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Community Dance Practices

Community Dance Practices discussed in Dr. Pegge Vissicaro's ASU Dance class October 11, 2013

Through relationship building and community collaborations within the Cultural Arts Coalition (CAC): celebrating global connections multiple community arts programs and curricula have collaboratively evolved .

Melanie Ohm and judy butzine were guests at Dr. Pegge Vissicaro's ASU Dance class to assist in a facilitation process to engage her dance students in reflection and dialogue concerning the article written by Melanie and judy on the documentation of Capturing Community Dance...

Planetary Dance™ in Phoenix, Arizona sponsored by the Cultural Arts Coalition and Terra Dance®, June 6, 2010, 0900, @ Phoenix Civic Space Park

Fundamentals of the CAC's programming outlined for this specific academic instruction varies little from any short or long term CAC programming that occurs and is the basis for the CAC's guiding practices of community interaction: Technology of Being Human - The CAC's multidisciplinary process connects to personal strengths and social capacities through methods and strategies that are diverse, but all flow through the framework of respectful interaction, literature, critical inquiry dialogue, universal shared human concerns, art making, reflection, and celebration...

In this case the primary art making activity empowering the communication is dance and movement.

First Fundamental is to meet in the "Circle of Power"

Within the Circle of Power participants are guided to reflect and express their own ideas and values, in small steps uncovering what they think and communicating it back to the group. The circle, which distributes power equally, symbolizes reciprocity and balance in which each member contributes to the whole.

Jourdan explains the class plan for answering questions in reviewing the chosen article to engage in the critical inquiry process (CAC Fundamental # 2).

She provides the question with a note taker to record the answers as a ball is thrown in the air and caught by an individual who then thoughtfully reflects & responds. Very fun and innovative activity to creatively engage the audience... Fundamental # 3 is creativity and Innovation to Problem Solve

Experiencing awareness is one strategy, and speaking to one another about what is important is another. Conceptually, "fundamentals" are a means of focus for mastering one's highest human potential and achieving life goals.


CAC practitioners function in a holistic awareness of the human being, as physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual inhabiting social networks and an environment. "Awareness," as we define it, takes into consideration our surroundings and the idea that we live in an interconnected system of relationships.

Answers to first 15 minutes of questioning...


"Community developers can work with public artists to help people tell their stories: art can act to build solidarity and can be a prelude to community action" (Husteddde, p.159, quoted Jones, 1988). The arts embody the human experience, in a sense "interring" our concepts and ideas in the materials of our creativity and laying our explorations to rest.

"Community developers also work with artists to bring out the political, historical and other dimensions of people's stories" (Husteddde, p.158). ASU student and dancer Elena worked with other dancers in Guatemala this past summer to assist them in their daily lives of restorative justice. Currently a dance club is being formed to continue this work on the campus and internationally.

Through collaboration with Dr. Vissicaro and ASU dance students, a partnership at Westward Ho has been ongoing for three years: Westward Ho Residency in urban setting, Phoenix, Arizona. This is a HUD assisted property for 300 retirees and physically/mentally disabled persons of lower economic means.

The Cultural Arts Coalition utilized the ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) resources of a community to benefit the development of that particular community. They have been coordinating art making, exercise, and festival activities at the Westward Ho. The first step was to identify the community through recognition that a need existed as vocalized by the participants: staff and residents.

Arizona State University (ASU) Herberger School of Dance and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation formed a partnership with the non-profit organization Cultural Arts Coalition (CAC) to design and implement a new model for collaboration that improves, enhances, strengthens, and sustains the highest quality of life for all people, particularly those aging citizens of Maricopa County. This partnership won the team the Housing Urban Development statewide award for providing the Westward Ho residents the highest quality of living in a HUD assisted facility.

Moving Communities through Creative Wellness explores how arts and wellness strategies positively impact the growth of self-sustaining, healthy communities. Pegge Vissicaro, ASU School of Dance instructed these residents during the Move and Dance 4 Joy! program. Her ASU dance students have also been engaged in providing other community dance events for the residents at the Westward Ho...

All of these community engagement activities provide opportunities for Fundamental #4 Change of individual or community leading to self-sufficiency. Skills for thinking, communicating, and collaborating are fundamental human technologies, informing all human endeavor. Literature, dialogue and self-reflection about universal themes ~ explored through individual and collaborative art making and facilitated in a participant-centered, socially engaged environment ~ provide the setting for participants to build upon personal strengths and to practice pro-social behaviors.

Fundamental # 5 is Change through the celebration of honoring and respect for participants, the end of CAC's empowerment process sending participants' intentions for CHANGE into the heavens...

Through ceremony, we celebrate the achievements they have made and the successful impact they have on their chosen communities. The sustainability for a single life, or a community, now rests in the relationships built, the beneficial and purposeful partnerships created, the vision pursued with intent, and the confident acceptance of responsibility for one's future. Community rituals of celebration assist participants to examine and explore their authentic self and discover that "Just to be is a blessing." (Hustedde & King, 2002, pp.338-347)

Assessed Outcome of this reflective experience initiated by the reading of the assigned article Capturing Community Dance...

Hi Melanie and Judy, You two ladies were stunning today. I really think you connected with this group in ways that have not yet experienced. Thank you for sharing your expertise, positive energy, and time. Have a beautiful weekend. Love, Pegge

Photo narrative by judy butzine October 20, 2013