Contemporary Technique Class Description
Class will begin with floor work, yoga and pilates stretching and strengthening and improvisation to build warmth, ease us into motion, find agility and help us arrive more fully present in our bodies. Introductions to one another will be made with a name circle, contact improvisation exercises or interactive warm-up exercises in order to build a sense of trust and community together. Center standing work will draw upon a combination of release technique and ballet and align, balance and increase awareness of energetic efficiency and ease. Head/tail exploration and spinal articulation will be integrated into more traditional foot and leg exercises. Across the floor phrase-work will oscillate between imagery and task-based veracious improvisational scores and rigorous locomotion, athletic inversions and ambitious lofting. A culminating phrase will challenge the polarities of movement and investigate both off-balance and centered movement, bound and released, sustained and staccato, momentum driven and spatially controlled, on the floor and in the air, and sensation-based and shape-based movement. A friendly, uplifting, non-judgmental class culture will be attended to by steering clear of the binary of right and wrong and instead directing attention to cause and effect, the action and results of our choices. Personal findings will be encouraged to be shared to expedite learning within our community. Individualism will be honored and upheld even as profound body awareness and ability to replicate outside material is practiced. Enjoyment and fun will be contagious and inevitable!
I teach ultimately to learn, and with the hope that my students develop subtler ways of communicating and deeper forms of empathy. Movement nurtures not only our ability to listen to our body, but also to other bodies. I approach every class with an open ear and an open heart: my class strives to cultivate a culture of play, of fearlessness, of freedom of expression and an environment that is supportive and nourishing while also remaining challenging. Improvisation and imagination, alignment and self-awareness, cause and effect, and trust and ensemble building are the pillars of my teaching ideologies.
Improvisation is the manifestation of imagination, the source of all movement. Whether generating movement for the first time or learning a repertory phrase, students are always engaging in an improvisation with time, space, sound, balance, effort, energy, focus and other dancers. My movement vocabulary stems from my own improvisations combined with quotations from my modern, contemporary, ballet and hip-hop technique training. I give exercises that teach both off-balance and centered movement, bound and released, sustained and staccato, momentum driven and spatially controlled, and sensation-based and shape-based. My class utilizes both improvisational as well as codified exercises and often include scores to develop the imagination.
I have witnessed imagination unleash qualities of movement that surprised even the most experienced dancers in my classes. My own imagination enables me, as a teacher, to change my perspective and my interactions with others when necessary. In addition to teaching with imagery, I also utilize practicality and science. I draw upon information learned about human anatomy and principles of kinesiology from my training in the Stott Pilates Certification Program. Every body is unique and therefore, I do my best to acknowledge how anatomical differences will effect outcome and give feedback on alignment issues and body mechanics accordingly. I believe that self-awareness is a particularly important quality to cultivate in future artists. In the studio, I steer clear of labeling choices as right or wrong, instead I try to direct the attention to cause and effect; the action and results of our choices. From large life decisions to smaller choices in class or rehearsal, we must adopt accountability for our actions.
By establishing trust in the classroom, I believe people are more likely to take risks in front of one another. The willingness to take risks, to go into the unknown and find our edges, is paramount to growth and change. I build community through ensemble: students introduce themselves at the beginning of every class. Sometimes they meet through a name circle, other times it is through interactive warm-up exercises such as basic contact improvisation exercises or facing one another and having a conversation as they perform a warm-up sequence. The classroom is a place that ensemble dancing and learning can be honed fastest through both personal inquiry and a willingness to look outside ourselves for inspiration and information. Trust in the classroom - a microcosm of a larger society - plants the seeds for creating greater trust in our interactions for the rest of our lives.
Dancing is everyone’s birthright. All bodies can, and already do, dance. Although some people are born with more innate sensibilities or talents, I value inquisitiveness and a good work ethic above all else.
I strongly believe that anyone with perseverance and practice can become a highly embodied mover.
Full CV Available Upon Request