chapter  3
11 Pages

Softening the borders of codification

WithSusan Sentler

Should a formal, traditional ‘western’ modern dance technique be a necessary component for dance education in the globalised twenty-first century? Can the specificity of boarders that codification embraces, be crossed and dissolve allowing the language to transform and continue to grow? As a teacher of the Martha Graham technique for over 30 years, I question its relevance daily, especially working now in Asia, noticing the dancers needs within the landscape of the art field. This chapter will not only question the relevance of the Graham technique but also emphasise the methodologies and strategies I have developed to teach the principles inherent within it, focusing on my current pedagogic practice with dance students, ages 16 to early 20s. Moreover, I will interrogate how, through a combination of varied somatic practices and creative improvisational play, I can encourage students not only to embody this particular technique with greater efficiency but also stretch their confidence of agency and curiosity, working towards an individual artistic voice.