Updates from Summer Intensive at CDT

As the Columbus Dance Theatre Summer Intensive comes to a close, Darion Smith looks at some of the challenges and accomplishments that marked the experience for the students, and for him.

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“It was a fun challenge teaching a piece that I created for six dancers to twenty one dancers,” says Smith. He explains how working with a prop that the dancers helped to create contributed to making the experience even more engaging for them.

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For Smith, he got to have a fresh look at a work he created almost exactly one year ago.

“I could see new possibilities to explore in the future,” he says. Of the dancers who attended the Summer Intensive, Smith says, “they were very dedicated, passionate, hardworking.”

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Students will perform Ript Dash on Friday, June 14 at the CDT theater in a culminating performance of the 2019 Summer Intensive Program.

Spring News from the Sphere

This time of year is packed for dance educators and dance students as they prepare and present their final showcases and collect thoughts and lessons learned over the course of the year.

Photo by Hank Wang

Photo by Hank Wang

For Janusphere Artistic Director Darion Smith this spring has been full of creative energy and achievement. He guided his Howard Community College dance students through another successful semester. His newest choreography for student dancers premiered. And we was featured in a video created by the College’s Dance Department.

Additionally, spring brings new announcements about artistic collaborations and residencies coming up in the next few months.

This includes an upcoming weeklong residency at the CDT and a creative residency that is part of the Lizard Project collaboration between Smith and Carla Bengtson.

Stay tuned for more updates, events and conversations here on the blog and on Facebook and Instagram.

Get Out and See Some Dance This Weekend

A message from Artistic Director Darion Smith and some video previews of Leaving Now for Later.

Check out the videos on our Facebook Playlist, and come see the premiere this Friday!


It's exciting to see these students take the stage and breathe life into each of the choreography works in the HCC Program that premieres this Friday at HCC’s Smith Theatre, located in the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center.

I'm fortunate to have worked on "Leaving Now for Later" with an inspiring cast who take risks, push their physical boundaries, and are constantly developing their artistic voices. Dance as a performing art contains the ability to create captivating metaphors that give a fresh look at life and our world, that's why I love it so much. Get out and see some dance this weekend!

https://www.facebook.com/events/351683345435674/

More than a Performance, Preparing Dancers for Life On and Off the Stage

We sat down to talk with our Artistic Director Darion Smith, whose newest work for student dancers, Leaving Now for Later, is coming to the stage April 5, 2019. Darion shares his thoughts on dance education and choreography in the higher education setting.

Life Lessons for Students Learning Choreography

For dancers, learning choreography by also participating in its creation provides a rich opportunity to build and practice skills that are necessary for success in life on and off the stage.

Within the process of choreography and performance invaluable moments arise where thought processes are being constantly challenged and you are being called upon to make decisions.

From rehearsal video for Smith’s  Leaving Now for Later

From rehearsal video for Smith’s Leaving Now for Later

Building Problem Solving Skills through Movement

Learning choreography is, basically, a problem solving obstacle course. Each time you work through new choreography, you create new tools, or fortify the tools you already possess. This is not just for the dancer, it is also the case for the choreographer.

The choreographer presents a problem and, together, the choreographer and dancer(s) work collaboratively to create solutions. There are parallel creative processes in other fields, including the sciences, math, music, and engineering. 

Artistic Development

For Smith, he feels he becomes more of an artist than an educator when immersed in a creative endeavor like this one. In the moment, he is not expressly trying to “educate.” Rather, he is aiming to solve a problem. In the development of a new work like this one, that problem, and its path to resolution, can be intense.

From rehearsal video for Smith’s  Leaving Now for Later

From rehearsal video for Smith’s Leaving Now for Later

However as an educator, and because of his experiences, he is able to see things throughout the process that the young dancers cannot. As a result. Smith is teaching them to learn by taking risks, making mistakes, and anticipating problems and solutions in a way that better prepares them for the role at hand, and the roles to come.

In this sense, he is teaching students in a powerful and practical way. Rather than educating them for the sake of educating them in a general sense, he is working with them to build the practical skills that make them stronger, more confident problem solvers and creative thinkers, in addition to stronger and more confident dancers.

Attend the Premiere

All of this hard work in the studio will culminate in a premiere performance April 5th - April 7th at the Smith Theatre, located in the Horowitz Center, on the Howard Community College campus, in Columbia, Maryland.