Apr 13, 2021
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Susan McGreevy-Nichols, Executive Director at the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO). Prior to her current role, she taught part-time at Loyola Marymount University and was a national consultant on Arts Education. Also, as a three-decades-long teacher at Roger Williams Middle School in Providence, Rhode Island, Susan founded and developed that institution’s nationally renowned middle school dance program. On top of all of this, she is an author who has written and published five books.
As an arts educator, Susan realizes the value of harnessing the creating process, both inside and outside of the arts. In fact, during her run as an educator, Susan has developed a cutting-edge reading comprehension strategy that uses text as inspiration for original choreography, created by children. On the podcast, Susan speaks to how the creative process drives everything she does — her work, her books, her curriculum, her life — and how the arts world uses the creative process to train thinkers, even more so than dancers or artists.
"I don't focus well. I multitask. But, because of that, it's made me very creative. That's why I feel that I've become a very creative problem solver. I attack everything thinking, 'Okay, I'm going to make this work.' And it all goes back to the creative process."
"The cognitive processes involved in creating dance really help you be a better learner, a better thinker — a thinking dancer... The work I do focuses on creating thinkers and making dance for everybody."
"As a dance studio owner, you can never replace the face-to-face connection with your students — of being a part of this wonderful community and culture that has been set up. That will never be replaced by Zoom."
"Dance education is very small compared to the other art forms. We really need to stick together."
"As dance teachers, make sure you collaborate with others. Make sure you network with others... It's important that you embrace the fact that all sectors need each other. You can learn so much from so many other people."
"Dancers should always know how to be good teachers."
"It doesn't matter what's going on in the world. There's always a silver lining; there's always a way to push back on things and make them work."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
3:03: Susan describes all of the activities conducted by her organization, the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO).
5:39: Susan explains how the NDEO unites dance educators across all forms of dance and how the NDEO is different from other dance organizations.
8:50: Susan discusses her observations on how dance improves so many others’ lives and how the creative process is a catalyst for joy in dance.
10:15: McGreevy-Nichols describes her work as a consultant and generally speaks to the importance of incorporating the creative process into learning.
13:00: McGreevy-Nichols speaks to her reading comprehension strategy, which combines the fundamentals of reading with choreographic movement.
15:47: Susan discusses observed patterns on modern dance but explains why virtual technology will never replace face-to-face interaction.
20:02: Susan shares some advice for anyone looking to have a career in dance, either on or off the stage.
24:36: Susan discusses her five published books and speaks to her work teaching inner-city children how to dance, which ultimately was the catalyst for her first book.
31:00: McGreevy-Nichols looks towards the future for the NDEO, hoping to foster a more inclusive environment moving ahead.
32:10: Susan shares some last words of encouragement and advice for dance teachers across the world.
Bullet List of Resources –
National Dance Education Organization