Thoughts on Teaching
Teaching is a collection of insights and research women together through the lens of experiential learning. It is from this platform that I design and share my perspective of the dance field through the “sensationlization” of technique, craft and pedagogy; Learning through the conscious connection of sensation rather than imitation rote learning.
Currently I am teaching by asking questions of myself and of my students about their bodies and their understanding of the physical sensations and conscious connections they are having in fulfilling moments and technical challenges. Some of the questions I am asking of myself are: What is what we have been taught is not the complete picture of how it all is supposed to happen? What if the physicality we currently understand is not in fact functional or supportive of exponential growth and development? What if there is so much more than we physically understand in how we access energy and space within our bodies? In asking these questions I am encouraging the students to begin an internal exploration of the individual physicality in order to map technical functionality and efficiency. In doing so the learner is able to take responsibility of their physical tool, training and education by empowering an engagement that is necessary for elite professional training in our field.
Asking questions and allowing time for reflection within the process of teaching technique is highly effective in seeing each other as individuals and accepting each and every students as unique individuals with their specific needs and perspectives being addressed and cared for. In terms of diversity within the classroom, seeing my students for who they are and welcoming their voice within the process helps to support and foster an environment of inclusion and empowerment. I am tremendously proud of the way in which my students are able to go within to honestly see themselves and their colleagues for who they are not what the expectation is that is outside of themselves or their experience.
This is the very core of how I approach teaching choreography. We need to embrace the creative process through deeper research into compositional and choreographic tools while physically discovering and developing unique and individual voices and movement languages that support individual ideas and stories by conjuring kinetic poetry and kinetic story telling. By understanding our physicality in technique in addition to our conscious connection to our feeling state and conceptual state we will discover deeper meaning through metaphor enhancing and enriching our choreographic vision and voice. This also supports the act of listening to the students voice and help them shape what THEY have to say in the most supportive way possible.
Another element in which I am folding into my work is for myself to be more sensitive to the students learning style and perspective. Being a student of dance who has come from a very singular approach to learning, I often find my teaching language and presentation does not represent a larger perspective unfamiliar with the more internal to external approaches layered with anatomy, energetic healing arts and eastern philosophies. I am finding myself search for new ways of expressing concepts and ideas in a myriad of ways in order to reach all students ways of learning The reflection process helps me to see and hear them in ways that traditional methods limit. I have found wonderful success this year in doing so and look forward to refining the ways in which I can utilize these skills.