"To study the art of dance is to learn the language of bodily movement as it expresses and communicates the essence of humanity... all cultures organize movement and rhythm into one or more forms of dance" (NDEO, 2005).

Teaching Philosophy

I believe that the primary purpose of PK-12 dance education is to facilitate the growth and development of reflective, communicative, creative, and bodily-minded adult artists. Pedagogically this means that my values are founded on the importance of student centered teaching. As a result I aim to embrace an approach to learning that treats the studio-classroom like a laboratory, where students are encouraged to investigate and discover inquiries of personal interest. This value system in turn prompts the acknowledgment of students not only as individuals but also as creatures of culture who bare with them, their own set of beliefs and experiences. In it's most essential form I understand dance as an innate aspect of human nature and communication.

PK-12 Philosophy Overview

Essential Values:

  • Developing reflective, communicative, creative, and bodily-minded adults
  • Providing a safe and engaging environment for learners
  • Fostering a value for the individual development of identity, expression, action, inquiry, and creativity

Foundation of Pedagogical Practices:

  • Imagination
  • Community
  • Cultural Relevance
  • Democracy
  • Accessibility
  • Body-intelligence Sensitivity

Essential Quotes

"The having of wonderful ideas is what I consider the essence of intellectual development" (Duckworth, 2006).

"The arts are one of humankind's most vital forms of language" (Remer, 1996).

"To achieve the highest accomplishments within the scope of our capabilities in all walks of life we must constantly strive to acquire strong, healthy bodies and develop our minds to the limits of our ability" (Pilates, 1998).

"The role of the teacher is to provide the opportunity and space to students. The teacher ultimately must embrace intelligence, allowing students to leverage what they know and what they can successfully accomplish. As the students develop this essential opportunity, their imagination, interests, and creativity allow them to create love for their learning that may endure the travesties and injustices they face both in and out of the classroom" (Schultz, 2008).

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there will be to know and understand" (Einstein, 1929).

Oral History & Choreography Unit

Description & Summary:

The purpose of this unit is to foster the development of each student’s sense of identity and validity within the context of contemporary and historical society. My end goal for each student in this process is that they emerge with a stronger sense of who they are, and how it is that this relates to their feeling empowered as an individual and a citizen. Students will be asked to select a topic or area of interest that relates to their personal lives or community as a means of developing an oral history project design outline that will lead them into the collection of a 20-minute oral history interview. After collecting their oral history interview students will use the data they have gathered as a research tool for the creation of an original piece of solo choreography. In the process of developing these oral history solos students will be exposed to a variety of choreographic tools. These choreographic tools will serve as the basis for a number of reflective, creative, and analytical writing assignments that students will generate in response to the information they have collected.

Research Overview:

At the heart of my research lies the question, "how can we foster and empower student identity?" The assumption that underlies this inquiry is that there is a need to support the development of adolescent identity. This assumption is founded not only on my own experiences as an emerging adolescent, but also as an educator who works with teenagers and feels conscious of their needs.

Research Claims:

  • Through the use of Project-based Learning (PBL) in the choreography studio-classroom students will feel empowered to view themselves as researchers, artists, and historians.
  • Empowering students in the choreography stuio-classroom to view themselves as valid researchers, artists, and historians will foster a more meaningful and easily transferable sense of "identity" and understanding in each student when they move from the choreography studio-classroom into the "real world."
  • Students who engage in a PBL choreography studio-classroom that utilizes oral history methodologies as a lens for their choreographic process will develop a stronger sense of validated self-realization, which in turn will lead to students to feeling empowered within the context of contemporary history.