Create Now: Dancing with Roxanne Nielsen

Artist Bio

Roxanne is the new Executive Director of Pacific Ballroom Dance.  She served as the Resident Choreographer and Director of Education and Outreach for the Omaha Community Playhouse for many years and was the Executive Director of The ARTery (now Arts in Motion). She trained as a Teaching Artist for the National Dance Institute, founded by Jacques d’Amboise, and is a Teaching Artist on the Nebraska Arts Council roster. She completed Dancing Classrooms Teaching Artist Training with founder Pierre Dulaine in 2010 and went on to complete Senior Teaching Artist Training in 2012. Roxanne has taught in many programs and has choreographed numerous productions.


Artist Q&A

1. Briefly describe your normal studio practice and work as a teaching artist.

My work as a Teaching Artist has provided me with many opportunities to work with many different people. I have trained as a Teaching Artist with the National Dance Institute, Dancing Classrooms and am currently working on my certification for Dance for PD. I have taught all types and ages of people and continue to learn from everyone I get the chance to work with!

2. How has sharing your work with students, teachers, and other artists shifted?

Over the years, my work has changed from being very hands-on, in the “trenches” to more of a training role for other teaching artists. Now that we are all teaching virtually, I am working along with other instructors to figure out how we best can do that.

3. If your activities incorporate educational learning standards, whether formal or informal, please discuss them.

As a Dancing Classrooms Teaching Artist, it is extremely important that we incorporate educational standards in our residencies since they are taught during the school day. When I was a dance teacher at South High School, I had the opportunity to begin the process of creating informal standards. I also had the great experience of working on the Fine Arts Standards for Dance for the Nebraska Department of Education.

4. Are there follow-up activities beyond the one you are presenting?

I would encourage any participant in my activity to continue to create dances or to share with friends/family, etc. the process.

5. What is your favorite non-art activity that inspires you?

My favorite non-art activity is reading and cooking although I think those are both art forms. I also like to exercise!

6. List an artist(s) that you look to for inspiration and explain why.

There are quite a few but my heroes are Pierre Dulaine (founder of Dancing Classrooms) and Jacques d’Amboise (founder of National Dance Institute). Those two people showed me how dance/movement can change anyone’s life for the better. They also had a profound influence on how I teach. I also am inspired by music, art and the dance trailblazers of the past.


Video Outline

Roxanne Nielsen “Your Dance About You” Outline

I. Introduce myself with a very short background

II. Introduce briefly what the lesson is about: a. Create a dance about you b. Use suggested questions to generate ideas / show poster with suggested questions c. Use gestures to describe the ideas

III. Describe the elements of dance/movement a. Show the posters of dance elements

IV. Describe what questions I have decided to use and show the movement answers

V. Put all movements together to demonstrate “my dance” VI. Demonstrate another version of the dance with music

VII. Encourage viewers to create their own dance and if desired, video it and post it on Facebook, tagging NAC

VIII. Thank all involved!