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!”
As a teacher of modern and post-modern dance technique, composition, a Somatic approach to Pilates, Fleming Technique, Yoga and other mind/body practices, I wish to meet students where they are in order to listen and guide them according to their individual needs and aspirations. Integrating rigorous movement practice, core strength and multi-directional alignment information along with improvisation, I impart a strong technical base where creative experimentation can flourish, allowing students to discover their own artistic voice in an environment that safely welcomes curiosity. In my classes, we value and attend to the complexity and multi-layered experience of dancing, including foundational principles such as sequencing, isolating, spiraling, tracking, patterning and relationship to gravity, then opening up to release and image-driven explorations.
Our paths can never be known in advance: I began my dance training in tap shoes, drinking rhythm, then making a deeper commitment as I trained in Matt Mattox technique, ballet and the repertory of Bob Fosse with Bob and Rosemary Boross, Bill Hastings and David Storey. Intrigued by modern dance, I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Dance from Skidmore College where I studied with Bill T. Jones, Garth Fagan, Mark Morris, Niles Ford, Bebe Miller, Dwight Rhoden, Kenneth Topping, Meriàn Soto, and Debra Fernandez.
For the last 15 years, I have taught an ever-evolving, image and energy-based, co-investigative approach to Modern/Post-Modern dance and Pilates . The practices I share are informed by certifications in Pilates, Yoga, Maureen Fleming Technique as well as intensive study of Josè Limòn Technique, Gyrotonic, Kundalini Yoga, Viewpoints, Gaga, Skinner Releasing Technique and Idiokinesis. I view myself as a guide, a navigator, peppering the routes my students and I take with suggestions, invitations, images to inject and reflect upon. I acknowledge that classroom time is only a fraction of one’s practice, and as a result, I find it essential to encourage the study of one’s body experientially – through movement, thoughtful language, focused touch and by watching fellow students’ demonstrations. In this way, anatomical information, useful in dance technique and in many of the modalities I teach, can be integrated directly into movement in a given moment.
There is a progressive, experimental attitude embedded in my work, yet I recognize the benefits of a rigorous physical practice that can provide a foundation for a student’s future explorations and longevity. I value my years of training with master teachers, most deeply: Bill Hastings, Maureen Fleming, Irene Dowd, Richard Rivera, Victoria Marks, Dan Froot and Alan Danielson. At times I feel like I am building bridges between old and new school, modern and post-modern, between generations.
After 12 years teaching, performing, choreographing, presenting and (always) learning in New York City, I re-located to Los Angeles and received my MFA in Dance and Choreography from UCLA’s Department of World Arts & Cultures/Dance where I currently serve as Guest Lecturer, teaching A Somatic Approach to Pilates. At the Wooden Floor (Santa Ana), a sophisticated after-school program whose mission is to “break the cycle of poverty” through dance, I currently teach Modern/Post-Modern Technique. Current artistic processes are always informing my teaching as they unfold.
We are our own greatest researchers and in the social context/community of the classroom and studio, we cannot only assist each other in our growth, but we can become the model we wish to experience in other aspects of our lives and communities. We are so fortunate to have with us at all times the complex instrument of the body. This means we have unlimited access to its mysteries and revelations as both student and teacher.
Technique and Performance / Composition / a Somatic Approach to Pilates / Fleming Elastics / Yoga / Improvisational Scores / From the Ground Up
Begging, Borrowing, Stealing / Constructing Images, Making Dances / Exquisite Corpse Dance Making / Improvisational Scores based on deeply researched Imagery / Framing Dances for the Camera, still or moving