I am a modern /contemporary dancer here in Atlanta, and a classical dance teacher with 20 years of training and a decade of versatile teaching experience. I have studied extensively the Royal Academy of Ballet Syllabus, through the Advance II level, and also incorporate elements of Vaganova and Bournaville methods in my teaching. I am also practised in Limón, Hawkins, and May O'Donnell modern dance techniques, all of which offer valuable work that can be blended into a powerful, inclusive curriculum. As a working practitioner, I also involve my own continuing research and experiences in the contemporary landscape, which includes classes and workshops in somatic practises, improvisational tools, and general contemporary technique.
In teaching, I use a holistic approach to lessons with a conscience adherence to correct technique to ensure lessons are safe and students learn to support their bodies with correct muscular effort and efficiency of movement.
Every student is unique and every class should be an opportunity to learn something new and discover something new about themselves and their body's movement potential. I tailor each class session to the student with their experience level and goals in mind. Each class should leave students feeling like they have accomplished something with their practice, be it pushing their range of motion, finding new muscle groups to engage or release, or inhabiting new movement through proprioceptive, or sensory understanding.
I enjoy moving and would always rather be moving than sitting behind a desk, which is sometimes necessary, but there is simply nothing more enlivening to me than dancing. I enjoy sharing the craft with students or other artists who can engage bodies and minds because in this artform there are endless discoveries to be made and work to be done.
I have taught dancers who were 70 years old and as young as 3 years old, and all students enliven when they engage with the material. What I enjoy most about teaching is sharing in a client's or student's personal progress and pushing them to work harder in the studio.
I also enjoy the improvisational aspect of teaching, because classes depend on the students' as much as the teacher and lesson plans get off track occasionally. The dynamic between teacher and student always requires spontaneity and fluidity of action & I enjoy figuring out what works best for individual learners in the moment.
Susanna is overflowing with raw talent, subtle technique, and passion for dance and choreography. She is a true artist who shares generously and kindly with those who come to learn from her. Her own joy in dance reverberates in those who move with her.
Susanna is knowledgeable about ballet and modern dance. She is a beautiful dancer!
When first working with a new student, I typically evaluate them in the studio through short class exercises and combinations to get an idea of their skill level. The movement material, of course, will vary depending on what type of dance the student is most interested in learning; however, all sessions will start with a warm-up to get the body moving, followed most likely by some floor exercises to find alignment and to wake up the correct muscles for the remaining class time, which may be more center or barre combinations followed naturally by across the floor phrases. A beginner student evaluation or first class may not include as much breadth of material as a session for an experienced student would; however, the progressive structure of the dance class would still incorporate stretching, aligning, warming up efficiently, and traveling across the floor. Depending on the needs or intentions of the student, I would assess the level they are working from and discuss the development of the class and what they can expect from me throughout their experience taking classes with me. Hopefully, by the end of their first session, each student will have something look forward to and some new knowledge gained so they may begin to start the work themselves until our next meeting.
I studied at Temple University's Department of Dance in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program dance program where I was able to study under some amazing teachers and perform in a variety of works while attending. I completed my Bachelor's of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia which also gave me impactful learning experiences with wonderful teachers.
My experiences since college have offered me opportunities to teach so many different people across all ages and backgrounds, and in such versatile circumstances that I have learned the value of teaching more than I ever expected.
My experiences have also lead me to perform and collaborate as an artist with other dancers, choreographers, musicians, and artists throughout Atlanta. I think to be a working practitioner is an invaluable part of understanding the nature of dance so I truly value being a working artist and developing myself, as well as being a teacher.
Usually, individual lessons range from 45 to 75 per class, and classes tailored to a small group of students will be charged at a lower rate per person, no more than 20 for a full hour and half to two hours if in groups of 5 or more.
The initial session for a private lesson is 40 and is an hour and 15 min.
I sort of stumbled into teaching right after college and fell in love with it. So throughout my career as an artist I have continuted to teach and it has become an incredibly rewarding and important part of my life.
I have worked with toddlers to 80 yr olds. I have taught kids in after school programs that had no initial interest in Dance & kids that worked every day, towards competitions. I have also taught my professional peers in the wider community, adults that are returning from a ten-year break, & beginning adults who want to finally take up a curiosity.
I have worked with a spectrum of people and its always a fresh experience and always rewarding in either teaching me something new about how to teach or experiencing an imparting of knowledge to someone who has just discovered its value.
I remember one incident when I was teaching in a school a group of 11 & 12 yr olds who were in that awkward phase of development like we all have experienced. One student was particularly shy and self-conscious at first but after a couple of months, I remember thinking she had opened up a bit and began enjoying herself more. One day after class she approached me and said, "Ms. Susanna you really brought me out of my shell!" with a big smile on her face. I really appreciate moments that let me know that I am making an impact on student's lives.
I would advise to caution when enrolling their child in a dance program because there are a lot of programs that although have good intentions, do not have the long term health of the child in mind. Some studios push kids to have the most flexibility or tricks to pull out and they are not necessarily teaching them how to support all that flexibility or which muscles to use, or what to look out for in preventing injury. So I would check out the classes first and determine if the kids are just being pushed for competition tricks or if they are being taught HOW to dance as well.
Adults and those seeking private instruction, I simply say give it a shot because what do you have to lose? I think private instruction is so thorough and helpful in getting whatever you need out of a dance class, that it is certainly more worth trying than not.