Two-week performing arts conference brings Chinese associates to campus

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    By Kathleen Waterfall

    What started as an informal partnership between the BYU Dance Department and the Chinese National Dance Education Association, has brought 22 distinguished professors of universities and heads of conservatories to the BYU campus for a two-week conference.

    “The conference really meets BYU”s mission,” said Sara Lee Gibb, associate dean of the College of Health and Human Performance and conference organizer. “I think it”s great that we make friends around the world.”

    The College of Health and Human Performance, along with the College of Fine Arts and Communications and the McKay School of Education, sponsored the workshop that continues through Friday, Nov. 14.

    Campbell Gray, director of BYU”s Museum of Art, said the Chinese delegates came to BYU for three reasons.

    “They wanted to see how we teach art to students; music, dance and visual,” he said. “They wanted to see how we teach teachers who are going to teach art in the schools and how we market and administer the arts.”

    Gibb said conference participants have attended workshops focusing on areas such as student and child centered learning, moral dimensions of education and safe practices in training. She also said the conference participants will be visiting classes and attending performances by all of BYU”s performing groups.

    As a result of the informal partnership, 11 BYU dance faculty members have traveled to China to serve in various positions including teacher, lecturer and choreographer at 13 different Chinese schools and associations.

    According to a news release, the mission of the education workshop is to provide the most stimulating and edifying cultural and recreational experiences and improve the understanding and appreciation of the Chinese people and their arts.

    Gibb said the conference aimed to share with the Chinese people cutting edge learning and teaching theories and methodologies in the arts and the best practices in leadership here at BYU.

    “We teach students so they become more educated as a whole person and not narrowly technically trained,” Gibb said. “Their [Chinese] traditional education seems to be more formal, so they are very interested in how we teach here. We”re not telling them what to do, but just what we do and why we do it. We”re sharing practices.”

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