MusiKinesis merges music and movement (kinesis) in several ways. As a teaching tool and curriculum, MusiKinesis is a contemporary American approach to the century-old Swiss Jaques-Dalcroze method. As a publishing entity, MusiKinesis creates new materials as well as new perspectives on older works.
The term “MusiKinesis” (as well as MusiKinetics and MusiKinesthesia) was coined by Monica Dale to encompass a range of music and dance connections and work – education, performance, composition.
The daughter of duo-pianists, Dale grew up immersed in “classical” music and modern dance. Her father was a professor of music at Connecticut College at a time when the school was a major hub for modern dance innovation. The American Dance Festival took over the campus each summer, and a children’s modern dance program thrived year-round.
While studying dance in New York City and earning a B.A. in Music from Connecticut College, Dale recognized a “kinesthetic music” in movement. She then pursued Jaques-Dalcroze Education with Jack Stevenson at Ithaca College, receiving her Jaques-Dalcroze License and MM in Piano Performance. She continued a dual career in music and dance, as well as Dalcroze Eurhythmics.
As she traveled the country sharing the Dalcroze work, participants asked whether she had a book available.
MusiKinesis began with the publication of Eurhythmics for Young Children: Six Lessons for Fall in 2000. Volumes for Winter and Spring followed, and then a supplementary songbook, Songs Without Yawns. MusiKinesis also contracted with Alphonse Leduc in Paris to republish Jaques-Dalcroze’s Thirty Melodic Lessons in Solfege (Trente Leçons Melodique). In 2016, the first iBook from MusiKinesis appeared, titled 5 Magical Stories in Music and Dance. The multi-media format combines text, illustrations and built-in audio files.
As the Eurhythmics teacher at the Levine School of Music in Washington D.C., Dale began calling her classes “MusiKinesis” rather than “Dalcroze Eurhythmics” to differentiate her original work from that of other Dalcroze practitioners. Summer teacher-training classes in MusiKinesis soon followed at Levine, designed to streamline the practical uses of Dalcroze principles for optimal utility in the classroom.
The MusiKinesis website gained a broad international audience and began to disseminate free monthly newsletters. Each update introduced a new article, a teaching idea (“Try This”), and various other materials and information. Many of the teaching ideas have been republished here under “Ideas to Try.”
Dale joined forces with Jack Stevenson to co-found the Institute for Jaques-Dalcroze Education, originally at the University of Maryland, College Park. This summer teacher-training program offers Dalcroze Certification, and included the MusiKinesis curriculum in its pedagogy framework. The Institute resided for several years at the Lucy School in Middletown, Maryland, where teachers could reside in the historic farmhouse and take classes in the LEED Platinum green building. As teachers came from local areas, other states and around the world, the institute outgrewThe Lucy School’s space. It is currently operating in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Dale teaches Music for Dance and serves as Music Coordinator for the dance department of the University of Maryland in Baltimore County. During the summer, she teaches at Eastman School of Music and the Kennedy Center Summer Music Institute.
Click here to read an interview with Monica Dale at Eastman School of Music.
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