What is Notes in Motion?

Notes in Motion/Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre engages communities in dynamic dance theatre performances and inclusive arts education programs.
Notes in Motion/Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre is rooted in our mission of offering access, nurturing community, and promoting individual expression and freedom. Our dance education programs in the NYC schools offer students tools to express themselves, engage with their peers, and gain a more well rounded school experience. Through sharing and providing access to this inclusive learning model, we are engaged in the critical work of breaking down barriers of systematic racism and oppression. We actively recruit diverse teaching artists, dancers, staff, and board to reflect, empower, and celebrate the diverse populations we serve. We are steadfast in our commitment to equity and change and driven to show up with vulnerability in an open dialogue with our schools, audiences, patrons, volunteers, and supporters. It is a privilege to share the joy of dance, offering students and audiences in-roads to discover inspiration, meaning, and joy. We continue into our third decade of dance making, sharing, and educating with a dedication to foster equality, access, and opportunity to all. — Amanda Selwyn, Artistic/Executive Director


Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre/Notes in Motion presents dynamic dance theatre productions that activate emotional expression. Through an interplay of athletic and articulate motion, we present theatrical and immediate works that engage audiences from start to finish and beckon a response of thought, feeling, and soul. Our education program, Notes in Motion, brings inclusive dance programs to the NYC Public Schools in styles including modern, ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, Latin, African, and more. Programs are united by our singular approach to dance education, The Movement Exchange Method, which combines technical instruction with creative skill-building and collaborative learning. We aim to provide access to the art form of dance to inspire the next generation of dance appreciators.


Since 2000, Notes in Motion has brought dance programs to over 140 schools and nearly 200,000 students in New York City. We have programs in all 5 boroughs and reach diverse student populations from 3K-12. We are a vendor of the NYC Department of Education and all our programs reflect the learning standards as outlined in their Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts. We create long-lasting arts partnerships with schools and inspire the greater community of that school with the beauty, magic, and vitality of dance. We do not offer any cookie-cutter programs. Each program is custom-tailored to the specific needs and population of each school partner. We work collaboratively with classroom teachers at every stage from program planning, implementation, performance/community sharing, assessment, and evaluation. Our Teaching Artists guide students through a unique creative process, creating connections with other academic subjects and fostering active learning—students are creators, improvisors, and collaborators. We have an Education Ensemble of 50 experienced Teaching Artists with advanced degrees and extensive performance and choreography backgrounds in several dance styles and techniques. Press includes 2 features in Dance Magazine, Profile in Dance Teacher Magazine of Artistic Director Amanda Selwyn’s workshop at the NYC Arts-in-Education Roundtable’s 2011 Face to Face Conference and a profile in NYFA’s Current: A Magazine for Artists, and more. Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre has presented 19 original evening length works and dozens of shorter works at NY Performance Seasons and festival engagements, and offers residencies to colleges and universities. We include audiences in the creative process by offering open rehearsals, informal performances of developing work, and access to videos, photos, and interactive tools on our website. We have presented over 135 productions at venues including Baruch Performing Arts Center, New York Live Arts, Mark Morris Dance Center, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, The Kumble Theater, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Danspace Project, The Ailey Citigroup Theater, John Jay College, and Dance New Amsterdam.

Program Goals

Provide high quality dance instruction that teaches creative movement fundamentals, promotes self-expression and self-esteem, and builds collaborative learning skills.
Design curriculum in conjunction with teachers and administrators that best fits the needs of each grade level and class group. Prepare teachers to be active participants.
Dance performance themes are inspired by texts, imagery, critical questions, and physical challenges—we collaborate with classroom teachers to incorporate themes that resonate throughout the school community. We share creative teaching tools, classroom rituals, and follow-up activities with classroom teachers.
Create opportunities for parents, guardians, and community members to engage with student arts learning thereby activating the life of the school.

Learning Objectives

Investigating fundamental dance concepts
K-2: levels, pathways, body shapes, rhythm
3-5: weight shifts, dynamics, body control, basic partnering
6-8: alignment, strength, flexibility, balance, dyamics, spatial orientations
9-12: musical phrasing, dynamic control, sequencing, understanding complex rhythms

Inventing original movements
K-2: expressing feelings/abstract concepts, working alone, collaborating with peers
3-5: finding solutions to movement problems; improvising as a group
6-8: initiating ideas, turning gestures into movement, varying dynamics and speed
9-12: developing original improv structures, exploring group dynamics, partnering

Creating their own choreography
K-2: choosing a beginning, middle, end; recalling, repeating, practicing sequences
3-5: employing structures (AB, ABA); creating as a group
6-8: articulating a theme, showing leaderships skills, experimenting with space and time
9-12: rehearsing and evaluating independently, developing material from improvisation

Performing for peers, family, and the school community at the end of each semester
K-2: show expressiveness and joy; understand appropriate performer & audience behavior
3-5: dance with focus and intent; dance with self-awareness and awareness of the group
6-8: dance with rhythmic accuracy and musical feeling, perform improvisations
9-12: dance with unique personal style, exhibit a high level of awareness and achievement

Employing dance vocabulary through writing, discussion, and video
K-2: name activities, parts of the body, choreographic ideas, and personal observations
3-5: use contrasting action & descriptive words, connect dance learning to academic areas
6-8: identify various choreographic devises (canon, retrograde), name muscles and bones
9-12: teach a dance to younger students, utilize refined observation and evaluation skills

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