My Truths: There are three truths that I stand firmly on as an educator. The first is that learning is a mind, body, and spirit activity. Second, the “classroom” can be defined as anywhere learning takes place including in seats, in space, on-line, in the community and so on. Third, learning is a path to freedom that everyone regardless of socio-economic status, cultural amalgamation, gender or ability should have access to. In sum, I believe deeply that the “classroom” exists as a site of bountiful access to resources; when those resources are applied by the individual, education leads to freedom from mental captivity and freedom of circumstance.
As an educator: My role is to demonstrate a desire to learn and keep learning. I strive to make the classroom a communal space of mutual respect and collectivity. For example, in order to establish collectivity I start and end class in a physical circle theoretically and symbolically encouraging seeing one another and making connections with one another. I challenge students both in lecture and studio courses to remain active in the learning process. I do this by engaging their minds with direct investigations, their bodies with embodied activity and their spirit by encouraging them to express what passion they have for our lessons. I invite inquiry, encouraging students to pose questions that arise from our lesson and create opportunities for peer to peer review which in return builds independence. In every setting I find that my goals remain the same: I model honesty and passion for my craft and expect the same from my students.
In reverence: With great humility I have witnessed master instructors in Katherine Dunham Technique, West African dance teachers, Broadway artists, community leaders, and independent artists lead with passion and rigor all while emphasizing the necessity and power of a community practice. I have carried those lessons with me. Whether I am teaching in the community, in K-12 schools or at an institution as a lecturer, choreographer, wellness educator, or studio instructor, I honor the position I hold, and give reverence to the lessons learned through my training.
How we stand in freedom: Lastly, the time for horizontality amongst dance forms is now. Together the students and I work to dismantle the established vertical structure of dance and situate social, cultural and white hierarchical forms as equal in value. We do this work in the classroom through conversation, research and experiential practice.