It’s been a few busy months, but now with a regular schedule I’ve been able to take some time to update my blog! Near the end of May 2012, I finished teaching in the children/youth dance program for SKIES in Vicenza, Italy. SKIES is an art/activity program for military children abroad. Since January I had the amazing opportunity to teach dance to talented and creative children. I enjoyed teaching a beginning Hip-Hop class for 7-8 year olds as well as a Contemporary Jazz class for 10 and up. In May, my classes presented their co-choreographed works at the Spring Recital in Vicenza. It brought back a lot of very sweet memories when I was a child waiting backstage to perform. They were nervous, excited, maybe a bit fearful, but they did an amazing job. Following their performance, they were beaming with pride. I didn’t expect to spend time after receiving my MFA to teach in a children’s program, but the SKIES program has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of 2012.
Following the end of the SKIES program, a colleague and I worked collaboratively on a dance film which premiered at Core Project Chicago’s “Going Dutch”. Camille Spencer and I filmed two solos in Italy and Scotland. With our recent moves to Europe Lost/Found explored ideas of space, identity, displacement, and discovery. It was a unique challenge to choreography and share material via the web only, as well as find ways to edit a film long-distance. We presented the duel film on two screens that flickered back and forth between me in Italy and Camille in Scotland. It was a very fulfilling project and a great way to keep working when resources, rehearsal space, and time were limited.
Following the Core Project Chicago event, I focused my time on finishing a paper for the WDA/DaCI global summit in Taipei, Taiwan. For the last year, Marin Leggat,Associate Professor at Ohio Wesleyan University, and I have worked on researching and writing a paper on empathy in ares in conflict. We focused on artists and directors teaching youth in conflicted areas in the Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Israel. We presented “Constructions Of Empathy: Exploring perspectives & biases of empathic pedagogy in classrooms abroad” on the final day of the week long conference. The paper will be published in the WDA/DaCI fall journal.
Soon after the Taiwan conference I packed up my bags and returned to the states. I am currently teaching in the Contemporary Dance Department at Brigham Young University. Teaching, choreographing, and working with such exceptional students has been such a fun experience. I have a heavy technique focused course load and I am setting a new work on BYU’s DanEnsemble.As We Are. The students are excellent dancers, choreographers, and performers. I will post more as the semester continues. More dancing to come!