Project Imagine Dance

A Program Designed to Support K-8 Dance Instructors

Funded in part by Arts Action Fund at Arts Connect Houston 

Open Dance Project’s NEW multi-tiered program designed in consultation with HISD’s Dance Specialist Sanja Korman supports new HISD dance teachers in curriculum planning and classroom management through a six week residency program that includes: professional development; curriculum, lesson plan and resource sharing; and mentoring/modeling in the classroom. 

This program includes:

  1. Dance Teacher attendance at “Building on the Basics,” a three-hour professional development workshop led by ODP Artistic Director, Annie Arnoult, focused on curriculum, class structure, and practical, repeatable tools and techniques to help make the most of a K-5 dance class.  (photo to right: Feb. 2023- HISD Dance Teachers in Professional Development Workshop with ODP Teaching Artists)
  2.  A 6-week residency in your school dance program led by a team of two ODP artist teachers teaching two dance classes a day, twice a week. This artist residency program will demonstrate in action the curriculum, class structure, and classroom management techniques outlined in Arnoult’s PD workshop. By witnessing/participating in the ODP-guest-artist-led classes, your dance teacher will have a lived experience of ODP’s approach to dance education and will build practical experience and confidence in the tools and techniques the ODP artists use in the classroom. 
  3. Residency students attend Open Dance Project matinee performance or watch free live stream of Open Dance Project’s Production of ALICE February 2024 at MATCH Theaters.

 The program is designed to provide teachers a practical and embodied understanding of how to train the physical and aesthetic potential of the body in space, time, and energy. 

The goals of the program are:

  • To introduce and define contemporary dance vocabulary and composition tools that participating teachers can use in the context of student engagement activities.
  • To engage teachers in the practical application of the strategies and concepts learned through the PD workshop in diverse teaching environments within their school through the shadowing of ODP guest artist teachers during their 6-week guest artist residency.
  • To make overt connections for the teachers between the “Building on the Basics” PD Workshop, the ODP guest artist led classes, and Elementary Fine Arts TEKS, SEL Competencies, and Fine Arts Goals.

In the absence of Elementary School TEKS for Dance, this program aligns directly with HISD K-5 Dance Standards, which are in turn closely aligned with National Dance Standards. This program specifically addresses HISD’s desires (as articulated in Houston ISD Fine Arts Plan) for dance experiences in elementary education that give students opportunities to:

  • Learn fundamental locomotor skills
  • Create simple short dance phrases
  • Explore rhythm and music
  • Improvise movement phrases
  • Communicate nonverbally
  • Manipulate movement through the elements of dance

The program addresses each of the following K-12 Dance Standards TEKS:

  • Foundations: Perception
  • Creative Expression: Artistic Process
  • Creative Expression: Performance
  • Historical and Cultural Relevance
  • Critical Evaluation and Response

Open Dance Project is uniquely positioned to implement this program as Artistic Director Annie Arnoult has been training students and teachers in ODP’s collaborative approach to interdisciplinary performance development for over 15 years, primarily to underserved and under resourced school communities in Houston and in Chicago through ODP’s sister company Striding Lion Performance Group. ODP has served as a significant contributor to arts equity in Houston. Through its partnerships with Young Audiences, Arts Connect, the Houston Arts Access Initiative, the Arts for Learning Lab at University of Houston, Shriner’s Hospital, Memorial Hermann and KIPP Houston.  

Contact ODP Managing Director Elissa Turner,