Dance movement coupled with scholarly investigation and research can bring about better
productivity, creativity, efficiency, and alternative ways of moving and existing in the world to
enhance the longevity and enjoyment of life. By mentoring and revealing choices within the
body, it can empower the student to see his/her options as a dancer and as an active citizen
within a community. Thus, my desires and aims as an educator are to propel my students to
understand choice making and art making so they ultimately realize their agency in designing
their career and artistic life’s path in an ever-changing arts field.
To achieve such outcomes, I try to foster within my studio practices a great sense of
urgency with regards to inquiry and learning. Regardless of dance genre or technical level, I like to propose a research question that we will investigate throughout the course. Through rigorous physical inquiry, the students investigate the question within their unique body heritage. This allows an organic and evolutionary approach that stems from the students’ physical and personal embodiment, which in turn assists them to find and clarify their movement choices.
The questions are broad in scope to allow the students to explore various facets (somatic,
kinesiological, and artistic) within their inquiry. Questions we may explore include the
following: what is technique? Where is flow? What is virtuosity?
To work through such questions, I try to push the body to its limits so that the polarity of
extremity can be explored to open up choice making. This often results in practicing an overexaggeration of the movement to help clarify the range of motion, which in turn fosters the
greatest risk taking. I believe in safety and risk-taking, again two polarities on a spectrum that
seem incompatible but by practicing and acknowledging both, it opens the liminal space and
possibility between them. We further address the chaos of opposites such as the Laban effort
spectrum, antagonistic muscle pairs, and aesthetic preferences, among others, in studio practices.
However, to experience chaos there must be order. Thus, I value functional technique as
requisite for a student to excel in the dance field of his/her preference. I therefore strive to initiate a class that builds on muscular strength, cardiovascular stamina, and flexibility, and then construct on the nuances of subtlety, connectivity, play, and artistry.
My eclectic training in ballet, classical modern dance, contemporary movement, hip hop,
gymnastics, and sports has led me to search for foundational principles that can aid each
students’ proficiency as a mover and a director. This has led me to create a teaching recipe based on Bartenieff fundamental, Alexander technique, experiential anatomy, and structured
improvisation combined with athleticism and a hint of abandonment. As I have combed through my own dance history, I have found this base creates a foundation that can be successfully applied to various performative arts and lifestyles.
I am, however, a contemporary artist and teacher; I am constantly in flux and challenging myself on new ways to teach and be. I find each course I teach shifts my paradigm as new research surfaces both within studio practice and the scholarly field.
While we investigate our movement history, idiosyncrasies, and cultural preferences, my
ultimate goal, as an instructor is to help my students develop a thinking body: a body that is full of endless choices; a body that is empowered.