Dance Presence Student Evaluation

These were my criteria for evaluating student performances in dance improvisation, as a guest teacher at ArtEZ, NL. The performances took place at the conclusion of a two week intensive.

Criteria for evaluation

Presence
Use of eyes, ears and over all awareness.

Responsibility/Composition
Use of choice
Space
Attention to over-all composition

Musicality
Access to feelings & qualities
Phrasing

Technique
Embodiment of knowledge.
How one uses the elements of dance (time, space, energy/dynamic, intent/ability to make meaning)

Personal Feedback:

The following are my candid, personal and therefore completely biased notes, the gist of which were communicated privately to each participant, stemming from the relationship developed throughout our two week intensive with these immensely talented students.

Student 1

You have the potential to be a leader. Use discipline and practice to develop the quality and application of your talent, which is to dance!

You have been very interactive and responsive throughout this process and your participation is much appreciated.

It has been clear throughout that you are trying to understand the work and are willing to express your perspective using the language afforded by your experience. A willingness to expand your perspective and perhaps adopt other ways of seeing will serve to deepen your insight as well as lend credibility to your point-of-view. Practice!

Big improvement in use of senses (eye, ear), resulting in a more noticeable presence throughout! Yes!

With the senses open you can explore working in solo, even within an ensemble piece, as a means to understand composition and experience new ways of relating to people and space.

Continue to remember to see and take an interest in space.

Student 2

You’ve made much progress in opening your awareness to space and those inhabiting it. You’ve become less isolated and more able to be influenced / be of influence.

In relaxing the habit of doing things with your feelings, and simply allowing yourself to experience them, you are free to choose how to apply your ample talent to the task of making a piece.

Well done!

Student 3

Defaulting into shy mode won’t serve you as a performer. Resolve this conflict between your being shy and your desire to be seen.

Entertain the idea that perhaps the public is not looking at you, but is looking at space in response to you yourself taking an interest in it. The public can see and appreciate space through you. It is your job to sensitize them to this purpose.

Yes, you have feelings, and they should be appreciated. Open your eyes, listen and communicate with others.

Student 4

Your sense of humor is a rare gift in this profession. You can use it to serve your work.

Expand on your use of ear. Listen to music that you don’t normally like.

Student 5

Demand the room. Demand the space.

Now that you’re working with the eye, you can choose to set a precedent in the composition. Make something & see how others respond.

Try working in solo to explore composition.

Quit acting shy and be direct in working with people.

When you see, I see your technique.

Student 6

Apply your work ethic in all other areas, no matter your impression of the value of the work.

You’re engagement in this process has been a delight to behold and your attentiveness is noted.

With your gifts of awareness and discernment you have no business being so tentative in your approach to space (one element of dance). Be decisive, remain open (aware) and deal, artfully, with the consequence of your choice.

Student 7

Now that you’ve begun to incorporate the use of the eye, there is the opportunity to take notice of others (in the space). In your noticing of others, there is the possibility for relationship & co-creation.

Your technique can find a function in constellation with others to make a piece.

The technique instilled in your body only becomes apparent when it is applied with intent and awareness of space. Awareness depends on sensing, and so the eye/ear must remain open.

Student 8

Your attitude toward “knowing” inhibits your ability to learn and absorb actual knowledge.

In dance, knowledge is embodied. Something that is not embodied is not actually known. So if you are not doing it, it’s very likely you don’t know it.

We will see when you find your legs.

We will see when you see.

You’ve just begun to incorporate the use of the eye in your dancing but can easily lapse into a kind of self-congratulating, self-indulgent exploration that effectively cuts you off from your environment and is uninteresting to behold.

Keep working with the senses operating in tandem.
What are you seeing?
What are you hearing?

Student 9

You are a fantastic dancer but I suspect a bit lazy in applying your talent.

In terms of composition, it is good to make plans but do allow the option for relationship, through your awareness of others and all the elements of dance (time, space, energy/dynamics, intent/ability to make meaning). Awareness depends on sensing, and so the eye/ear must remain open.

Allow yourself (through the senses) to be manipulated, molded, influenced by others.

Student 10

With awareness comes responsibility:
Your awareness of space (through sensing) gives you the option to take a position of leadership within a composition. Be decisive and remain aware (eyes, ears) of the consequences of your choice (in time).

Your thoughtful reserve and attendance to this process has been a delight. You are a pleasure to work with.

Student 11

Well done!

You have undergone much development, especially in your ability to objectively appreciate how you are in relationship to others.

Develop your awareness of space (through sensing, eye/ear) in order to affect the composition as a whole.

Interact with others.

Student 12

cannot be evaluated due to having been absent for 4 out of 11 days.

Student 13

Your artistic potential is apparent. You’re engagement in this process and the sharing of your gifts has been a pleasure to experience.

Understand discipline and how it can serve your artistic vision.

Depersonalize your relationship to technique and discover its potential as a tool in wielding the elements of dance (time, space, energy / dynamics, intent / ability to make meaning)


Participants:

Dorry Aben
Sonja Bleijerveld
Tamarah Kerling
Anelies Oosterloo
Valerie Kommer
Gesa Piper
Evelien Riemens
Sylvana Seddig
Rianne Sienema
Mirjam Strauch
Annemiek Suijkerbuijk
Marijke de Vos
Laura Witzleben

Written by:

Justin Morrison is a dancer, teacher and performance maker based between San Diego and New York City. This is his personal website and blog.