Teaching Artists Directory

Artists in residence
         directory of teaching artists: PAUL ZMOLEK
  Paul Zmolek has been a professional Dance artist/educator for 30 years. He earned an MFA in Dance, an MA in Interdisciplinary Creative Dance and a BS in Physical Education with an emphasis in Educational Dance. Paul was an artist-in-schools for 12 years in the San Francisco Bay Area while performing as a member with Tandy Beal & Company, San Francisco Moving Company, June Watanabe Dance Company and Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company. He has trained hundreds of emerging and active educators in Creative Dance pedagogy as faculty at various universities and offering workshops through professional Dance and Arts education organizations.

Highlights of Paul’s performing career include creating the title roles for the world premiere of four Frank Zappa ballets and performing in seminal works by Paul Taylor and Anna Sokolow. His acting career included performing in original works at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre and as a founding member/choreographer of Theater/Group. As Performance Director for internationally renowned Master Preguica’s Omulu Capoeira Group, Zmolek collaborated with masters of Capoeira, Maculele, Flamenco, Kathak, Taiko and Congolese Dance to create contemporary choreographic works based in traditional cultural forms.

Formerly owner/director of Barefoot Studios in Washington, his outstanding efforts in community outreach and creative work were honored by awards from both the Tacoma and Pierce County Arts Commissions. Currently on faculty in Theatre and Dance at Idaho State University, Paul’s creative output is focused upon original text/movement/sound physical theatre works for his Callous Physical Theatre. His collaborative process expands upon the curriculum based, concept driven experiential learning model that he teaches teachers to use and is utilized for his school residencies.

Describe a transformative process that has occurred in your own practice as an artist or in a past residency as a teaching artist.
In a San Francisco elementary school the fourth grade teacher told me that a young boy was going to be a felon, as he lived in the Projects and his older brother was in jail for selling crack cocaine. The boy was disruptive throughout my residency until I assigned him the responsibility of line leader for the choreography the class was preparing. Suddenly there was a complete change in his behavior. He took pride in doing a good job and ensuring that all the members of his line were excelling. This troubled youth who was sullen, non-talkative, and disruptive became joyful in his newfound respect and responsibility.

Each of my classes has a culminating creative project where students create works based in the concepts that they have explored throughout the class. I recognize learning by the students’ successful application of those concepts towards the creation of their own works.

What excites your imagination and in turn how does your work excite imagination for your audience?
I am most excited by the process, both in teaching and in creating works, that goes beyond my original concept and, through engaging my students/collaborators in the process, becomes something far greater than any of us would create on our own. With performance works I strive for entertainment that has a transformative impact upon the performers and the audience.

What characteristics mark a successful collaboration for you?
Successful collaboration requires open communication and complete respect for the participants. The sign of a truly successful collaboration is that no collaborator can really claim sole ownership to any aspect of the product.

How do you foster creativity, both in your own work and as a teaching artist?
Creativity is the process of solving problems. Fostering creativity requires providing the participants with the tools to solve the problem, providing a clear rubric for solving the problem and creating a safe environment for risk-taking.

List three key understandings of your discipline.
My teaching is informed by the key understandings of Dance as outlined by the National Standards for Dance Education:
1. Artistic perception: Learning and demonstrating the skill and craft of dance
2. Creative Expression: Understanding dance as a way of creating and communicating meaning
3. Historical and Cultural Context: Understanding dance as cultural and historical phenomenon

List three outcomes of the three key understandings.
Specific outcomes are based upon grade levels, however:
1. All ages will learn the Elements of Movement (body, space, time, energy) and be able to create movement sequences that demonstrate a clear understanding of the various aspects of each of the elements. Older students will be able to organize these sequences through choreographic forms to create complete dances.
2. Students will utilize these Elements of Movement with concepts derived from their regular curriculum to create movement that abstracts ideas from their other subject materials.
3. Students will be able identify and articulate how these concepts are utilized in movement created by their classmates.

List three Idaho Humanities Content Standards that correlate with each of the key understandings you have identified above.

Goal 3.3: Communicate in dance through creative expression.
a) Improvise or create choreography based on how the body can create shapes, change levels, and move through pathways and in space at various speeds.
b) Create a variety of solutions to a movement problem with a partner or a group.

Standard 2: Critical Thinking
Goal 2.1: Conduct analyses in dance.
a) Discuss and show how dance creates and communicates meaning.
b) Speculate and experiment with how different artistic choices can change the meaning of a dance.

Standard 1: Historical and Cultural Contexts
Goal 1.1: Discuss historical and cultural contexts of dance and perform examples.
a) Research and perform dance forms that have evolved during specific periods of history (e.g., social, cultural, professional).
b) Explain how a dance from a culture or time period reflects values of its society.
c) Identify ways in which dance has been transmitted from one generation to another.

List vocabulary words that specifically relate to your discipline.
Body – Alignment, Visceral, Distal, Sequential, Block-like
Movement - Locomotor, Non-Locomotor, Axial, Gestural, Postural
Space – Shape, Level, Relationship, Path, Direction
Time – Accent, Metric, Non-Metric, Duration, Rhythm, Tempo
Energy – Percussive, Sustained, Vibratory, Suspension, Collapse, Swing, Free, Bound, Direct, Indirect, Strong, Light
Form – canon, rondo, ABA, suite, narrative palindrome, aleatoric

List some subject areas outside of the fine arts that relate to your potential residency work.
My residencies are designed to work directly with subject areas that the students are currently working with. It is possible to work directly with any and all subjects. Three examples:

Math - A math dance can utilize the shapes of numbers to create pathways for locomotion or gesture and/or the shape of the body/group in space while the actual number may denote the number of times a movement/shape is repeated or the duration or rhythm of the movement. The algebraic function of the equation may be used to create the structure of the movement phrase so that the dance creates a movement phrase that is analogous to the equation.

Language Arts – A poem may be explored for its rhythm. The words with rich imagery are identified and tied to Elements of movement to create dance phrases that abstract the poetry into movement. This dance derived from the poetry is performed as the poem is performed, creating a fully embodied poem.

Social Studies – Students learn the four functions of movement (social display, work, war & contest, worship). They draw an imagined island, identify the geographic and climatic conditions and from this imagine a pre-industrial society. From this they identify the cultural mores of the society regarding social display, work, war & contest, worship.  Utilizing the elements of movement they create ritual dances from this imagined culture.


Idaho State University

Randy Earles, Professor of Music, Associate Dean for Fine Arts & Humanities
College of Arts & Letters
Idaho State University
921 S. 8th Ave., Stop 8006
Pocatello, ID 83209-8006
(208) 282-3636

Chad Gross, Associate Professor, Technical Director, Interim Co-chair (2008-2009)
Department of Theatre and Dance
Idaho State University
921 S. 8th Ave., Stop 8006
Pocatello, ID 83209-8006
(208) 282-2814

Joséphine A. Garibaldi, Assistant Professor, Director of Dance
Co-artistic Director Callous Physical Theatre
Department of Theatre and Dance
Idaho State University
921 S. 8th Ave., Stop 8006
Pocatello, ID 83209-8006
(208) 282-6143

Southeast Missouri State University

Robert Fruehwald, Professor, Department of Music
Southeast Missouri State University
1 University Plaza
Cape Girardeau, MO
(573) 651-2337

Luther College

Nick Gomersall, Professor of Economics
Luther College
Decorah, IA
(563) 387-1133

Paul Zmolek
Discipline: Dance

Phone: (208) 233-2494

Email: pjzmolek@yahoo.com

Website: www.isu.edu/~zmolpaul

Special Populations I work with: This methodology works with all populations. I have experience working with deaf children as well as students with various physical and intellectual disabilities, including autism, ADHD, and cerebral palsy. I have extensive experience with at-risk populations.

Paul Zmolek

Idaho Commission on the Arts- Teaching Artists Directory

Phone: 208/334-2119 or 800/278-3863 Fax: 208/334-2488
Mailing address: P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0008
Street address: 2410 North Old Penitentiary Rd., Boise, ID 83712