My pedagogy is rooted in two core beliefs: that dance is an ecological practice involving internal experiences that foster external connections, and that each student desires to be seen for their individual humanity. Movement is a study in relationships, so I invite my students to consider the multiplicity of ways in which their bodies can relate: to themselves, to gravity, to nature, to their personal histories, to the way dance techniques arrive and develop in their bodies, to critical thinking, to current events, and to the other bodies, histories, stories, and techniques present in the class. Through this line of inquiry, my students hone their abilities to think critically, actively organize themselves anatomically and well as socio-culturally, and inhabit their moving bodies with clarity, agency, and joy.
My teaching is highly influenced by my history as a modern, contemporary, and ballet dancer, my work as a certified Alexander Technique teacher, and my role as a mother. I also offer experience in Contact Improvisation, foundational Aerial work, Bartenieff Fundamentals, Feldenkrais Technique, and Ideokinesis. I bring the accumulation of my lived experiences within these techniques to my pedagogy. A strong work ethic is fundamental to the way in which I live and consequently how I teach. I expect attention, curiosity, a willingness to get messy, and an exploratory attitude from my students. But my teaching is also rooted in a deep love of what I do and for my students. I arrive on the first day of class with love for each student and their individual journeys and abilities-my love for each student will not grow nor diminish, so they are released from the idea that their worth is tied up in their previous experience or their class performance. By teaching from an outwardly stated foundation of love, I have seen my students open to approaching dance techniques and choreography with a greater sense of curiosity and with a willingness to learn and un-learn well-known dance forms from a somatic, experiential place. This pedagogical philosophy also serves to create a classroom environment where difference is celebrated, where agency is cultivated, and where larger global-artist-citizen identities are born.
If dance arts and artists are going to survive and thrive in these fraught, changing times, then dance taught as an ecological study is one method of survival. I engage all my classes through a social somatics perspective, connecting the internal with the external. Social somatics and embodied anatomy offer students tools for living inside of their dancing — this impacts how people move through every aspect of their lives. Through somatics, students find support for self/collective wellbeing, mindfulness, humanity, outstanding physical specificity, and clear individual artistry. Understanding body systems and dominant social systems, in relationship with one another and perceptions of self, broadens options to create choice and longevity.
As much as I enjoy offering my collective experience to my classrooms, teaching is rarely about me as the bearer of knowledge. I am a lifelong learner, and my experiences have shown me how much I have to gain by staying open to the singularity that is each student who walks into my classroom. I am there to guide and be guided, to learn and reap as much as I give and sow. My responsibility lies in creating an environment that allows my students to discover for themselves their own internal to external relations, to make discoveries for themselves, and to achieve a point of self-mastery consistent with their future dance goals. I am there to offer multiple points of entry, so that each individual may then encounter the joy and power present in the moving body, both as an individual and as an organism.