Perpich News

2022 Minnesota Dance Summit

Participants and presenters for the 2022 Minnesota Dance Summit

February 18, 2022

The 2022 Minnesota Dance Summit brought dance instructors and dancers together at Perpich Center on February 12, 2022. This event was hosted by Perpich Center for Arts Education in collaboration with Dance Educator’s Coalition of Minnesota. The day focused on community and identity. The schedule included movement sessions, research presentations, and discussions. Presenters were Dr. Betsy Maloney Leaf, Gabrielle Abram, Colleen Callahan and guests, and a Strong Movement class with Darrius Strong.

Mary Harding, Dance Instructor & Education Specialist in Dance, reflected on the experience saying, “I am in awe of the forest that we have created in our dance education community. We had participants from K-12, higher education, private studios, professional companies, and arts organizations. We danced together, learned together, and cried together. I saw and heard the understory of our forest represented in the teacher panel, in the side conversations, in the joyous embodiment, and in the care and concern we have for each other.”

Back row, left to right: Kara Noble-North High, Jahrari Love-Bethune Elementary, LaTia Childers-Downtown Fair High School. Front row, left to right: Christie Owens-Marcy Elementary, Megan Teynor-Wellstone Elementary, Colleen Callahan-DEC President

Presenter and participant, Gabrielle Abram, said, “This past Dance Summit was inspirational. Getting to share my teaching techniques and discoveries with my fellow dance teachers and peers was an amazing and humbling experience. Definitely the best way to end a hectic, busy morning.”

The event was free and offered to educators across the state. Participants earned four Professional Development clock hours for attending part 1 of the Summit.

Betsy Maloney Leaf, PhD, MFA, is co-License Program Lead in the Arts in Education program for the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. She works with the interarts (visual art, dance, theatre arts) initial license program and teaches undergraduate courses in the department of Curriculum & Instruction. Maloney Leaf’s research examines the intersection between dance education, culturally relevant pedagogy, and educational policy. She has presented her research at several regional and national conferences, including American Educational Research Association (AERA), American Educational Studies Association (AESA), National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), and American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE).

Darrius Strong

Darrius Strong is a Twin Cities based dancer, choreographer, and instructor. His dance company, STRONGmovement, uses the universal language of dance, blending styles such as Hip hop, Ballet, Modern, and West African to tell stories related to society and humanity. Strong is a graduate of University of Minnesota (BFA 2015) and is currently faculty at University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Macalester College, St. Paul Conservatory Performing Arts High School, and the TU Dance Center where he focuses on teaching dancers how to connect their identity to movement.

Gabrielle Abram received her training at Perpich Center for Arts Education as well as TU Dance Center. Gabrielle has performed and worked with choreographers such as Mathew Janczewski, Vanessa Voskuil, Orlando Hunter, and Marciano Silva Dos Santos on stages such as The O’Shaughnessy Theatre, The Southern Theater, and The Cowles Performing Arts Center.

Colleen Callahan is president of Minnesota Dance Educator’s Coalition (DEC), a network formed in 1986 to provide emotional and professional support to Dance Educators. DEC’s mission is to serve the needs of its members and to give impetus to more and better quality dance programs throughout the state.