Recognition of the creativity and special strengths of each student is central to my teaching philosophy. Engaging students through the power of dance, I assist students in becoming their own best teachers. I see my role as increasing each student’s agency to engage with the world, and encouraging them to become artists and leaders in their own right.
From the first icebreaker to the final exam, I use diverse, multisensory methods to involve students and encourage their self-expression. I weave a central theme through each dance technique class, and subtly vary the modes and intensities of movement in order to align the students’ skeletons and enhance their muscular control. Regardless of the technique I am teaching, I encourage dance students to attune their senses to their inner experience and view the whole body as an instrument. Through my years of teaching, I have learned to strike a balance between the goals of technical mastery and the development of a personal artistic statement.
A climate of respect, trust, and firm leadership aids students in developing internal focus and motivation. I am conscious of building relationships with my students as allies who are reaching toward a common set of goals. In the dance laboratory, I encourage students to play their own edge by emphasizing discovery rather than a linear progression of skills. When they are faced with a challenge, I employ classroom methods such as problem posing through movement studies that will offer them opportunities for reflection and peer support. I strive to keep a positive perspective by rewarding students’ efforts and guiding them toward experiences that not only strengthen their bodies, but enlighten their minds and charge their hearts.
The memories of lessons from my own teachers continue to inspire me. By continually exploring the limits and possibilities of my own dance practice, I am better able to anticipate students’ needs. As I mentor students, I recognize that I am preparing them for the beautiful and varied lives they will lead.