I am Rebecca R Burrill, Ed.D–dancer, artist, movement-based child developmentalist, and educator. I have a Doctorate in Education focusing on brain evolution, child development, movement, art-making, learning, and literacy. My Masters work focused on creative process and dance. I am Massachusetts Certified Elementary Educator (1987-2019) and Professional Development Provider. I am a trained Observer and Notator of movement-language in the Kestenberg Movement Dance Therapy System. I have trained in the mind-body integrative and repatterning systems of Educational Kinesiology and Rhythmic Movement Training.
My work is based on the experience that learning is fundamentally a creative process, and that aesthetic sense is primary in the
development of self, intelligence, and wellbeing.
I trace the evolution of human intelligence back to primal
people’s relationship with Nature, a relationship that was
instrumental in the development of language and art. With these understandings I seek to renew human engagement with the primary creative intelligences of movement, sound, feeling, imagination, and ecological conscious and their natural healing and developmental capacities.
Links to Selected Publications and Documentaries
Honoring Nature: An Anthology of Authors and Artists Festival Writers: “The Ember”. This short narrative describes a dance/poetry artist residency experience (see Dancing the Dunes below) of intercommunication with Nature as a kinship consciousness that can be a renewing ember for the persuasive ecocide of our times.
Mother Pelican: A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability: “Ecocentric Languaging: Animism, persons, and the aesthetics of primary perception”. This essay looks at the primacy of aesthetic perception in human relationship with nature.
The Ecological Citizen: “Ecocentric languaging: Persons, art and education”. This essay explores an understanding of an animate world view, based on a drawing by a six your old child, by looking at relationships between movement-based languaging both evolutionary and developmental, aesthetic perception, and approaches in ecocentric education.
Minding Nature/City Creatures’ Blog: Languages of Nature, Languages of Art®. This essay describes Rebecca’s movement-based arts and kinship with Nature workshop, taking place over a two-week period at Frick Environmental Center, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, where participants are lead to engage movement/dance to express interconnection—kinship—between the living world, in utero language beginnings, and movement as a language and art form.
Minding Nature: “Moves Sound and Sounds Move: Introduction to the Re-enchantment of Learning”. This essay explores, from beginning in utero, the psychobiological organizing principles of movement and sound underlying human perception, development, and intelligence. This pathway leads through the primacy of aesthetics in meaning making, languaging, and human relationship with Nature, to understanding the evolutionary context for the most humane child rearing and educational practices for developing compassionate, emotionally mature human relations, and ecological sensibility and responsibility.
Minding Nature: “Dancing Our Kinship with Animate Earth”. This essay gives an in-depth look at natural place and its inherent languaging through interweaving childhood Nature relationship with character and history of place, and a middle school movement-based arts and ecology project. The primacy of non-verbal languaging and its aesthetic and ecological quality, beginning in utero, is clarified as the essence of natural learning vs. skills based school learning.
All Your Making: Outer Cape choreographic artist, educator and scholar Rebecca R. Burrill has been writing poetry since 1969. Now, in 2016, YIP( Yonkers International Press) is thrilled to present All Your Making, the long overdue debut collection of Burrill’s poems. With gorgeous effort, and stunning natural intuition Burrill offers her reader a full-bodied immersion into both the natural environs of Cape Cod and the life she has lived there.
Excerpts of these poems, illustrated by the author, are published in The Ecological Citizen, Vol 2, No 2, 2019
IAE Newsletter: “Joy and Satisfaction in Natural Learning: Creative Improvisational
Explorations” (scroll down). This essay locates the joy of learning in its creative, improvisational aspect, explored through a dance-based arts and Nature project. Dancing place conjures the inherent aesthetics of non-verbal languaging, a quality of human intelligence that evolved in relationship with the natural world. These tenets are basis for arguing that the play of improvisational exploration is primary in supporting natural learning processes vs skilled based institutional learning.
Wood and Arts Project: a video documentary concerning the honoring of cut trees at an historical landscape restoration. The intent, through art, is to express empathetic human relationship with Nature. The project was a collaboration with The Cape Cod National Seashore, The Cape Cod Light House Charter School, a local wood artist, and local dancer/educator–Rebecca R Burrill–videographer, producer, director and editor.
Dancing the Dunes: a video documentary of a solo performance of story, poetry and dance about a two week artist-in-residency in a rustic dune shack and immersion in the sensory communications of the natural surround. Author, dancer, producer, director and editor Rebecca R Burrill.
The American Journal of Dance Therapy: “Movement, Art, and Child Development Through the Lens of an Innovative Use of The Kestenberg Movement Profile”. This article is an introduction to a doctoral dissertation study, using a psychobiological movement assessment tool, to give insight into the effects of the parameters of classroom activities on the development of children in a public pre-school. Analysis of data sought to uncover significant patterns in regressive and defensive feelings, attitudes, and behaviors vs. creative learning of the children studied.
Teaching Artist Journal: “The Primacy of Movement in Art-Making”.
Teaching Artist Journal: “Natural Biology vs. Cultural Structures: Art and Child Development in Education”.
Photo credits: Caroline Bartlett; Barbara Cole Kirk, Respectively