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Language of Dance® Foundations – Part 1

Sponsored by:

University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance

Columbia, South Carolina

June 12-16, 2017 ~ Monday through Friday, 9:30am-4:30pm

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Explore the universal elements of the Movement Alphabet and integrate movement Motif symbols into dance experiences to connect physical, cognitive and socio-emotional learning. You will utilize dance literacy strategies to transform your teaching and creative practices. Those who successfully complete all course requirements will receive the Language of Dance® Foundations – Part 1 Certificate.

This course is for dance educators, movement specialists and classroom teachers (K-12, private studio, higher education and arts specialists).

Instructors are Language of Dance Certification Specialists:

Susan Gingrasso MA, CMA

Teresa Heiland PhD, CMA

Assisted by Stephanie Milling PhD, MA


$700 until May 19, 2017

$775 after May 19, 2017

Register & Pay for the Course:

2017 Foundations Part 1 SC

2017 Foundations SC: Day Rate

Included & Required Publications:

Motif Notation: An Introduction booklet

Motif at a Glance! Flip chart

For more information, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Course Description

Actively experience, explore, and apply the Language of Dance Approach to dance and movement practices to promote: dance literacy; support integration of the kinesthetic, cognitive, and socio-emotional domains of learning; uncover the pedagogical frameworks that support deep learning in dance to integrate the LOD Movement Alphabet into artistic and pedagogical practices. Those who successfully complete all course requirements will receive the Language of Dance® Foundations Part 2 Certificate.

Benefits of this Course

This course uses the Language of Dance (LOD) Approach to teaching and learning in dance to build your capacity to weave dance literacy into your practice of 1) dance as art in education and 2) dance as a tool for curricular integration.

  • Experience the Language of Dance (LOD) framework through a constructivist, learner-centered pedagogy;
  • Make meaningful and embodied connections to each Movement Alphabet concept studied;
  • Use Motif notation to read and write dance concepts and dances that reveal dance literacy as an integral part of dance teaching and learning in diverse contexts;
  • Enhance the integration of kinesthetic, cognitive, and socio-emotional domains of learning in dance as art in education and dance in the academic curriculum;
  • Discover how using the LOD Movement Alphabet in the teaching and learning process accelerates observation, description, interpretation, analysis, creation, performance, evaluation, and embodiment of skills, knowledge, and understanding;
  • Refine your performance abilities and artistry through reflection, creative process, critical thinking, and collaborative learning.
  • Apply pedagogical content knowledge about teaching and learning using the LOD Framework to current instructional or artistic practice

BONUS BENEFIT: Get an insider’s experience of the pedagogical strategies the instructors use to create the rich and deep learning experiences in the course and how they connect to the 21st Century Learning Skills.

Language of Dance Foundations Part 1 Content

The Actions (Verbs)

•              Flex, Extend and Rotate

•              Travel, Direction & Level

•              Arrive at a Still Shape

The Qualifiers (Adverbs)

•              Movement size: Small, large

•              Dynamics: Accents, Force, Flow

The Subjects or Objects (Nouns)

•              Floor Plans

•              Areas of the Performance Space/Stage

Participants shared, this course provides you with:

Tools to organize and focus your teaching, choreography and dancing.

Language to record and communicate movement concepts.

Accessibility for all learners through dance literacy.

Empowerment to more deeply perform and understand dance.

Ways to use the Movement Alphabet and Motif Notation to understand and record your own and your student's growth.

Practice layering different aspects of the Movement Alphabet to scaffold each aspect of a lesson.

Participant experiences:

Wednesday was an interesting day in that we were handed many tactics on how to approach concepts that I know I can definitely use in all my levels. I'm constantly asking my dance majors to take risks and they never give me what I want. The center of gravity exercises into falling gave me a few ideas as to how to make them feel comfortable going off of their center and attempting a "real fall." I don't intend to have them always fall to the ground, but as Susan mentioned, these days there's not much exploration off the center of gravity. It's all very centered, which in turn, makes the "dance fall" even less real than the "real fall."

I also enjoyed the exploration of different jumps/springs without having the pressure of remembering the technical terms. I have many dancers that don't see the possibilities of different types of jumps, leaps, or hops.

I feel like both of these concepts are parts of my curriculum that are weak and these lessons that I could vary, may not have LOD as the center focus but the LOD concepts can be reinforced through the lessons of jumping and falling within the technique curriculum.

Brazie Adamez

Dance Educator & Co Director of the Dance Program

McCallum Fine Arts Academy

Austin, Texas



I think the Change of Support cards and (lesson) framework will be a wonderful resource for a secondary Ed class I will be teaching in the fall--the Movement Alphabet poster as well. I was intrigued by the dance literacy discussion in small groups. Personally, I see notation as part of literacy within the broader Laban Studies umbrella.  In our group the point was raised that the Laban approach is Western-centric in its origins and emphases and, as a result, a concern was raised as to whether its application can truly be universal in terms of defining dance literacy.  We discussed the Laban approach as being one of many literacies in dance.  This stimulated me to begin to think about what would constitute a non-Western-centric, global literacy or literacies in dance.

Frederick Curry

Assistant Professor

Mason Gross School of the Arts

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey


I thought the structuring of (The Prodigal Son) lesson was phenomenal. There was a lot of information packed into the lesson. . . Having the chance to watch, notate and describe, move, and create was extremely beneficial for understanding the ballet. I think if this was a history lesson, I would come back to the ballet in the end. Or, it could be made into a larger unit of study and other works/dance content could be introduced. The structuring of this lesson caused me to think about how I structure my classes.

Stephanie Milling

College of Visual and Performing Arts Assistant Dean

Associate Professor of Dance

Winthrop University

Rock Hill, South Carolina


When we moved on to the springs in the afternoon, I found that playing games really put a sense of fun into the task of experiencing the different kinds of spring.  Having the groups help others through making big jumps was a great team-building exercise. Looking through my lens of community building, and thinking about my activity for Friday, I saw that having that support when doing the jumps encouraged trust and cooperation. The same thing occurred when we did the fall exercise in groups. These kinds of 'play' activities are best to get groups working together in a lighthearted way.

Sarah Billings Wheeler

Dance/Yoga teacher at School for Classics,

an Academy of Thinkers, Writers, and Performers

Brooklyn, New York