Looking back on my dance career, I remember being exposed to a wide variety of teaching and choreographing personalities. Some personalities intimidated me – they differed greatly from my own and challenged me to develop a confident and keen sense of self, and self-worth. Some personalities I gravitated towards – they were the classes I was eager to attend, the praise that fueled my passion, and the role models I still hold to this day. For all, my heart would be constantly racing around them, whether it be out of love and inspiration; worry and trepidation; or a simple reaction to the heavy bass booming throughout the studio. Now twenty-some years later, I can honestly say that I would not be the artist, educator, or human that I am today without each and every one of them. It is these past experiences and those which still lie ahead that I use to fuel my own decisions as a professional and establish my own choreographic, performing, and pedagogical personality.
As a dance educator, I strive to educate the body, mind, and soul of students – aiming to teach more than simple eight counts and technique. I value a holistic education, challenging myself to discover, educate, and inform the individual student physically, intellectually, and in certain settings, spiritually. The underlying theme behind my work is to capitalize upon the “why” behind this career choice that continuously fuels me, even if my body begins to feel it is “running on empty”. Through methodized instruction and motivational techniques, I work to guide students (both in the classroom setting and in choreographic processes) into a state of self-acceptance, positive outlook, growth mindset, and genuine flow, inspired by my undergraduate study of Psychology and, more specifically, Positive Psychology – the scientific study of the strengths that enable students and communities to thrive, based on positive experiences, positive individual traits, and positive intuitions.
Dance is more than codified technique and finding the “1” in the music. Rather, I believe that being a part of this artistic world serves as a medium of both self-expression and self-discovery, and I encourage and employ my students to do exactly that. I am constantly working towards fully engaging in and committing to this journey – challenging myself to extend my training, pursuing continuous practice and improvement of skill, and intending to engage both my muscles and soul in each new endeavor. As a Performer, I aim to remain unlimited – challenging myself with new opportunities in both the concert dance and commercial dance realms. Performing is not just the final product, but the rehearsal process and preparation. Each opportunity to perform is a step towards learning more about myself and the work that I do, and in challenging myself to engage in that genuine flow which I work to encourage in others, I find myself and my perspectives continuing to build and strengthen with each new performance opportunity. The world of dance is ever-evolving, and I have tasked myself to continue to evolve with it.
Photo by Laura DeAngelis