an ever-evolving TEACHING PHILOSOPHY
“Fill the room with yourself,” Bill Hastings used to say as we breathed deeply together.
Later, Carmen de Lavallade said, “Remove the walls!”
The practice of the art of dance has been noted for its ability to develop concentration, discipline, and a deep level of commitment that pervades student’s lives beyond the studio. As a dance and movement educator, I am interested in the rigor of student-centered, inquiry-based, collaborative learning. I wish to recognize students as intelligent, multi-faceted creators. What takes place in the classroom not only has the power to inspire artistic innovation, but to shape a student’s larger reality and journey of self-discovery. My role is that of a guide, a navigator, a sometime instigator, peppering the routes we take with rules to be played like games, suggestions, and invitations to inject and reflect upon. In my classes, there is value in attending to the complexity and multi-layered experience that is dancing. Attention to detail as it relates to the physical body, sensation, perception and form, supports the development of an awareness required for a life in dance and beyond.
As a hybrid artist born in the United States, I do not wish to create a hierarchy of techniques or styles. Beginning as a tap dancer and progressing to Matt Mattox and American vernacular jazz techniques led me to ballet, and next, a curiosity about modern dance forms including Graham, Limòn and derivatives of Horton technique. Through various choreographic processes, I was exposed to partnering, Cunningham technique and the work of Trisha Brown, release techniques including Skinner, various schools of improvisation and a continued interest in physical theatre. The ability to connect with and research on my own body has been a primary facet of my career. I want to inspire my students to become curious about their own body and perceptions, valuing their histories and the various forms and experiences that their bodies know.
In recognition of this, my pedagogic style is deeply informed by the technical and regenerative techniques of Jose Limòn, Maureen Fleming and Open Source Forms (the continuation of Skinner Releasing Technique) as taught by Stephanie Skura. The articulate and well-organized improvisational practice of Viewpoints, the poetic and impossible performance practice of Deborah Hay, the thoughtful and precise work of Irene Dowd and Idiokinesis additionally inform my teaching. Underneath, my history of tap, vernacular dance and the pop culture of my youth strangely collide with this present day, post-post-modern sensibility. I often I feel like I am building bridges between old and new school, between generations, considering how to make space for it all.
My own choreography is dance-based but transcends disciplines both through research and in its presentation. In academic settings, I have the luxury to share these additional fields of study as they pertain to dance including memory theory and postmemory, Jewish studies, Yiddish cultural history and pre-war life in the Borderlands, digital and analog film and photographic technologies, feminist lineages and history, architecture and urban planning, social justice and community engagement.
We are our own greatest researchers and in the social context/community of the classroom and studio. In addition to assisting each other in our growth, we can become the model we wish to experience in other aspects of our lives and communities. How fortunate we are to have with us at all times the complex instrument of the body and its unlimited mysteries and revelations.
Technique and Performance / Composition / a Somatic Approach to Pilates / Fleming Elastics / Yoga / Improvisation / From the Ground Up
Begging, Borrowing, Stealing / Constructing Images, Making Dances / Exquisite Corpse Dance Making / Image-based Improvisation / Framing Dances for the Still or Moving Camera