I have a passion for teaching and feel very strongly about bringing the best version of myself that I can to every class so that I can inspire and challenge my students to excel. My priorities as a teacher are as follows: to create a safe, fun, and disciplined learning environment, to teach anatomically sound technique, and to cultivate intelligent, individual artists as well as technicians. Perhaps most importantly, I try to instill a life long love of dance in my students.
As a teacher I place an emphasis on anatomically sound technique and proper alignment. In order to achieve this goal I employ verbal and physical corrections as well as teaching tools like anatomy text books or model skeletons. It is important to me to teach anatomically based technique in order to prevent injuries and prolong my students’ dancing careers. Understanding how the body works will give my students a deeper knowledge of dance technique and movement. By teaching my students the anatomical names for body parts I can be more specific when correcting them and enable them to use their bodies more intelligently and efficiently. With the recent studies in dance medicine and kinesiology I feel that anatomical language is becoming universal and I firmly believe that teaching my students scientific anatomical vocabulary will empower them.
I believe that dancing should be fun, and an expression of one’s personality. I try to make the classroom a safe place to take risks. I make sure to let my students know that I am open to questions and contributions. I teach dancers to make individual artistic choices and know why they are making those choices. In order to help my students make informed artistic decisions I do my best to communicate the how and the why of what I am asking them to do.
It is important to me to push each individual to work at their full potential, but also to acknowledge that everyone improves at their own pace. I have no tolerance for students who do not work to the best of their ability. When I see a student not giving their best I will take the time to ask them what's going on and encourage them to work harder. In order to help all students improve at their optimum rate I endeavor to teach to all different kinds of intelligence. For those that are more linguistically oriented I say the combination as I demonstrate it and offer verbal cues and corrections. For those that are more numerically savvy I give counts and highlight patterns within combinations. For students with musical intelligence I will ask them to try and match their quality of movement to the quality of the music. Other methods I use to try and reach all students include video taping class, pairing students so they can watch each other and give corrections, and asking them to create a story to influence how they perform the combination. It is important to me as a teacher to give each student an individual correction at least once during the class period so that they feel acknowledged and supported.
While it is my priority to create a fun learning environment, I also believe strongly in a disciplined learning environment. I was raised with a high standard of dance etiquette and because of that I was rarely embarrassed in a dance environment. It is imperative to me to impart a high standard of dance etiquette to my students so that they can be well prepared to attend auditions and master classes. If a student arrives late to class, they are instructed to ask me to join the class. I prefer it if students raise their hand before asking a question. I believe that students improve most quickly when they are held to high standards and expectations are made clear.
As an educator it is paramount for me to provide a safe, stimulating, disciplined, and fun environment for my students. I hold myself to a high standard and never ask my students to work harder than I am willing to work myself. My priorities in educating dancers are to impart anatomically sound technique, a possession of artistry, and a drive to be constantly improving and challenging the limits. I teach because it brings me joy to share my experience with others and see my students improve and grow.