Allen Ruttenberg


NEW PARADIGM: THE TEACHING OF DANCE FROM EMOTION “All children are dancers.” Dance is “the art of expressing emotions with the help of body movements rhymed.” Jacques Dalcroze Notes for the script of the conference: We will give a brief welcome and introduction of ourselves along with the theme of our lecture. 1. At the speaker’s stand we will read in both Spanish and English, the poem, “The Gypsy Girl” (la Gitanilla) by Ruben Dario. We will invite someone from the audience to dance according to the music inherent in the rhythms and meanings of each language. Poem: The Gypsy Girl She danced beautifully. The diamonds of her black pupils poured over her sparkle; her face was beautiful, it was a face so beautiful how like the gypsy of Miguel Cervantes. Red carnations were the ornamental accents the roundness of the hull of dark hair, and the head firmly on the bronze neck, She had the patina of hours wandering. The strings of the guitar sounded adventures vague and wander

Dancing with Emotion

Photo Allen Ruttenberg  


                                                                        “All children are dancers.”
Dance is “the art of expressing emotions with the help of body movements rhymed.” Jacques Dalcroze
Notes for the script of the conference:
We will give a brief welcome and introduction of ourselves along with the theme of our lecture.
1. At the speaker’s stand we will read in both Spanish and English, the poem, “The Gypsy Girl” (La Gitanilla) by Ruben Dario. We will invite someone from the audience to dance according to the music inherent in the rhythms and meanings of each language.
Poem: The Gypsy Girl
She danced beautifully. The diamonds
of her black pupils poured over her sparkle;
her face was beautiful, it was a face so beautiful
how like the gypsy of  Miguel Cervantes.

Red carnations were the ornamental accents
the roundness of the hull of dark hair,
and the head firmly on the bronze neck,
She had the patina of hours wandering.

The strings of the guitar sounded
adventures vague and wandering hours,
They flew fandangos, giving the carnation fragrance;

The gypsy woman, drunk with lust and love,
she felt within her bodice
the beautiful gold of the artist of France.
2. Next, we introduce a short clip of the video for “Zorba the Greek” (2.15 minutes), evoking the feeling of the pure pleasure of dance. We encourage the audience to follow the rhythms of the music with percussive hand clapping and movement, involving them in the climate we want to instill during the conference: the emotional connection of movement in response to music.
3. Then, we start the exploration of our subject in both Spanish and English, segment by segment. The ideas of our research will be presented in a give-and-take style engaging the participants with questions posed as to reveal their personal of experiences of dance, positive or negative.
IF WE WANT TO TEACH TO DANCE, we must ask ourselves some questions:
1) How do dancing and teaching dance impact the world?
2) What is the emotional state of the people, whether children or adults, when music is played at parties, in towns, villages, or within the family?
3) Is it not in these natural conditions where dances have been learned since ancient times? And, on what occasions does it continue to happen organically in countries where the attributes of older civilizations are still accessible regardless of current life styles?
4) Are the pillars of emotion and observation most effective during social events, and therefore the optimal place for learning dance?
5) Can dance be preserved to any greater extent as a heritage other than by its practitioners: the elders and family members who hold the traditions?
6) What makes the comment, “All children are dancers” true?

Video clip (2 minutes) of African grain grinding, etc. Natural rhythms

The most suitable conditions for emotional connection must be created so that a dancer, at any level of experience, will internalize rhythms and changes of mood, decisive factors in continuing to love to dance. For more effective learning and development of one’s particular style, immediate and on-going practice will link the brain to pleasure centers, leading to innovation and creative expression.
– Are the new methods in approach to teaching experienced as anachronistic or disruptive?
– How will we incorporate the most innovative pedagogical and didactic principles based on evolving brain research?
– What are the ways we will use the tools offered by new technologies related to music in the most modern conservatories in the world?
– How can we influence further expansion of art and love for dance in everyone?

Baile sevillanas

                                                                                                          Photo Allen Ruttenberg


1) Identify the means to achieve more prosperous and healthy dance environments with commitment to innovation and creativity. And clarify the modern questions that allow us to appreciate the most ancient forms of communication and learning.
2) Goal: dance must be present in all forms of teaching, education, culture, public events and holidays involving the entire society.
3) According to the current cultural dynamics, the local is reflected in global demand, and  global influence impacts the local response. What is the influence of dance on this continuum?
4) Are the same teaching methods used in schools, colleges, universities? Are they innovative or stagnant?
We can say with an emphatic, “yes”, that dance is predominantly taught with the same educational schemes used by the global education system, which is in a crisis of rote learning and stagnation. In many countries educators are questioning old methodologies, forcing institutions to seek new alternatives to teaching. The current global education system was created in the nineteenth century as an answer to servicing the industrial revolution. Standardization was the norm in order to match the nacent factory mentality. We will briefly speak to the method identified as “linearity” via Ken Robinson.
We will place a call via Skype (30 seconds), introducing the flexibility of the medium as a teaching tool in a playful, fun and contemporary fashion linking music and dance to the actual conference.
If one is analyzing and proposing a change in the pedagogical models, we must first identify how they have become obsolete since first implemented and that they contain a high failure rate. Much of the old system is based on punitive measures, debasement of the student, negativity of many teachers, etc.
How will we evolve new approaches that merge the values of teaching dance as people from learned in times past with the tendency for dance now to be isolated to only a few  conservatories or dance institutes? Is the inherent beauty in dance still primarily found and learned in ethnic, social, group or family events?
Personal observations from Fernando about working with flamenco dancers.
Video of Fernando/Naima interpreting Federico Garcia Lorca


BOOK NOTES Dr. Alkis Raftis

P.13 … “The dance is reduced to a mere reproduction of the movements, at best a nice hobby, or a nice means of physical exercise.”
It is necessary to extend the learning methods that incorporate learning with advancing theories and comprehension of kinesthetic movement; i.e., dance is done with the body, developing muscles with their own memory and reflecting feelings made in the process of apprenticing dancers .
Live music is part of the ambient environment in which the act of learning is developed.
In children, learning with the body is integral to their development and is known to be the best way to learn. Like all other living beings, who have joined us throughout the evolutionary and natural processes, [childrens’ movements are designed to make sense of the world, create safety and to satisfy curiosity].
Learning the dances involves understanding and assimilation, with all stimuli and ideas transmitted via audiovisual or auditory form and then implemented by the locomotor system.
 The dancers necessarily use three primary ways to learn and understand a given dance. First is the visual: watching other dancers (parents, members of the tribe, choreographers); the second is listening as the music or rhythm is layered on top of visual movements; the third is the kinesthetic action where the muscles shorten and lengthen in response to the beats. The body moves naturally. As Picasso said that “all children are artists,” all children are dancers: the body responds instantly to signals without plan or need to refine. As a child naturally climbs, runs, jumps, throws and kicks, each body part is alert to instantaneous adjustments.
These models also serve learning for adults.
[In flamenco, the uses hands and feet as percussive instruments, which requires participants to integrate the body extremities in response to different rhythms].
THE GYPSY DANCE by Miguel de Cervantes
Gypsies dance,
The King looks at them;
The Queen, with jealousy,
Orders them to jail.
For Easter for the Kings
They gave
a gypsy dance
Belica and Ines.
Belica troubled,
He fell by the king,
and the king rises
with pure courtesy;
Belica is more
of this beautiful complexion,
Queen, jealous,
Orders them to jail.

In the XXI century, information runs at breakneck speed and we, therefore, have great ability to show how people behave in learning situations. Just as academic teaching has access to a lineage that has produced great thinkers, we have a great number of new and useful tools we should incorporate into the process of teaching dance. We have an obligation to influence for adoption, new pedagogical methods for teaching and learning dance for performance and as a means of self-expression.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights itself, UNESCO, in the spirit of that declaration and particularly Article 5 thereof, invites us to this noble human aspiration, to push ahead and innovate within the fields of culture and education.
We dance lovers want to preserve and disseminate all the beautiful dances as treasured heritages of the peoples inhabiting the earth. We must impose our influence in all activities around the world where dance develops from the valuesof respect, kindness, creativity, etc. …
If music has as a determining factor its internal structure – rhythm, rests, repeats, etc. – how can we understand the music we are going to dance, if we have not previously internalized the  keys that unlock the emotional rhythms that we are to dance?
I consider it a waste of time, which delays learning, when inadequate emphasis is placed on understanding the rhythmic characteristics that are contained within a dance. Full integration  of impulses from which we master movement results in further delight when dancing.
It is therefore necessary to define the principles of learning in order to deeply appreciate and know each of the rhythms that make any piece of music unique to express in dance and any peculiarities it contains. Flamenco, itself, is composed of complicated rhythms, the mastery of which is intensive and critical to understanding its place in the music continuum, its historical references and its place in innovation for the present and the future.
Well-defined stages of learning a particular rhythm are based on a process of mental compression that have well defined phases which the teacher, Jacques Dalcroze, theorizes as helpful in learning music.

The following model has three phases for the understanding of rhythm:
1.) Mental understanding of the essence of rhythmic runs, containing times and accents. It is understanding the type of rhythm by the higher nerve centers where the ability to measure rhythmic sounds and sequences of equal length takes place. Musicality – in its fullness, so that it can be understood, interpreted and executed by the nervous and musculoskeletal systems – is the essence of rhythm.
2.) While the neurological system dominates the features containing the rhythms, it gives efficient impetus to the nervous system with “orders” to the precision required in response to the system suggested by the music.
3.) Well understood rhythmic orders will be executed by the specific areas of the body with the efficiency of the motor system that will set in motion the body area that requires the discipline that you want to exhibit: either dancing, clapping the hands, percussive sticks, instruments that build music, etc.
The guitar is the primary instrument that identifies us with songs for its unmistakably flamenco sound, tapping and runs. And finally in the interpretation of the songs with the voice, one must also know the rhythmic keys to adjust the lyrics with their melodies to the rhythm that I use in my singing style. In my composition of music for the writers and poets of Spain, I honor the inherent musicality of the written language as a vehicle for my music.
A good understanding of rhythm reveals its internalization and therefore places one in a state of musically harmonious integration.
For me the internalization of rhythm is the axis on which I develop my informal classes, Masterclasses, conferences and educational concerts. With it I get the keys to assisting others in understanding flamenco music with speed, strength, curiosity.
Enter the essence of the article “Internalization of Pace.”
From a PHONE DISCUSSION with DAVID GRIFFIN of Albuquerque, NM on 08/06/2015:
Fernando is studying and writing about new approaches to active learning: where the student is involved in the process of self-discovery; where there are no punitive measures to help students achieve their goals / visions; where the scope of integrating the strengths of other cultures is a natural part of the dialogue; where dance is interpretation of the meaning of words and music of flamenco, and not just a caricature of some arbitrary cultural expectation; where its interpretation of poets carries out the meaning of the beauty of life is expressed; where the media, collects and disseminates its vision, etc.
The neuroscience researcher Francisco Mora posits that the essential element in the learning process is emotion because you can only learn what you love, that which gives something back to the person. It means something and dominates the internal environment. His book on neuro-education has just been published by Alianza Editorial. “Without emotion,” he says,  there is “no curiosity, no attention, no learning, no memory.”
The joy of learning basis:
The scientist says that “children today learn, early on, abstract concepts in rooms with no windows. . .with bright artificial light under the rigor and seriousness of teachers. . . away from that “primitive game” [which} generates learning and sensory memorization directly, “with joy” based on care and arousing curiosity.”

Cante con Scotth

Photo Allen Ruttenberg  

Understanding this today, its roots, and from the perspective of how the brain functions is to take advantage of it as  “a first basic principle of teaching with which you can learn and memorize [retain] better. These principles can be extended in application not only to basic education and during adolescence, but also at the highest university studies or applied studies in a company or with scientific research.”
He adds that, “Cognitive neuroscience as we already indicated through the study of the activity of different brain areas and functions, reveals that what draws attention and generates excitement, what is different and stands out from the monotony, is the basis for learning.”
“Attention will turn from the window, when a student becomes alert to something new in the environment. That ‘something new’ appeals, like millions of years ago, when survival and ultimate meaning arise.” He adds, “Attention is born of something that can mean reward (pleasure) or punishment (danger) and therefore has to do with our own life.” But with developmental evolution and emergence of civilizations  warns Mora, learning and memory are mere mechanisms that are brought about by abstract levels coupled with artificially high social significance. Humanity has been moving away from its inviolable roots, genetic and evolutionary, of the joy which originally meant truly learning, internalizing and evoking new forms of expression.
“The excitement is this, no doubt: that one can only learn what is loved, that which tells you something new, and that which means something new is emerging from the environment. Without emotion there is no curiosity, no attention, no learning, no memory. “

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Metamorphic Transformation

Observing metamorphic transformations in nature allows us to extrapolate that method to humans and the arts. That is to say, the foundational substance becomes a supporting substance retained in the new identity. These essential elements are absorbed, now invisible to the observer, while the transformed form creates a stunning awareness of the new.

Likewise, our compositions make use of a similar pattern of creative mutation, if you will. We begin with folk songs that poet Federico Garcia Lorca chose, rescued from oblivion, transcribed for the piano and performed in various venues. Following a trajectory of revealing hidden elements, we submit them to an unexpected metamorphic process. The melodic essences of the old songs are those that give musical meaning to different poems that Lorca wrote.

Additionally, in his short life, he created diverse artistic works, including poetry, music, and literature. He also created formidable works for the theater, while also embracing other mediums such as painting. His contemporaries and artistic collaborators included Joan Miro and Salvador Dali.

“Lorca in the Keys of Hands and Voice,” a concert conceived and presented by Adam Kent and Fernando Barros, is a musical innovation inspired by Lorca’s example. Lorca collected melodies from the Spanish folklore repertoire and transcribed them for the piano using two different concepts: 1) adapting the old melodies to various of his poem, as for example, ANDA JALEO to the poem “Preciosa y el Aire”; and 2) singing the old songs using the expressive, emotive characteristics inherent in flamenco music.

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