Dance to me is the process of developing the body through highly physical problems, challenging improvisation scores, and technically demanding body work that requires both mental and physical focus. My dance aesthetics trains the body to perform movement that requires strength, athletic virtuosity, and challenging physical complexities. I believe a dancing body should have the range, strength, flexibility, and conditioning to express and respond in a multiplicity of ways.
To state it simply, I train athlete artists. I organize my material to help dancers access their own strength through understanding scientific basics (kinesiology and anatomy) as well as demand a highly physical class through conditioning, flexibility, and cardiovascular training. Material in class also includes physical practices such as release technique, Alexander, and Bartenieff fundamentals. In training artists I always require students, whether they are beginning or advanced, to make movement and improvisational choices that are focused around detailed imagery and improvisational constructs. My background in K-12 dance education, courses in improvisation and composition, as well as Laban efforts provide a rich background of artistic exploration and movement studies. The way I instruct and encourage my students is to present them with physical and artistic challenges. It is through this method that I have successfully developed athletic artists.
My ultimate goal as an instructor is to help my students value their body – its capabilities, nuances, and differences. Developing appreciation of the body and the agency of my students is a constant through-line in my classroom. I often make time in each class to encourage students be self-educators and explorers through composition, group work, peer-teaching and evaluation, as well as improvisational activities. I always make room for my students’ physical and personal voices.
Over the course of twenty-five years I have been trained in advanced ballet, competition jazz, tap and hip-hop that eventually led me to modern dance. My training at Brigham Young University with instructors Pat Debenham, Marilyn Berrett, Kate Monson, and Robin Konie, prepared me in Graham technique, Bartenieff Fundamentals, and anatomy and kinesiology. My training has continued at Ohio State University with Abby Yager and Ming Yang in Trisha Brown’s technique; performance with Bebe Miller and Susan Hadley; and ballet training with John Giffin.
My method of teaching modern dance focuses on the following skills: core and muscular strength, specifically focused on Bartenieff principles of core-distal, body-half, and upper-lower connectivity, etc. in regards to accessing strength; propulsion through space by training lower body strength, speed, and rhythmicity; movement from a wide center base that trains the body to move quickly into and out of the floor; vertical in order to move away from verticality; line and design of body which includes detailing movement clarity and shape; and virtuosity in air moments, challenging turns, and lower body technicalities. The depth and breadth of my teaching provides a thorough and challenging method for developing dancers.