Project Description


Action/Reaction is designed to introduce dance to college students by providing tools based in the creative process of contemporary dance. In a four-part program, students with little or no dance experience, understand the art form of contemporary dance in a deeper way and ultimately articulate their own “reaction” or creative expression in response to GW’s performance. Through an interactive introduction of dance tools and terminology, observation of rehearsals and performance, and finally the completion of a class assignment, GW and students participate in an exchange of ideas and learning together.

For 16 years, GroundWorks DanceTheater has been a vital performing arts organization in the NEO community and over that time, has built many contacts with the area’s colleges and universities. In partnership with these contacts, who are local professors and instructors, GW has begun a new program enhances the course curriculum in a meaningful experience of deep learning.

GW first explored this project as a part of our on-going residence with Cleveland StateUniversity in 2012. Since then, we have partnered with John Carroll University, The University of Akron, and Cleveland Institute of Art, and are in discussions with Baldwin-Wallace, Kent State, Case Western and Judson Manor (Senior Living Facility) for future engagements.

The program is implemented in 4 steps.

  1. GW’s Artistic Director, Educ/Outreach Coordinator and company artists will visit classroom providing an interactive movement experience introducing dance and movement tools, as well as the creative process employed by GW.
  2. Students visit a company rehearsal in the GW studio to observe our process and learn about the program the company is preparing to perform.
  3. Student participants attend a GW performance. Tickets are coordinated by the professor/instructor and are provided at a discounted rate. This is the only cost to the college, and if this is not available though the college or university, GW will provide complimentary tickets.
  4. Students create a reaction to the performance based on the instruction and requirements of the class.

With student and instructor permission, the reactions are shared with GW and may be used for promotion and information through the company’s website, blogs and other forms of social media.

Action/Reaction Goals:

  • To provide students with a deeper artistic understanding and appreciation for dance and the choreographic process,
  • To provide the opportunity for a two-way exchange between GW and students,
  • To connect the creative process of dance-making to a creative subject with which students are familiar, thereby creating a new connection to contemporary dance,
  • To provide connections for GW to younger and diverse populations with the goal of expanding our audience base,
  • To provide opportunity for the wider community’s understanding and appreciation for dance through the creative reactions of students,
  • To build and deepen GW connections with area colleges and universities and offer a collaborative resource for professors/instructors looking to enhance their curriculum.

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