teaching philosophy

    In teaching I am committed to cultivating a reflective environment in which students are encouraged to practice self-awareness and rigor.   For me, dance class is a collective space in which risk-taking and experimentation can be pursued without fear of judgement.. I believe that we are each our own primary teacher, but that we need the guidance and support of others, including teachers, facilitators, and peers, in order to build trust in what we know, recognize what we don’t know, and receive support in clarifying and building towards our own movement values and goals. I revere the collective of the classroom as a space in which all present have something distinct to offer and something distinct to discover.

      In my classes I include somatic/anatomically based meditations and visualizations, improvisational scores, and technical phrase material, all with the intention of mining our anatomy, physiology, and imagination for their poetics, nuance of sensation, and expressive possibility. Phrase material is usually rooted in physical problem solving, and all exercises are intended as laboratories for individual and collective investigation. I encourage students to follow their curiosities, explore their agency and decision-making facilities within both open-ended prompts as well as structured/choreographed material. I ask students to consider when and how they may be putting unnecessary constraints on their dancing and their interpretations of class offerings, and to reflect on what they need to move toward taking greater freedoms, and using class offerings as a vehicle to pursue their own interests and values. Peer to peer observation and communication are encouraged as means for students to share perspectives, as well as to build a community in which students feel comfortable taking risks. 

     By challenging the notion of a mind/body dichotomy, I aim to investigate with students the notion that imagination and cognition are physical and sensory phenomena which affect, and are embodied within, the acts of dancing. I am interested in the notion of physical ‘habit’ as one of many possible frames through which to discuss the present impact of our individual movement histories. I aim to support students in simultaneously embracing and challenging their habitual patterns (anatomical/postural patterns, improvisational patterns, compositional patterns, etc.). I believe the residue of our movement histories, as it shows up in our dancing via conscious choice-making and unconscious habitual patterning, provides a rich opportunity for dancers to reflect on the physical-emotional-expressive values they seek. I am interested in facilitating both a space in which students can holistically draw on their histories as physical research, and a dialogue amongst movers in which they can recognize the awkward, the transcendent, the plain, and the elaborate, as related states and textures of equal value. In my teaching as well as other aspects of my creative practice, I am interested in how we can deconstruct what we know, allow ourselves to be productively lost, and move through stages of ambiguity in order to ultimately access and build new experiences out of both familiar and unfamiliar elements.