Dance Exchange launches Cassie Meador’s book: Moving Field Guide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2015

CONTACTS:

Alison Waldman                                           Emily Theys
Communications Coordinator                   Communications and Development Director
alisonw@danceexchange.org                     emilym@danceexchange.org

Dance Exchange launches Cassie Meador’s book

Moving Field Guide: A Teacher Training Toolkit for Grades 3-5

Takoma Park, MD, November 2, 2015:  On November 19, 2015 at 7 PM, Dance Exchange will host the official book launch of Cassie Meador’s Moving Field Guide: A Teacher Training Toolkit for Grades 3-5. The event, hosted at the Dance Exchange studios (7117 Maple Ave. Takoma Park, MD 20912), will include a sharing of the history of the Moving Field Guide Program, anecdotes from recent and past Moving Field Guides led around the world, and a small sampling of Moving Field Guide activities. These activities will be co-led by Dance Exchange’s partners at the US Forest Service, who have supported the programming over the past 5 years.

The Moving Field Guide (MFG) uses movement and dance-making as creative tools for exploring changes in the environment around us and offers a way for students to discover a deeper connection to the world around them. During these immersive experiences, participants activate their senses and observation skills through a series of outdoor movement activities. Combining an artistic and ecological approach to learning, students have an opportunity to get outside, to learn about their local ecosystems through art and science, and to move along a path from appreciation to knowledge to active stewardship of the environment. MFGs use dance to make new discoveries and connections between our bodies and the environment. A toolkit for teachers of grades 3-5, Meador’s guidebook is adaptable and customizable for urban, suburban, or rural settings and can be scaled for small groups of 5 or fewer students, or a large group of 40 or more participants.

Meador, artistic director of Dance Exchange in Takoma Park, MD, finds inspiration in supporting educators and artists to discover new paths to embodied learning.  “I am thrilled to launch this book to the public and to provide teachers with an essential resource for giving their students new ways to learn and discover through movement a deeper connection to the world around them,” says Meador. “While the tools provided in this book are geared towards educators of grades 3-5, the basic MFG principles are explained through vivid examples and can be applied to all grade levels and all populations, and can be used for experiences far beyond the schoolyard.”

As with all Dance Exchange projects, the MFG program cannot be done without partners from a wide variety of fields such as historians, ecologists, naturalists, foresters as well as local knowledge keepers who bring their insight to the process. To write this book, Meador worked closely with Mark Twery of the US Forest Service, who provided the science learning content in each chapter, and Jessica Nickelsen and Samantha Dean, who provided National Science Education Standards correlations for each chapter. Meador says: “Working with Mark Twery and the US Forest Service over the years to bring this program to life and bring this book into existence has expanded my own ways of thinking and working as an artist. Mark has joined us across the country for numerous MFGs and the insight he is able to offer in his writing throughout this book is invaluable.”

“I have found Moving Field Guides to be particularly effective at engaging and motivating students of all ages,” says Mark Twery. “The degree to which participants in the programs remember the content is greatly increased through the use of movement. Cassie Meador and the Dance Exchange team have produced an important contribution that will enhance educational efforts in both the environment and the arts.”

The Moving Field Guide program has expanded and gathered partners and participants across the country, from urban parks in cities like Baltimore and Boston, along rivers in D.C. and Maryland, along the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Sonoma, California, in the deserts of Arizona, and at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains. Dance Exchange has led MFGs in city centers, at botanical gardens, at national parks and in the quiet depths of forests. The artists have worked closely with the U.S. Forest Service, nature centers, schools, and community organizations to expand the MFG program to these diverse environments.

The Moving Field Guide Book Launch on November 19 at 7pm will provide opportunities to discuss the program with Cassie Meador and other DX artists and staff. The book, designed by Jenny Greer Fares (soundmindcreative.com), will be available for purchase at for $20.

About Dance Exchange

Dance Exchange is a Maryland-based non-profit arts organization committed to unearthing and exploring the questions at the center of our lives, using dance making and creative practices that engage individuals and communities of all ages. Founded in 1976 by Liz Lerman and under the artistic direction of Cassie Meador since 2011, Dance Exchange creates dances by asking four questions: Who gets to dance? Where is the dance happening? What is it about?  Why does it matter?

Dance Exchange breaks boundaries between stage and audience, theater and community, movement and language, tradition and the unexplored. DX collaborates across generations, disciplines, and communities to channel the power of performance as a convener for dialogue, a source of critical reflection, and a creative engine for thought and action. Recent and current projects include explorations of human rights, nuclear physics, ecology, human-environmental interactions, and the advancement of racial equity. Visit DanceExchange.org for more information.

About Cassie Meador

Cassie Meador is a choreographer, performer, educator, writer and Artistic Director of the Dance Exchange. Her works have tackled numerous social and environmental issues such as How To Lose a Mountain, which reflects on a 500-mile walk Meador took from Washington, DC to a mountaintop removal mining site in West Virginia to trace the impacts of the energy that fuel her home. Meador’s Moving Field Guides, an interactive experience led by artists, naturalists and regional experts in ecology, is being implemented nationwide in partnership with the USDA Forest Service. Meador has taught and created dances in communities throughout the U.S. and internationally. She has worked with the Girl Scouts to enhance environmental curricula through the arts. Her work with Wesleyan University’s College of the Environment has influenced educators and students to embrace a cross-disciplinary approach to conservation and environmental education. Born in Charleston, SC, and raised in Augusta, GA, she received her B.F.A. in dance from The Ohio State University. Meador joined Dance Exchange in 2002 and assumed the role of Artistic Director in 2011.

For interview requests and additional information about Cassie Meador’s Moving Field Guide book and programming, contact Alison Waldman, Communications Coordinator, 301-270-6700 ext 29, alisonw@danceexchange.org.

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