What is Notes in Motion?

Notes in Motion is a dance theatre company made up of Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre, producing original dance theatre performances and Notes in Motion Outreach Dance Theatre, presenting in-school and community arts-in-education programs.

BEING AN AGENT OF CHANGE
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. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, I have gratitude for our diverse community and the lessons learned. I am also humbled by the work that lays ahead. We enter 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

Mission

Notes in Motion Outreach Dance Theatre offers a wide array of residency, professional development, interactive performance, and after-school programs that teach dance skills, choreography, improvisation, inter-disciplinary study, and arts appreciation in dance styles including modern, ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, Latin, African, and more. These programs are united by our singular approach to arts education, The Movement Exchange Method, in which students take on leadership roles in their own learning, have creative input in the design of the curriculum, participate in critical discussions of the work of their peers, and develop collaborative skills. Programs foster self-discovery, risk-taking, and making connections between different topics, themes, and areas of learning. We aim to provide access to the art form of dance to inspire the next generation of dance appreciators.

History

Since 2000, Notes in Motion Outreach Dance Theatre has brought arts programs to over 80 schools and over 67,000 students in New York City. We have programs in all 5 boroughs and reach diverse student populations from PreK-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 32 experienced Teaching Artists with advanced degrees and extensive performance and choreography backgrounds in several dance styles and techniques. Press includes a 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.

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 residency participants.

Link residency curriculum to themes and topics in academic subjects. 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

Current School Partnerships
Manhattan: PS 63 STAR AcademyCreative Steps Early Care & Education CenterEast Village Community School, Portfolio School, The Neighborhood SchoolUrban Assembly School for the Performing Arts Brooklyn: Brooklyn Independent School, Brooklyn School of Music and TheatrePS/IS 323K Bronx: PS 78One World Middle School Queens: PS 83 QUEENS: PS 182, PS 290, Child Center for NY @ PS 89 Young Women’s Leadership School Long Island: Long Island High School of the Arts

Past Program Partners
Manhattan: PS 41, PS 87, PS 721, Goddard Riverside After-School Center, The Brearley School, The Philip Coltoff Center, Amistad Dual Language School, Murray Bertraum School, Manhattan College for Early Advertising Brooklyn: PS 312, PS 247, PS 92, PS 93, PS 67, Academy for Young Writers Bronx: The Bronx Charter School for the Arts Queens: PS 82, PS 7, PS 60, PS 81, PS 89, PS 107, PS 127, PS 171, PS 214, PS 237,MS 355, Collaborative Arts Middle School Long Island: Hebrew Academy for the Five Towns and the Rockaways
Staten Island: PS 13