05. Continued Growth
Creative research/COLLABORATION abroad
MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY LONDON
COLLABORATIVE PARTNERING WITH HEAD OF PERFORMING ARTS DR. LESLIE MAIN
I visited Middlesex University in London, where I met Dr. Lesley Main, Head of Performing Arts and formerly Chair of the Dance Department as well as Principal Lecturer in Dance at Middlesex University, teaching Humphrey-based Technique, Repertoire, and Performance.
We had discussions on collaboration and shared ideas about a summer exchange dance intensive and even a semester or year exchange for SUNY Potsdam and Middlesex University dance students.
Middlesex University was my top choice because it is one of the leading universities in the UK for dance, recognized nationally and internationally for its teaching and innovative research. Like SUNY Potsdam, their dance degrees focus around a central core of performance, choreography, and critical appreciation. Many of the faculty are former international dancers, who bring their extensive experience and network of professional contacts into the studio. Like SUNY Potsdam, they also have state-of-the-art studios, tailor coursework to where students want to go, and work in media dance.
Middlesex University was also my top choice because of the inclusiveness of the international students, providing a better quality education through key ideas in knowing that difference is just a normal part of life – an instrumental tool in changing discriminatory
attitudes. It is also a wonderful way of enabling students to develop key competencies, social relationships, and interaction while building and maintaining friendships. When students study abroad, they improve their employability skills, too.
Furthermore, who wouldn't love the opportunity to go to London and study?
Dr. Main and I agreed that summer dance intensives and exchange options for our students would give them the same high standard of teaching and facilities on campus, but they would get unique new experiences and build worldwide relationships. We also agreed that their exchange experience would increase human understanding with incentives toward becoming more flexible, resilient, andinterculturally aware –all while having the experience of a lifetime!
Through the idea of international partnerships, Dr. Main and I also discussed the student's future and her Dance Program's postgraduate degree, an MA in Professional Practice Dance Technique Pedagogy. The program is unique in that it is a highly flexible online Distance Education MA designed for newly qualified or experienced dance teachers working in and beyond schools. The course has been developed especially to allow individuals to continue working, integrating their professional practice and expertise with academic learning. After students graduate from SUNY Potsdam and get a dance job, for example, they could continue working in NYC and earn a graduate degree in London's Middlesex University.
The visit concluded with Dr. Main and I agreeing to further investigate the exchange initiative, get the word out, find interest, and revisit the idea again in spring of 2020.
Sadly, arrangements have been postponed due to COVID.