the boxes are quite small so I can't get too carried away! Sharing it here in case anyone else finds it helpful. I do feel though that although this cycle is useful it does not delve into the full depth of reflection. It seems impossible for full learning to take place as I feel I would need to actively try out the action plan and to critically look at my own views. How do I truly know if this has been simply a perceived notion and not a true representation of what happened? As Bolton says Gibb's cycle 'does not critically challenge assumptions (either individual or those of the organisation) or engage perception from a wide range of perspectives.' (Bolton, 2014, p.49)   

Interested to know what models of reflection are working for other members of the community?





Bibliography

Bolton. G (2014) Reflective practice. Fourth Edn. London: Sage Publications Ltd



Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Dancing and working through grief

 




Today has been hard. Although this is a personal post, I feel that I want to share it. Because an area of great interest to me is the effects of trauma on dancers. 

Yesterday my grandma passed away. 94 years old so a wonderful age. Yet I was at work and not with her at the time. I am currently rehearsing for Nutcracker performances next week. I decided to keep working because I know that my grandmother would have wanted that. She supported me greatly through my training to become a professional dancer and I know she was very proud of the career path I chose. I felt that after her passing I would feel more connected to her by continuing to dance than returning home. Yet there were a couple of moments when I lost myself a bit today. Felt pulled down by the weight of the loss.

Dance for me as always been a very spiritual process and I feel as though it connects me to something deeper than the surface level of life.  As I process all the waves of emotion that come with loss, I feel compelled to do some freewriting of words that a emerge from me during this time. 

My intention is in time to use these words as inspiration to create a solo choreography, exploring the process of grief and connection with my grandma.


Relief

Pain undone

Pain dispersed

Processing

music

magic

angel

sky

discovery

light 

love

imagine

believe

beyond

Time 

present

deny

dictate

dance

deepen

loss

lens

unhealed

complicated

trauma

agitation

jarred

classic




hand

movie

cashmere

custard

cardigan

cranberry

parcel

dark chocolate

cake

laughter


My intention for the last 2 days was to work on my AOLs, research and get a lot of other admin work done after work. Yet I haven't felt able to do it in the evenings. I have found when I am alone, I just want to call my family or sit and think. It's hard to admit to yourself that maybe that is what you need to do right now. Sometimes we need to take time and I have learned from past experiences that unless we take that time when we need it, we are likely to suffer later as a result of trying to push down the pain.

So tonight, I accept where things are at and know that tomorrow there will be another opportunity to work my way down the to do list. 


Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Reflections on Frameworks and the place of unknowing


 



I have been inspired by Deiter and Lea's posts about what can be discovered in the place of unknowing, I decided to explore this a little bit for myself with some freewriting.

Unknowing...

The place of insecurity, yet also freedom

A land where possibility is prevalent

space

acceptance

presence

being at one with wherever you are

frighteningly beautiful

Secure and insecure at the same time

The older I get the less I feel I truly know and the more at peace I become with that

Some days we sit with it and accept it

Some days we fight against it and cannot find peace within it.

Yet every day, we are faced with the challenge of what we don't know, and we must learn to hold hands with the fear that emerges and make friends with the possibility that the process of learning may bring.



Then I was equally inspired by Honor's post and sharing some thoughts on my response to it here:



I really love this way of looking at a framework as a gateway to intuitive understanding and not the door itself. I have also been finding it a challenge to get into the frameworks of reflective practice as I feel this often destroys my natural process of reflection when I try to follow some of the structures suggested.  

You had me considering the notion of authenticity and how the arts absolutely give us that chance to share our inner selves to the world in ways that feel true to who we are. The arts can become that way of communicating with others when we feel misunderstood. 
Strangely I feel that many life experiences I lived through the medium of dance first. It is like this force that allows me to experience life and connect to others. I often say that performers and artists are so fortunate because every piece of art they create or every performance they undertake are like full lives in themselves. 

Inquiry into what lights the spark inside me

 I am returning to these questions which I explored earlier in the module but have needed to add to as my learning has developed across the ...