IDOCs » Amsterdam Teachers Group - Introduction
Introduction and description of the "Amsterdam Teachers Group"

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Introduction to the "Amsterdam Teachers Group"


The Amsterdam Teachers Group is a collective of professional international dance teachers living and working in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Amsterdam Teachers Group was initiated in June 2012 during the initial phase of the IDOCDE pilot program.

Each teacher is an individual member of IDOCDE. In addition to individual artistic and didactic pursuits and practices we shares a number of overlapping interests and questions. We will document our collaborative research and development under the collective IDOCDE identity of the Amsterdam Teachers Group.

Our aim with this Amsterdam Teachers Group identity is to give the IDOCDE readers a general overview of our local teachers group’s shared interests and developments.

We are committed to deepening both our local dialogue and our participation in the international IDOCDE project, and we look forward to expanding our dialogue to other IDOCDE partner city-groups.


Members  - IDOCDE “Amsterdam Teachers Group”

Roos van Berkel   (NL)
Robin Berkelmans   (NL)
Bertha Bermudez   (NL/ES)
Vivianne Rodriguez de Brito   (NL/BR)
Katharina Conradi   (NL/IT)
Hilary Blake Firestone   (NL/US)
Jack Gallagher   (NL/US)
Gaia Gonelli   (NL/IT)
Nicola Balhuizen Hepp   (NL/SE)
Michael Jahoda   (NL/US)
Keren Levi   (NL/IS)
Bruno Listopad   (NL/PR)
Barbara Meneses   (NL/ES)
John Taylor   (NL/US)
Maria Ines Villasmil   (NL/VE)


History - IDOCDE “Amsterdam Teachers Group”

In May 2012, under the auspices of ICKamsterdam, the Dutch IDOCDE partner, we were invited to participate in the research and development of the IDOCDE pilot program.

The project description was as follows:

“IDOCDE is a project designed to develop and document best practices of contemporary dance education, to improve networking among contemporary dance educators and to increase visibility of this vibrant art form.

The 2 year pilot program is a network of twelve European dance educators who will meet regularly for exchange, peer research and for the development of an online database. The aim of the online database is to become a useful tool for contemporary dance educators worldwide.

The meetings of these European dance educators and the database development will be accompanied by local workshops at each partner organisation for the benefit of regional key teachers. These workshops will result in a meeting of all 100+ key teachers at Ponderosa, Stolzenhagen (Ger) in summer 2012. The pilot program will culminate in a symposium during ImPulsTanz Vienna International Dance Festival (A) in summer 2013.”

In line with the project description we committed ourselves to the following:

1)     Attending two group meetings in Amsterdam in June 2012

  • to learn about the IDOCDE website
  • to explore new ways to create dance teaching documentation
  • to contribute new documentation to the site

2)    Attending the summer-2012 meeting of international IDOCDE partners at Ponderosa

3)    Attending the final summer-2013 meeting of international IDOCDE partners in Vienna


Formation - IDOCDE “Amsterdam Teachers Group”

During our initial IDOCDE meeting in Amsterdam in June 2012 we all agreed on the intrinsic value of peer to peer exchange with face to face meetings. We fully embraced the framework of meeting with our local peers outside of the work environment to share our teaching work and collectively investigated new ways of documenting our teaching approaches and work related queries.

As professional teachers we often receive feedback (directly or indirectly) from our students and administrators, but we seldom have the opportunity to engage in intensive,  long-term open feedback sessions with our peers and teaching colleagues.

With this in mind, and partly inspired by the multi-faceted collaborative approach of Ponderosa conference - which expected an active approach from all visiting choreographers and teachers to autonomously create the program for the week of teaching exchange, we embarked on a series of “Monthly Meeting Sessions” throughout the year to augment our original IDOCDE commitment.

We expect this exchange to further clarify the identity of our individual teaching practices, and to also increase, challenge and deepen our knowledge of movement and dance through the diverse collective of professional dance practitioners that form ATG.

We developed the following framework :

  • To meet on a regular basis - one Sunday per month - for a year.
  • Each Monthly Meeting Session would be initiated and planned by a voluntary Session Leader.
  • The Session Leader would be responsible for facilitating all aspects of the session (though free to ask for assistance whenever and wherever desired).
  • The Session Leader would be completely free to choose the focus, topic and/or question of his/her own personal interest.
  • The Session Leader would be completely free to create his/her own unique format for their session.
  • Participation of the teaching members would be on a purely voluntary basis depending on availability.

* We have thus far had 8 Monthly Meeting Sessions (as of the writing of this document on 11 March, 2013).

These sessions have varied widely in content, approach and structure; ranging from movement-based sessions to in-depth discussions about evaluation, artistry and community, to questions of  identity and methods of documentation.

*Please see our IDOC tilted Session Minutes/Notes for a detailed description.

Although our Monthly Meeting Sessions have not resulted in massive contributions to the IDOCDE website, our face to face meetings have helped us better define what it is that we, as professional teachers, could best contribute to the site and has given us more insight into what ways we could gain from the site.

There is currently a dizzying array of interesting and valuable information posted by a broad range of teachers on the IDOCDE website. As members of the Amsterdam Teachers Group we continue to have many questions about how best to utilize and how best to enrich the IDOCDE website. The democratic nature of the IDOCDE site makes it both inspiring and time consuming to navigate.

Phase 2 - IDOCDE “Amsterdam Teachers Group”
A’dam Initiative #1

The next phase of our collective dialogue runs parallel to the second phase of the IDOCDE project and is titled A’dam Initiative #1.

*Please see our IDOC tilted  A’dam Initiative #1 for a detailed description.

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