Dance is a universal language; one that can be understood and interpreted in an infinite number of ways by a wide spectrum of enthusiasts. It is what ultimately intrigues me about the art form. As a student, I trained in the Russian and Danish methods of classical ballet, but was also exposed and was ultimately inspired by the unique dimensions and aesthetic of George Balanchine. My mentors at the School of American Ballet, my formal education at Cornish and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, my professional experiences with a wide variety of artists in Seattle and abroad, have motivated, created and molded my own teaching philosophy. It is one that encompasses a somatic approach, embracing the body and mind as a whole. Not every student responds to one method of communication, therefore it is imperative to examine and implement current teaching practices. The use of props such as straps, Therabands, or balls and imagery as tools, aid in creating innovative and forward-thinking ways of expressing dance through experiential learning. The richest educative experiences happen where I create a classroom atmosphere of reciprocity and trust.
A dance artist’s technical mastery must be viewed through the lens of each dancer’s anatomical individuality and the quest for longevity. Students must find within themselves the desire to work beyond their previous conceptions of personal achievements, pushing themselves outside of their comfort zones with a challenging, rhythmic and dynamic use of classical vocabulary. I encourage my students to better understand their movement patterns and habitual tendencies without judgment or criticism and proudly embrace their accomplishments. It is satisfying to witness the value student’s feel when they accomplish a new goal. It is imperative that each student gets personal feedback, and I stress the idea that everyone can benefit from all corrections.
My method of communicating the exercises both physically and verbally with attention to detail creates a clear example of my expectations and objectives. Enabled by the spirit of inquiry, a thoughtful teacher, and daring classmates, students ultimately learn to trust themselves. I strive to be a vividly motivated teacher who encompasses all that came before me. In doing so, I inspire my students to excel in dance, and hope that one or more will to know, love, and share my passion, carrying this mentoring spirit forward.
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