Teaching allows me to realize what I believe to be a principle responsibility of artists: to practice communicating information to a public so they can relate alternatively and effectively to society, culture, politics, psychology, and of course, one another. There are basic physical and philosophical principles that should be understood by a college-educated or professionally-practiced individual. Among these are the properties of Space–or where the body is doing, Body–or what the body is doing, Time–or How the body moves in relation to time, Dynamic–or how the body is moving, and Relationship–or with whom or what the body is moving. I also want students/participants to appreciate, value, understand and utilize technical diversity in comprehending these basic principles and to leave my classes with an increased sense of individuality for Performance. I have several objectives as an educator in addition to teaching these basic principles.
Objective 1: Leading vs Teaching
Students/Participants should know where to find the information they desire as movement artists, how to evaluate that information, and how to create for themselves the ‘technique’ they will utilize for realizing their careers. To reveal complete transparency of my practice as a teaching artist, I challenge the title alone. Could I be a ‘leading-artist’? I develop classes in which I do not ‘teach’ the how, rather I show the what and ask students to observe and hypothesize, with their own bodies, the execution. This exercise gives students the opportunity to investigate challenge and experience problem-solving. I reinforce that students in more ways than they realize are ‘teaching’ themselves to dance, I am merely leading them to the physical library that is their body.
Objective 2: Biology & Biography
Students/Participants should understand the relevance of performance to their lives. I emphasize this relevance by discussing dance as a physical training of being in the world. Our presence, how we hold ground, how we relate, and how we understand and make choices is in our biography and inherently in our biology therefore a tool to our practice. I believe by understanding what our needs are as performers in relation to our needs, habits, and resistances as individuals will help us to both perform and be effectively.
Objective 3: Class as Ritual
In two distinct parts and 4 easy steps a class for me is a ritual; a study of performance, an experience in kinesthetics and/or a stylized physical constitution whose power comes from repetition and bottomless depth. To start, I lead an improvisation and to end I develop new and extremely challenging choreographic phrases. I potentiate the body, antagonize the mind, activate the space and equip my pool of individuals with a brimming tool box of techniques to employ as they define their artistry.The improvisation has a somatic approach >> thinking about the blood, breath, bones, and skin. This develops into a landscape of extreme emotion and extreme physicality. I tailor exercises to push stamina, strength and connection to others in the room. An important and almost extinct exploration.
If you were to walk into a class of mine, it would be hot, concentrated and uplifting. I require a focus that is spiritual.
I find it necessary to find naturalistic, methodological, technical, traditional and abstract ways to potentiate the body .<something for each body> for me this means brining the body to a level of openness, groundedness and malleability so that the body is ready for anything and everything.Next, push and pull at the function of movement, the importance of alignment, like architecture and engineering, our bodies are science and physics combined. But what if we were animals, what if we were just energy, what if we did not rely on gravity. Class is a moment to consider any option we can think of. I have a passion to locate within each individual the acorn of will that has brought them to dance, and to light it on fire. I want dancers to get beyond the edges of their skin as a metaphor for getting beyond the edges of their dreams and of our industry. I dare students to leave my class unprepared.
Objective 4: This Class is a Performance
We are always performing, and by treating the classroom like a performance, students are gaining the experience necessary to become professionally practiced dancers. Class is a place to push boundaries, to make mistakes in the playing field and discover recovery. Class is a place where we temper our whole selves to be technically prepared, physically ables and willfully ready for anything. All the worlds a stage, even the classroom. I believe that I have developed an effective philosophy of teaching that students and participants respect, value and understand. I am transparent with them and I treat them like the individuals that they are. I dare not fit them into any archetypes. I push them, for stamina in any field in important both a physical and mental stamina and capacity. My dedication is to build an equipped dancer. One with options to design their own understanding and contribution. This is the field.