I have a distinct memory, when I was around ten years old, of when I decided I was going to dance for me. I made this decision in a recital rehearsal, on a break between running a section. I told myself, “Just do it, do what feels right, what feels you,” and immediately after that, I was encouraged by my teacher to keep exploring whatever I had just done. This teacher, Abbie Naber, was and still is my greatest inspiration. It was later when I realized that it was the artistic autonomy she gave her students that allowed me to find out what felt good and aided my practice. This initiated my belief that dance should be about the genuine internal becoming external; thus, I believe in an intrapersonal learning style, where students develop their own artistic language through learning what feels best in their body and mind, what makes them feel themselves. The things I implement in my teaching are giving students a personalized education, practicing artistic autonomy, applying other areas of study to inform student’s practices, and musicality.
1. I believe that a personalized education is necessary for genuine growth and learning.As a teacher, I make time to attend to the class as a whole but to also attend to students when I see corrections and guidance needed.
2. There is a level of support and encouragement that is vital for learning. Words of encouragement and spending the amount of time necessary to fix, modify and/or apply is worth it to me than letting a moment of, what could be, clarity, pass by.
3. I believe artistic autonomy is the most important part when creating an artist. While technique has its place, I believe in creating an environment where dancers learn why they dance, how they dance, and who they are. This is one reason why I incorporate improv and time for dancers to make artistic choices on where to place arms during combinations, what characters to play, and how put themselves out of their default mode and into untouched territory.
4. My classes involve a deep understanding of what type of musical accompaniment one is dancing too whether it’s understanding lyrics, finding the meter, associating movement to specific instruments and moods, finding the counter rhythm within the rhythm, or creating musicality to nothingness. To me, music is a driving force of movement and without music, some dance legends we have would not exist. Teaching to music that broadens and strengthens my students’ ears is my goal as a teacher because it will translate to more creativity with movement and dynamic choices.