Imagine igniting a passion for learning through the exciting exploration of history and culture as reflected in dance. Deborah Denenfeld has spent her lifetime combining interests in dance, teaching and the study of cultures. She now brings multicultural and historic dance to Kentuckians through residencies, workshops and programs.
Master’s educated, Deborah has lived and taught in Asia, Canada and Hawaii, always exploring new styles of dance. For 25 years she has been on the Kentucky Arts Council’s Teaching Artists Directory, conducting hundreds of residencies and professional development workshops on dance integrated with other curricular areas. She created Dancin’ to the Core, interactive presentations on elements and styles of dance, attended by 5000 students, receiving rave reviews. Deborah helped choreograph and perform “Farblungheit: Lost and Found in Kentucky,” based on the lives of Jewish Kentucky women. She received an Appalachian Music Fellowship, researching western Kentucky play-party games from the 1920s. Through interviews with elderly players, she reconstructed many dance-like games that otherwise would have been lost. She was a major contributor to KETs Dance Toolkits. Deborah founded and runs Dancing Well: The Soldier Project, which brings traditional dance experiences to veterans and families affected by PTSD or brain injury.
Deborah Denenfeld continues to help students of all ages and levels of ability discover their own inner joy and love of life through the beauty and richness of dance.
Potential Residency Project
Integrate Dance, Music and Social Studies Curricular Content through Colonial American and Native American Dance This 10-day residency is appropriate for grades four and five.
- Students combine learning social studies with dance and music academic expectations.
- Students experience the elements of dance through movement exercises, dances, observation and discussion.
- Integrate the study of Kentucky and American government, cultures and societies, economics, geography and historical perspective with the study of Colonial American dance, providing hands-on experience of colonial times and culture as reflected in dance. Explore the role of dance in family and individual status in that era.
- Integrate the study of Kentucky and American government, cultures and societies, economics, geography and historical perspective with the study of Native American dance and Native American culture, learning dances from various tribal nations, thus exposing students to a culture other than their own.
- Students compare and contrast Colonial American and Native American dance styles, exploring the purposes of the dances, using appropriate dance terminology.
- Integrates perfectly with the “Mission U.S. – Mission 1: For Crown or Colony?” game available online through KET.
A professional development workshop will be held for all interested teachers, focusing on integrating multicultural and historical dance into the social studies curriculum. Suggested resource materials and a bibliography will be provided. The artist will provide ongoing telephone support for one year following the residency.
This residency will provide an in-depth boost to the school's existing Social Studies standards. Specifically, students will have an opportunity to meet Kentucky Academic Standards for the Arts requirements in dance, music and social studies by:
- Experiencing, identifying and describing the elements of dance in a variety of dances.
- Creating a dance that uses elements of dance with locomotor and non-locomotor movements to communicate ideas, thoughts and feelings.
- Performing traditional folk and ethnic dances.
- Explaining how dance has been a part of cultures and time periods throughout history.
- Discussing purposes of dance.
- Using appropriate terminology to describe differences and commonalities in dances of Colonial American and Native American cultures, their purposes and styles.
- Providing learning opportunities through kinesthetic, linguistic, spatial, logical-mathematical, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist modalities to reach all learners.
“Dance Integrating With Arts, History and Social Studies Standards for Every Grade”
Grades 2 and 3: Elements of dance and folk dance of various cultures from geographical and historical perspectives
Grades 4 and 5: Elements of dance, dance forms and purposes: focusing on Colonial American, Native American, West African and Appalachian dance, cultures, economics, geography and historical perspectives
Grades 6, 7 and 8: Latin dance, classical dance of India, early American and African-American Dance through the Civil War, dance purposes, elements and choreographic forms focusing on cultures, societies, economics, geography and historical perspectives
Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12: Styles of dance, European culture and periods in dance, recent styles in American culture, dance purposes, elements and choreographic forms: focusing on cultures, societies, economics, geography and historical perspectives