In 2006, I had the fortune of being introduced to David Dunbar. David is the Academic Dean and co-founder of CITYterm, a high school alternative semester program that immerses students in an experience based learning environment. Located at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, the program takes students on daily excursions to New York City to research, visit, and meet with the people and topics they are studying.
David fell in love with Swing dancing and wanted to find someone to teach it as a metaphor for collaborative team work and leadership. When David and I met we brainstormed ideas on a napkin at 71 Irving Place and after a few cups of coffee, we had a game plan. I have been working with David and the students of CITYterm every semester since then. I soon brought in Michael to fully demonstrate the partnership of the dance. We usually have 3 classes per semester with the students and it has expanded now to also include a Faculty class in the summer.
It has been a huge honor and a wonderful education for us to work with David. From his highly academic and curious perspective he has shown us ties and connections to other disciplines, helped us explore how people learn and pushed Michael and I to codify our own teaching theories.
I’d like to link you directly to David Dunbar’s blog which describes his thought process on how Swing dancing works as a great teaching technique for his students. He’s also a fantastic writer!
Please enjoy, David Dunbar’s Blog DKDK Zone
“I could not keep my eyes off of one dancer–Frankie Manning (watch this tribute video; it will make your day, I promise). He was well into his eighties at that point, but he was magical in the way he danced. But what was most fascinating was that no matter who he danced with, it was unique and distinct. And I wanted to know why that was happening.” . . . continue reading at the link below.