I believe that dance can transcend all boundaries we perceive or feebly construct, empowering individuals and transforming communities for the better; understanding that creative self-expression is key to holistic health, I aim to foster passion and growth within each student every class. Teaching dance is so much more than teaching technique. Dance cultivates resilience and self-discipline, teaches social living skills, encourages self-expression and healthy communication, and fosters confidence, creativity, and problem solving skills. My overarching philosophy for dance learning is comprised of the following four pillars:
(a) Understanding, grasping, and manipulating the elements of time, space, and energy
(b) Reflection and critical thinking skills
(c) Artistic and creative self expression; that is, being able to articulate and share ideas through movement
(d) Holistic health and the dancer challenging themselves to take risk, try new things, and push the edges of their knowledge
These pillars of dance learning are set in an environment of support and collaboration, where receiving and giving feedback is a natural process of the practice of our art. They are built on a foundation of historical and cultural context that anchors technique and movement of the present in an understanding of the world around us, as well as the world past.
As a teacher, I take a student-centered, processual approach, strongly valuing not only what, but how a student is learning. While understanding proper technique and body mechanics plays a large role in technique classes, beginning and intermediate classes I teach are not as concerned with complete mastery of material - or “drill and kill” exercises - but with what and how the student is learning, and how the student relates to the material. I strive to foster an environment where it is ok to make mistakes -- that mistakes are even preferable to playing it safe. I strongly value student questioning and exploration, as well as the student-teacher dialogue. One of the biggest strengths I bring to my teaching is the understanding that while I have a wealth of information to impart, most individuals gain deeper understanding of material through “aha” moments of self-discovery. My goal is to create a safe, supportive space for students to take charge of their own learning, and then feed knowledge into that environment. It is my job as the teacher to provide as many connections and means of learning as possible in order to bring the fullest learning experience to each individual, as well as to the class as a whole. Class is a space to workshop, to experiment, to dream, to fail, and to try again.
In both lecture and technique classes, I teach a student-centered class from a critical pedagogy, feminist, post-structuralist lens, emphasizing collaboration, self-efficacy, and experiential learning. My classes aim to nurture respect, deepen the passion, cultivate curiosity, and provide a fluid environment open to all seekers.
Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.