Studio-Based Teaching Philosophy
My pedagogical approach encompasses educating dancers about their bodies in motion, addressing critical thinking about movement, and introducing the many options available within the art. It is an exploration, both physically and critically, of the individual, group, and environment to find engagement and embodiment of material that creates meaningful experiences.
I strive to educate my students on their bodies, dance history, and technique. My teaching style reflects traditional dance pedagogy in whichever style I am instructing combined with somatic-based work to build flexibility, strength, stamina, stability, and both aesthetic and spatial awareness. Through a somatic-based approach, I inform students about their tool for movement and help them feel comfortable moving in the space. By utilizing exercises that incorporate Pilates, yoga, Bartenieff, and task-based improvisation, the dancers are allowed and encouraged to discover their individual movement habits, find new parts of themselves, and take more risks in their exploration. This produces an awareness of and engagement with their bodies along with the bodies of those around them. This process begins the path towards embodiment, creating an open and trusting environment in which to work. Additionally, I include historical information on each of the techniques used within the classroom. Therefore, my teaching methodology involves movement, discussion, movies, readings, master classes, and attendance at live performances. I believe it is vital for future educators and artists to have an understanding of how movement has developed while discovering techniques that connect with them physically, intellectually, and emotionally. Further, I believe collaboration is key in developing a dancer’s craft and include collaborative projects in my approach. Working closely with others yields exploration and innovation.
I also apply critical thinking about movement to give students a deeper understanding and appreciation for the art. I use many concepts within choreutics and eukinetics to achieve this. Additionally, I push my students to think about the cultural environment, history, and expectations of dance in the space in which they are working. For example, I take students through an exercise and ask them to reflect upon their movement, considering how they moved in the space, what worked, and what could be improved. Many times I also utilize a witness to provide an outside observation. Then, I have the student repeat the exercise with the previous reflections in mind. My goal through this process is for each student to embody the material while being present in the movement, engaging others dancing alongside them, and connecting with spectators so that an exchange can take place between the three parties involved.
Finally, I aspire to inform my students of the multitude of options available to them in the world of dance. I bring options in movement to the classroom through varying styles and task-based improvisations. I have them consider the importance of technology within our art, such as dance on camera works, projection, interactive technology, lighting, music editing, video editing, and marketing materials. I educate the students on available career paths that fit their interests and goals by looking at options in concert work, commercial work, and commissioned work.
My pedagogical approach prepares students for their future, and I enjoy working with students both in groups and individually to achieve their goals. I aim for students to understand their bodies in such a way that they truly know themselves, create their own movement language, comprehend what is happening in their body at a given moment, and prevent injury as best as possible. I introduce ideas to explore, and I educate my students on the history and evolution of our craft, pushing them to take these concepts and innovate further in whichever path they choose for their future.