Vol. 20, No. 18
July 19, 2001
Summer workshops provide
Performances by professional dancers, musicians, a storyteller and a visit to Baltimore's American Visionary Art Museum were part of the Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education (DIAE) annual summer session for teachers, held June 25-29 at Arsht Hall on the University of Delaware's Wilmington Campus.
"Our goal is to increase understanding among educators of how the arts can, and should be, one of the most important ways that human beings learn about themselves and others," Karen Hurley-Heyman, DIAE director, said.
Thirty-eight teachers, of all grade levels from 21 state schools, representing seven districts, plus the UD's College School, the Delaware School for the Deaf and Ferris School for Boys attended this summer's DIAE session.
According to Hurley-Heyman, DIAE summer workshops are led by specially trained teaching artists who are guided by Delaware's Visual and Performing Arts, English Language Arts and Social Studies standards. Teaching artists are trained by the Lincoln Center Institute for Aesthetic Education in methods for deepening perception and understanding of the many ways multicultural arts enrich and inform both the educational process and personal and community life.
The week began with TAHIRA, an African-American storyteller, who presented tales in the African oral tradition of the jali/gariot, to educate her audience and help preserve the traditions, culture and history of the African people.
Philadelphia's Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble's performance featured traditional elements of Eastern Ukraine dance, with high jumps and acrobatic tricks, and those of Western Ukraine dance with its precise, intricate and syncopated footwork. The dancers are known for maintaining a delicate balance between authenticity and newly choreographed reenactments of traditional Ukrainian folk dance.
Local musician Chuck Holdeman and company presented both the music of Vivaldi and modern compositions by Holdeman and Mark Hagerty. Their performance featured a variety of instruments, including the French bassoon, cello and harpsichord. They focused on musical lyricism and its relation to the poetry, dance and traditions of the 18th century, as well as the storytelling aspects of new compositions expressed in a tempered classical tradition.
On the last day of the weeklong session, participating teachers reviewed and discussed various aspects of the artistic presentations and museum visit, focusing on ways to integrate elements of these arts into their curriculum. DIAE staff and teaching artists helped teachers begin the planning process to provide arts-based units of study for their students during the coming school year.
"DIAE summer session," Hurley-Heyman said, "introduces teachers to the basic elements and processes of dance, music, theatre and visual arts and helps them connect the learning opportunity these arts provide with the Delaware state standards for their curriculum. In this way, it serves to provide practical, professional development for teachers.
"The arts serve as one of humankind's greatest portals to expanded awareness and understanding of who and what we have been, are and may become in relationship to the physical universe and how we interpret and imagine it to be," she said.
For more information about DIAE programs, call 425-4595.
Photo by Kathy Flickinger