Showing up on time, dressing appropriately for class, clear attentiveness, improving personal goals and actively applying corrections are practices I look for in prospective students. As an educator, I would want to evaluate students on their individual progress in what they need to strengthen. Every student is going to be different; Inherently success will look different for each student. Based on how a student engages with given prompts, the quality of movement produced and how much a student improves over a course of time all contribute to how I would evaluate a student.
From a young age I have been training in ballet technique alongside my modern training; attending regional and national level ballet festivals. While I want to teach my students the importance of having a strong foundation in technique, I strongly believe that ballet is not the core to all dance training. I will teach my students to be diverse in their technique training and to understand how they do not need to fit a certain image to be successful in their dance careers. From my experiences studying dance in Paris, France and working with choreographers in Berlin, Germany, I want to incorporate the importance of interdisciplinary work within the dance field. I was able to experience work on stage that layered a wide variety of performance art and I want my students to have this type of exposure and wide understanding of dance as performance art as well.
Throughout my teaching, I strive to provide fresh and exciting content while weaving in rich history and fundamental dance techniques. During technique practices, I value safe movement over aesthetic movement. It is important for students to understand how to correctly execute specific movements, however, the overall safety of participants in my class is of utmost importance. For example: if a student is attempting to perform a certain jump and they experience pain in their achilles tendon, I will walk them through exercises while remaining on the floor to eliminate pain. The exercises I would choose to provide them will build up the strength they would need in order to successfully execute the movements without pain in the future.
Within choreographic practices, I want to push students to bring their most authentic self into the classroom. Successful students in my choreographic practices are willing to be vulnerable, push their physical boundaries and try new ways of creating movement. For example: if students are given a prompt to create movement based on a moment of struggle, I would expect students to step into that vulnerable headspace to produce meaningful results. Additionally, if I give students specific steps to building a movement phrase, I expect them to try the tools I am offering them with full effort and engagement. Overall, my teaching philosophy is to assist students by offering inspiration and tools to build on their strengths and challenge their weaknesses.
Practicing inclusivity is another priority to my teaching practices. Whether that be cultural inclusivity or disability inclusivity, acknowledging and deconstructing Western-focused and ablest dance practices is what makes a well rounded and respected teacher in the classroom. Additionally, as a teacher I regularly take the time to check my own biases to make sure my classroom upholds its promises of inclusivity. Dance instructors hold a certain power to care for and support each student's similarities and differences in their abilities and past dance experiences, and the students should never feel less valued in the classroom if their background or abilities differ from those of their peers. Each day I plan to bring my most authentic and hard working self into the classroom and I would expect the same of all my students.