My philosophy of teaching is rooted in the liberal arts philosophy of creating a curious, intelligent mind by finding the salient connections between myriad subjects. I put this into action through technique and lecture courses based in Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) and Bartenieff Fundamentals (BF). The framework of LMA and BF provide movement training and analysis skills to create physically healthy dancers and intelligent observers who are able to move both within the structures of traditional dance styles as well as outside the boundaries of tradition. I strive to create an environment where movement and observation is applied across performance disciplines because to produce curious and mature thinkers, it is necessary to cultivate their respect for many subjects of learning, their critical eye, and an ability to advance their chosen art-form.
Within movement training, I teach BF movement patterns and anatomical knowledge that unlock healthy and efficient ways of moving through the whole body with a focus on inversion skills from the capoeira perspective that encourage spatial and partner awareness. I also integrate physical training of Laban’s Efforts to create an expressive dancer. Uncovering students’ whole-body movement potential encourages them to innovate any particular style of movement from Ballet to Modern to Stage Combat while improving their technique.
Through observation skills, students learn to transfer the knowledge of anatomical terms and LMA from Technique classes to their Theory, Composition and other Somatic coursework to converse fluently through a common language. The ability to converse in clear terms that transcend style will equip students to develop a critical eye for many forms of art and performance as well as easily integrate their movement training into other practical applications.
Practical teaching techniques that support my teaching philosophy include: - Exploratory work such as structured improvisations to experience class concepts through dance as well as other artistic mediums. - Video and Partner Work as learning-tools to assess students. We discuss what we see, how we choose parameters for observation, and how the parameters help us to see movement and improvement objectively. - “Option 1, 2 or 3” is something I say in every technique class. I address the mixed-abilities of the students within each class by offering alternatives for those with injuries or for those progressing at a faster rate. - 3 rules of healthy movement and observation: 1) Check in with yourself, 2) Check in with your partner/group, 3) Clearly define your parameters.
What I hold close to my heart when approaching students and other faculty is that it’s simple acknowledgement of what each person brings through the door, recognizing potential, and how to take what is learned out the door that fosters respect, creativity and innovation.
My teacher Warren Lamb who was a student of Rudolph von Laban and the creator of Movement Pattern Analysis. A true inspiration. 2010