Dawn Dyson's first experience with folk dance was at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. That was the moment and place when she fell in love with this dance form. She responded to the community aspect of the folk style and its accessibility to people of all ages and abilities. She continued her studies at Ball State University and earned a B.S. degree in Dance Performance before becoming a performer, educator, and administrator with the AMAN Folk Ensemble.
During her 10 years with AMAN, she taught numerous student workshops in California and throughout the nation. As the Education Specialist for AMAN, Dyson constructed a curriculum handbook that focused on dances from the United States and helped facilitate the teacher training for other dancers in the company. She also restructured AMAN’s curriculum to include lesson plans implementing the California Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Standards for Dance, as well as making connections to the Language Arts and Social Science Standards.
Dawn’s experiences in dance have prepared her to become a sensitive teaching artist able to immediately engage students. She utilizes effective classroom management skills to construct a friendly, but controlled atmosphere. Through her inclusive and accessible approach, she deconstructs dances - teaching simple, easy-to-learn segments that allow students to feel comfortable and confident in their abilities to dance.
Dawn’s workshops focus on traditional (folk) dance and provide a window into cultures of various ethnic groups. Content is chosen to suit grade and class levels, curriculum needs, scheduling requirements, and a school’s specific interest. Utilizing dance and music from various regions of the world, workshops engage students in content through a myriad of choices. Topics can include cultural background and heritage, storytelling, folkcraft, improvisation, and musical instruments. Any of these, as well as the dances, can be integrated into core curriculum areas such as Social Science, Math, and Language Arts.