“If all children in every school from their entrance until their graduation… were given the opportunity to experience dance as a creative art, and if their dancing kept pace with their developing physical, mental, and spiritual needs, the enrichment of their adult life might reach beyond the results we can now contemplate.”

— Margaret Newell H’Doubler


DanceON is a dance residency program designed for middle and high school students presented with Mathew Janczewski’s ARENA DANCES. Facilitating a more immersive approach to teaching modern dance in school settings, and utilizing the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning Dance established in the New York City Department of Education, DanceON is currently seeking funding to begin providing classes to underserved schools.

DanceON 5-Day Residency Curriculum

DanceON will allow ARENA DANCES to:

  • Complete pre-residency planning with participating schools or districts.
  • Engage a minimum of two schools for a full week of residency in the fall and spring semesters of the next two academic years.
  • Teach dance techniques and dance making in up to three classes for each participating grade level.
  • Rehearse on-site in an open environment for students to observe, developing curiosity and increasing visibility of how a professional contemporary dance company creates and produces work.
  • Engage students in open dialogue about contemporary dance, how to be a dancer, how to create work etc. at least four days during the residency week during learning lunch hours.
  • Engage with school administrators and classroom teachers one day of the week to have open dialogue about the definition of contemporary dance, how to make dance, how to connect dance and art to various subject matters, etc.
  • After the residency week, students from each classroom share the work they have created and ARENA DANCES will perform what they have created and rehearsed while in residence.
  • ARENA DANCES will also facilitate and provide: Informal daily evaluation and adjustment of the program to achieve program objectives, formal evaluation of weekly and yearly programs, as well as year over year metrics.

Following this two-year program, ARENA DANCES would then move on to incorporating two new schools, while another prominent contemporary dance company takes residency at the schools ARENA worked with during the pilot. This will create ongoing exposure to contemporary dance in many aesthetic forms, dance making, and creative processes. DanceON will create a network of contemporary dance companies and schools participating with consistent and meaningful relationships to contemporary dance, artistic expression, and creative processes.

Dance Making

By exploring, creating, replicating and observing dance, students build their technical and expressive skills, develop their artistry and a unique personal voice in dance, and experience the power of dance to communicate. They understand dance as a universal language and a legacy of expression in every culture.

Developing Dance Literacy

Students develop a working knowledge of dance language and aesthetics, and apply it to analyzing, evaluating, documenting, creating and performing dance. They recognize their role as articulate, literate dancers in communicating about dance to their families, schools and communities.

Making Connections

By investigating historical, social and cultural contexts, and by exploring common themes and principles connecting dance with other disciplines, students enrich their creative work and understand the significance of dance in the evolution of human thought and expression.

Working With Community and Cultural Resources

Students broaden their perspective by working with professional artists and arts organizations representing diverse cultural and personal approaches to dance, and by seeing performances of widely varied dance styles and genres. Active partnerships that combine school and local community resources with the full range of Minnesota’s dance and cultural institutions create a fertile ground for students’ dance learning and creativity.

Exploring Careers and Lifelong Learning

Students consider the range of dance and dance-related professions as they think about their goals and aspirations, and understand how the various professions support and connect with each other. They carry physical, social and cognitive skills learned in dance, and an ability to appreciate and enjoy participating in dance, throughout their lives.

Curriculum: Residency Program

The curriculum is both subject-based—defining the goals for content—and outcome based—defining the goals for student achievement. Thus, we first list student learning indicators, and then provide suggested examples of activities to reach these outcomes. The DanceON is meant to provide a framework for teachers, suggesting strategies that spur individual creativity, depth and breadth in dance teaching.

— Dance Making Is the Starting Point

Each benchmark section of the Blueprint for Dance begins with Dance Making, which encompasses all of the activities in which students are physically dancing. Dance is the kinesthetic art form, and all dance learning must take place first in the body. The learning inherent in the four other strands of DanceON stems organically from the Dance Making activities, and the activities in those strands are inextricably bound with those in the Dance Making strand. The four other strands deepen dance learning by providing students with the means to:

  • Become literate in dance, developing critical insights and the means to express them in dance terms.
  • Make social, cultural and historical connections through dance.
  • Connect creatively to the other arts and disciplines, technology and health through dance.
  • Engage in dance learning with both school staff and other sectors of the Minnesota dance cultural community.
  • Become lifelong learners in and advocates for dance.

DanceON is a scaffold on which a sequential, cohesive PreK-12 dance curriculum may be built, encompassing the body of knowledge in the art form of dance, in rich dialogue with all other aspects of children’s lives and learning.

— Goals of Residency Program

  • Develop Dance Skills and Techniques
  • Improvise
  • Choreograph
  • Perform
  • Understand Dance as a means of Expression/Communication
  • Analyze, Critique and Communicate About Dance
  • Identify and Compare Dance Styles, Genres, Major Works and Artists

The learn more about DanceON and how you can bring this program to your students, please contact Mathew Janczewski directly by calling (612) 804.0238 or by e-mail at arenadances@gmail.com