When Cultures Coalesce: Arts Integration and Culturally Aware Educational Westernization 

Practical participatory workshop and presentation by Denise Purvis - Assistant Professor of Dance at Southern Utah University (USA).  

Denise Purvis is Assistant Professor of Dance at Southern Utah University, where she teaches ballet, modern, jazz and tap technique, composition, dance history, creative dance for children, and K-12 methods. Prior to joining SUU, she designed and directed the dance program for the Chesterfield County Specialty Center for the Arts at Thomas Dale High School in Chester, VA.  From 2008 until 2012, Purvis danced with Starr Foster Dance Project in Richmond, VA, and she has consistently worked with various free-lance choreographers since 1999. Purvis holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance/Choreography from the State University and is certified in the Bill Evans method. 


Denise Purvis has worked with schools in the Guatemala highlands over the past two years, integrating the arts with math, English, Spanish and social studies. This workshop presentation explores the unique challenges offered through working within a system focused on participating in the Western world market, while preserving cultural heritage. Though the highlands schools are highly interested in Western instruction, they also work diligently to honor Maya Cosmology. History teaches that Westernization tends to marginalize traditional arts and value systems, thus Purvis must be vigilant in ensuring cultural respect when sharing current pedagogic methods. In this presentation, she will share both successful and culturally responsible methods, as well as some challenges she has yet to solve. 

Denise Purvis will share her experiences through discussion and movement activities. She will then open the floor to participants to allow for questions and idea exchange.   

Organized by IUGTE in collaboration with "ArtUniverse"