“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”
-Fred SeroProviding the spark of curiosity and learning can lead to the future success of today’s diverse students. My teaching philosophy is a fire comprised of four main elements: passion, communication, community, and experience. As an educator, I am fervent about movement. The tangible and metaphorical heat that comes from moving is what drives my dynamic approach to teaching. I refuse to remain static within movement concepts, theories and ideas. I find ways to explode students’ notions of dance forms open, play with overlap between them, and pay homage to the foundational building blocks. Within the classroom, I design movement experiences that develop and grow alongside students’ progression, as well as the field of dance as a whole. This methodology requires sensitivity to both students’ needs and the energy of the classroom. By exuding my passion for movement within technique and theory courses alike, I aim to inspire students to charge head first into their own dance practices. Within my fervent fire of movement, communication is the kindling to my teaching philosophy—it brings the fire to life. I strive to use language that guides students to understand and discover new information. I work to keep an open exchange of communication with students to stimulate critical questioning and thoughtful examination of information. Assignments, in-class writing prompts and discussion questions are all thoughtfully designed to encourage students to become articulate thinkers and dancers. Providing opportunities for collaboration and feedback between peers allows students to learn effective interpersonal communication. I promote students taking responsibility for their learning through active reflection in multiple forms such as journaling, papers, and projects. In order for students to learn effectively, I create a ring of stones around the fire, or a safe community environment in which individuals can take risks and try new things. I actively work to create equality within the learning atmosphere, where students and I are discovering dance together, supporting each other through students’ unique journeys through class. I work to build on students’ individual histories, which become the foundation for developing old ideas, absorbing new ones, and connecting the two. The logs of this fire, building and feeding the flames, are the new and different experiences I supply throughout classes. I apply somatics, kinesiology, multiple disciplines and creative work in each course to broaden students’ understanding of the body and develop students’ appreciation for dance as an art form. By including historical and contextual information within lessons, I aim for lessons to translate to life outside of the dance classroom, and to promote students’ understanding of dance’s role within the larger global community.
No matter the life or career goals of students, knowledge and skills gained within dance classes transfer to all walks of life. Sparking a passion for learning in students can lead to success in whatever field they choose to explore. In order to ignite this spark, I implement the aforementioned methods with sensitivity towards diverse learning styles, cultural backgrounds and personal histories. My goal is to encourage creative and critical thinkers that will seek out, build and feed their own fires.