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teaching philosophy.

My teaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that student growth is derived from the understanding and learning of failure as well as experience. I work to create a space where students feel that they are supported in how they learn and grow as dancers, creatives, risk-takers, and community-builders. The movement is generated to warm-up and fully engage the muscles in the body as well as push the body to perform in a grounded, athletic, and contemporary manner. 

More specifically, I aim to create a safe environment where the students feel that they are able to take risks and therefore experience growth. I believe that growth is something that is difficult to achieve without experiencing and learning what failure is. As a teacher, it can be beneficial to recognize and acknowledge when you might make a mistake yourself and then show students how you navigated and learned from that experience yourself. It can also be helpful to talk to students through making a mistake; ask them what the worst thing that could happen if they don’t take that risk or make a mistake. When a student makes a mistake in the classroom, I try to help them work through the experience by asking them what they think went wrong and what they learned from that experience. My goal is to remove feelings of shame or guilt as much as possible from the situation and help them learn from it.

Additionally, I emphasize the aspect of community and what it means to be a part of a community. It is important to support and kindly encourage others to contribute to be a part of the community as a whole because everyone is affected in the classroom. Supporting your community includes respecting your peers, showing up for them (as well as for oneself), and encouraging one another. These expectations for what a supportive community would both be established at the beginning of the course as well as throughout the course of each class.

Finally, I believe that individuals who effectively lead transformation—both locally and globally—are self-aware and engaged with ideas and the world around them. I want my students to be self-aware—both in and outside of the classroom. Additionally, as a teacher, I hope to continue to develop my skills through diverse experiences—especially those involving the teaching of collaborative creation of art with purpose and meaning. Ultimately, I aspire to be a self-reflective teacher who collaborates and works with people from diverse backgrounds and is not only involved in addressing some of the most pressing issues in the world today, but is also aware and able to communicate the beauty of shared stories, risk, and human connection.

Line drawing of dancer, filled in with yellow color and jumping in air with arms outstretched.
Pink uneven circle
Tan rectangle with brush-like strokes.

Photo by Richard Finkelstein.

dance in the community.

Line drawing of dancer doing a handstand, filled in with green.

I am passionate about Dance in the Community, and have been a volunteer with JMU's Dance for Parkinson's Program under Professor Emeritus Kate Trammell. In May 2021, I received Dance for Parkinson's Professional Development Training from the Mark Morris Dance Group and under a grant from JMU's Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship.

JMU Dance for Parkinson’s Disease, Volunteer

Volunteered for the program run through JMU that offers classes based on the Dance for PD® approach developed by the Mark Morris Dance Group. Class is open to individuals with Parkinson’s, their families, friends, and care partners.

Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, Memory Care Unit

Created lesson plans and used creative movement as an intervention during weekly classes for memory care patients to promote social engagement, long-term memory recall, and short- term movement pattern recall. This was part of a service-learning course that fostered a sense of community through dance with diverse populations in the community (all ages, backgrounds, and abilities).

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