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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Toolbox FAQs

Do I have to be a dance artist to use these tools?

Not at all. Many of the tools and foundations included in the Dance Exchange Online Toolbox have been used by such varied practitioners as theater artists, rabbis, youth workers, dialogue facilitators and writing teachers. We encourage users to adapt the tools to their own needs. Some of the tools are more adaptable to non-dance applications than others. For a basic profile of each of the tool visit the Tools & Tool Chooser.

Is this a full collection of Dance Exchange tools?

No. The tools, foundations, essays and other resources currently on this site represent just a fraction of the body of knowledge of Dance Exchange. We have well-tested techniques that are still waiting to be added to the site, and we are developing more tools with each new project. The Dance Exchange Online Toolbox is a growing compilation that will be expanded with regular updates.

How did these tools and practices come about?

Liz Lerman addresses this question in the essay "Values for Dance Making and Methods for Critique". Discussing Miss Galaxy and Her Three Raps with God, a piece she created early in her career, she writes:

...Even when they mastered the steps, the dancers did not have the relationship to the movement that made them feel passionate about it. And without that passion, they could not perform it with conviction.

So I began to experiment with a different method for generating movement, posing questions that required the dancers to respond physically. I discovered that dancers who were thus engaged were much more invested as performers. ... Soon I was driven not by the impulse to generate movement on my own body, but by a search to discover questions and structures that would help inventive people find physical answers and stories inside themselves.

These questions and structures were among Liz Lerman's early tools, and became the cornerstone of the Dance Exchange's approach to choreography, teaching, and community engagement.

Is this information available in a printed publication?

We have had limited collections of tools available to community and institute participants in the past. We hope eventually to compile some of the information on this site into a book or kit. At present, though, the Dance Exchange Online Toolbox is the best single source of information on our methodology.

How can I learn more?

The best way to gain a deeper grasp of the techniques described in the Toolbox is to join Dance Exchange for a class or institute. Institutes, which are usually offered in the summer, generally last a week and offer a chance for hands-on experience in the Dance Exchange methodology in a challenging, supportive, intensive environment. Institutes are offered in such varied focus areas as text and movement, community applications, professional level dance training, and dance for senior adults. For information on upcoming institutes check the Dance Exchange's main website.

Do you have a question of your own? If so, please comment below.