Cultural Quarterly Magazine Online

2014 Arts Education Convenings & Dance Industry Symposium

By Lisa Turano Wojcik

BAK School of the Arts - Friday 2009 Performance

A meeting of the minds! Assemble, congregate, meet, collect, gather, and exchange ideas with experts in Arts Education and Dance at ArtServe in Fort Lauderdale.

On Wednesday, May 14, 2014, the Broward Cultural Division hosted two back-to-back regional convenings: Arts Education: Policy, Equity and Action (2:00pm-5:00pm) and Cultivating South Florida’s Dance Community (5:30pm-8:00pm).

The convenings brought together stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and organizations, representing a range of perspectives. These gatherings are designed to generate ideas and action beyond what single individuals are able to imagine or achieve on their own.

Arts Education Convening: Policy, Equity and Action

The topics highlighted in this session were the result of a decade-long study and report, Reinvesting in Arts Education, published by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). PCAH is a research board currently headed by First Lady Michelle Obama, who serves as honorary chair.

  1. Introducing model policies to reinforce the place of arts in K-12 education. The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities believes that the arts should be part of the education of every child in America. The PCAH supports initiatives that give young people the opportunity to experience accomplishments that are part of being an artist and scholar. The PCAH forms these beliefs into governmental policies which help support the arts in education at local levels.

    Building collaborations among different approaches.
    One aim of this convening was to foster partnerships among places of art - museums, galleries, artists’ studios, acting and dance ensembles, local governments, schools, universities, and other community organizations. Through collaboration comes artistic advancement, which will in turn benefit communities.
  2. Developing the field of arts integration. Broward teaching artist Timothy Leistner, Ed.D, believes that integration of the arts into school curricula is of vital importance. Engagement in the arts gives students skills which cross over to and enhance core academic areas.

    He also says, "I believe it is important that artistic endeavors are provided for the sake of ‘creating art,’ which is important in itself! And the arts have no socioeconomic barriers; engagement in the arts benefits children from all economic backgrounds."
  3. Expanding opportunities for teaching artists. Betsy Mullins-Urwin, art services director at Arts for Learning Miami talked about her organization’s Teaching Artist Training and Certification Program. The program will give training and credentials to local artists interested in sharing their talents with the community through teaching in schools and other educational programs.

    A4LMiami is one of South Florida’s leading sources of arts-in-education services. It provides programs that connect the arts to core-curriculum subjects. This connection promotes life and communication skills, literacy, problem solving, self-discovery, and self-esteem.
  4. Dance Industry Symposium – Cultivating South Florida’s Dance Community The Broward Cultural Division invited businesses, organizations, educators, dancers, choreographers, schools, and suppliers involved in the dance industry to join in a discussion with the public.

 Buraczeski Etude Choreography Danny Buraczeski Dancers Bak MSOA Dance Repertory (2014) Photographer S & O Photo
Participants explored critical questions.

What is the state of dance in South Florida? This lively forum brought more attention to the discipline of dance, an art often left out of the spotlight. It’s a rare opportunity for both the experts and the public to inform policymakers on issues, needs, and concerns specific to the field of dance.

Program attendees experienced a real treat. Talented dance students from Bak Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach performed short modern dances learned from collaborating with Laura Bennett of the American Dance Legacy Initiative from Brown University. Bak MSOA is a premier magnet school for the visual and performing arts in Palm Beach County. The performance was followed by an interactive workshop and discussion panel.

What can be done to ensure dance as a viable, thriving arts discipline within the region? The American Dance Legacy Initiative (ADLI) is part of the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University in Rhode Island. ADLI produces innovative materials and programs designed to engage artists, educators and the public with America’s dance heritage of signature works by historical and contemporary choreographers. ADLI has been working to develop a unique compilation, the Repertory Etudes Collection.

Julie Adams Strandberg, co-founder of ADLI, says this collection comprises a common knowledge of dance history and movement traditions which are rarely ever shared in the field of arts education.

ADLI’s purpose is to widely share this collection with dance organizations and schools. Strandberg and Bennett plan to offer "concrete nuts and bolts tools" that dance students can use. Bennett explains that these dances are adaptable to a variety of skills levels, affording all students the ability to practice this repertoire.

Martha Satinoff, Dance Director at Bak MSOA is enthusiastic about ADLI’s work. "It challenges us artistically and technically. It brings modern dance history into our classrooms and onto the stage, allowing our dancers to be a part of passing the art from one generation to the next." Strandberg was excited about "realizing our vision in Florida during this event."

Toranika Washington, dance director at the University School at Nova Southeastern University, says, "This is an exciting opportunity for creative growth and development for South Florida artists. I’m looking forward to it, and I encourage all artists, especially dance educators to attend."


These two events were made possible by the following collaborators: American Dance Legacy Initiative at Brown University; VSA Florida; Florida Dance Education Organization; Arts for Learning Miami; the School Board of Broward County; Broward County Board of County Commissioners; Broward Cultural Council; ArtServe; Children’s Services Council of Broward County; Kravis Center for the Performing Arts; Power of Performance, Inc.; Bak Middle School of the Arts; Body and Soul Dance Theatre; and Brazz Dance.

Both sessions were free of charge and hosted by ArtServe, 1350 E Sunrise Boulevard.

 For more information, contact Grace Kewl-Durfey at 954-357-7869, or visit, for the application and further details.


Broward County Cultural Division
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