The Right Brain Initiative


Artist Details

Jan Abramovitz, PhD / The Vibrant Classroom


Book this artist using the Residency Request Form


Dance is the language of movement. It is a language that our students already have a vocabulary for.


Classroom Creative Movement is designed for the limited spatial constraints of the classroom. It can be used to teach content and deepen understanding on any academic subject. This artform is particularly effective at motivating and engaging kinesthetic learners.


Classroom Creative Movement uses the discipline of dance to teach students to focus and increase attention. Students are guided as they explore connections to their body, self space and stillness.  They will be immersed in collaborative and team building activities while developing problem solving and critical thinking skills. Through this program students will gain tools that they can use to prepare themselves to learn.



Join Dr. Jan “Yon” Abramovitz as he integrates the highlights of his research on kinesthetic learning with classroom tested activities from his twenty five years of teaching. Honored with both the Washington Alliance Dance Division Award as well as the Northwest Region Dance Teacher of the Year, Mr. A. (as his students typically refer to him) has introduced thousands of students and teachers both nationally and internationally to the classroom benefits of dance and movement. Currently an Associate Professor at Portland State University, Dr. Abramovitz offers fast paced workshops and residencies designed to introduce students and educate teachers on how to use movement as a vehicle for teaching the academic curriculum.










While the Vibrant Classroom philosophy is to individually design each residency in collaboration with the schools and teachers, following are some examples of residencies from this past year.


Teaching Mindfulness through Movement

One of Dr. Abramovitz’s most requested workshop series this past year combined an introduction to brain anatomy (developmentally appropriate for K-5) with hands on activities for using movement to develop focus in the classroom.   Drawing on activities from Brain Gym, Ideokinesis and Dance, Dr. Abramovitz presented a number of techniques to help students increase their attention, listening and comprehension skills. Student sessions were then followed by after school “de-brief” sessions in which  teachers learned how to develop the activities that were modeled earlier in the day.


Safe, Responsible, Respectful – Building School Community with the Movement Arts


This residency was designed for a group of teachers (K-6) who wanted to learn to use the movement arts to improve student motivation and build community at their school. Dr. Abramovitz visited each teacher’s classroom once a month for five months modeling classroom movement management and arts integration techniques. After each set of student lessons, Dr. Abramovitz led the teachers in an after-school professional development workshop exploring the movement methods that were used with the students in the classroom. During the interim month between visits, the teachers had the opportunity to design and implement their own classroom movement activities based on the monthly model.


Teaching the Six Writing Traits through Movement

In this residency, Dr. Abramovitz collaborated with a group of third grade teachers to improve their students’ skill at rewriting and revision. Prior to Dr. Abramovitz’s visit the teachers had each student write a paragraph. Then the students participated in a movement experience devoted to one of the Six Writing Traits. Following the visit, the students rewrote their paragraph with an eye toward the particular writing trait they had just studied. Particular traits that were studied were Ideas and Content, Organization, Voice, and Word Choice.


As a former classroom teacher, Dr. Abramovitz can tailor Vibrant Classroom workshops to any or all academic curricula. Recent residencies have included: teaching the 6 writing traits through movement, reinforcing vocabulary and spelling, dancing antonyms and synonyms, moving parts of speech, the shape of freedom, and geometry in action.


In his work with students, Dr. Abramovitz targets six elements that integrate the qualitative aspects of dance and movement with the dimensions of student understanding. These include:


Focus – Movement and attention share the same neurological pathways.

Collaboration – Working with others is the foundation of the choreographic process.

Metaphor – The symbolic aspects of movement are the key to curricular integration.

Technique – Embodied learning develops coordination, flexibility, sequence, memory, balance, and fitness.

Expression – A student centered approach fosters student voice and agency.

Creativity – Problem solving within choreographic structures and limits helps students learn to make aesthetic choices and decisions.


Space: Can move from classroom to classroom.

Travel: I drive, but am only available for residencies within a 15 mile radius of Portland.

Breaks longer than an hour will be charged.

Supplies needed: none

Technology: Overhead projector to display images and examples, CD player



Planning and Reflection Meetings – $80/hr

Classroom Teaching and Workshops – $95/hr

Staff Development Session – $250



Questions? Contact your Right Brain Coach.


503-225-5900 x229




Kristen Hilligas

(503) 353-5400

Concord Elementary School


Shelley Toon Hight

Education and Outreach Coordinator

(541) 490-9297

Columbia Center for the Arts

Becca Barlow

Music Teacher

(503) 916-6292

Bridlemile Elementary School

FAQ Arts