As an educator, I am committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive learning environment that inspires students to engage with material through creative problem-solving, critical thinking, real world application, social interaction, reflection and introspection, and individual expertise. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accountability are vital to my teaching and personal practice and I continually strive to design curriculum and lesson plans through an anti-oppressive lens.
My personal relationship to teaching and art-making stems from a desire to devise intellectually-engaged art that reflects tiny pieces of the multitude of lived experiences around me, as well as to fabricate imagined worlds of fiction and survival embodied through movement and the digital lens. I value a keen curiosity for knowledge, independent and collaborative research and analysis, community building, skillful technical execution, and imaginative design and composition. I believe in education that is open-ended, individually driven, collaboratively engaged, and culturally relevant.
My approach to teaching emerges first from the questions of what inspires students and what motivates them to engage with the material. I believe that students’ ability to absorb information and truly understand the material is affected by their connection to what they are being asked to learn. When the material is applicable to students’ areas of expertise, interests, or daily lives, they are more likely to participate in their own educational process. My preferred teaching method for creating inclusive and student-centered learning spaces is similar to my process of collaborating with peers. It others entails listening and assessing the needs of all of the voices in the room first, identifying the resources or materials available, considering the goals and outcomes desired, and then collaging them together. I draw on constructivist and feminist pedagogical approaches to knowledge construction that emphasize student-driven learning, diffuse the power dynamics between teacher and student to that of facilitator/guide, build community through classroom experiences, respect diversity and privilege different voices, and recognize multiple intelligences and challenge typical learning ideals.
In each course, I incorporate moments of self-exploration, cultivate multiple ways of exchanging and transferring knowledge, and offer time for reflection and introspection. I am interested in cultivating student learning outcomes that actively engage in material through creative process and experiential research both inside and outside of the classroom. I strive to create open-ended and flexible projects and class structures that permit room for the individual to shape their own experience and connection to the material. For example, in my Introduction to Digital Dance course, I offer students at least two tracks for their digital portfolio: the first is a series of smaller projects that focus on a specific topic covered in-class, the second is an in-depth exploration of a specific aspect of the material covered over the course of the semester. They are also offered the opportunity to propose another variation for their digital portfolio, as long as it engages with the coursework in a way that meets the learning objectives. The course objectives are supported through the process of creating a collaboratively derived rubric and individual self-assessment and goal setting as a form of evaluation. It provides a system of checks and balances, builds trust, and makes transparent the expectations of the course and the students’ participation within it.
The three main areas of content that I focus on as an educator are knowledge/context, technique/theory, and creativity/composition. Classes rotate between these areas of content as a way to engage students in different facets of the material and to captivate different learning styles and intelligences. To build the collective knowledge in the space, I ask students to brainstorm what they know at the beginning of a course as well as to document knowledge of what they discovered at the end by asking open questions about observations and reflections, recording it on paper, and offering supplementary information in response to participant experiences. Students are frequently encouraged to work in pairs, trios, or small groups as part of in-class explorations to encourage collaboration and information exchange between peers rather than solely between students and facilitator. In digital Zoom courses I divide up students into small group breakout rooms to explore creative and discussion-based tasks. In the physical space of a classroom setting, I explore ways to mix up the spatial dynamics between students and teachers, opting to hold discussions and contextual presentations in circles or random patterns and groupings rather than with the teacher at the front and the students facing the same direction towards the instructor. To invite space for reflection I ask students to journal and “download” information explored during class time and any external and internal connections they have found to the material during the last 15 minutes of a class.
The role of language, listening, facilitator, and articulation of experience in is an important component of constructivist and feminist pedagogy in creating inclusive and welcome educational spaces. I avoid using gender-specific divisions in movement as much as possible, inviting everyone to explore all the ways they can embody different qualities of movement and to try on aesthetics that in other contexts might be seen as specific to “women” or “men.” I also seek to decenter a white cisgender heterosexual able-bodied experience through my use of language both inside and outside of the classroom to create an environment that invites those from outside of the center in. For example, when appropriate in class discussions I acknowledge my own privileges and intersections of oppression as a white, queer, able-bodied, middle-class person somewhere along the female to nonbinary side of the gender spectrum, and recognize differing experiences across other facets of identity.
As a teacher, I am also perpetually a student. I am actively engaged in furthering my own knowledge construction through reflection, critical thinking, and engagement in my own intellectual and physical growth. I hope to improve my teaching through observation and constructive critiques from educators outside of the classroom, through internal reflection and introspection, thoughtful analysis of student experiences and adaptation to class needs and expectations in the moment. Listening and asking questions of students and colleagues, as well as actively participating in workshops, intensives, outside research, and professional development are important aspects for me in my own quest to be a strong resource for students’ own knowledge cultivation. I strive to have a clear understanding of the subject matter to be able to explain the how, why, and when of course material and so that students have a clear guidance of expectations, goals, and learning strategies. With colleagues, I aim to build a similar professional relationship to encourage collaboration, cooperation, and support in artistic, educational, and scholarly endeavors.
Areas of Expertise & Interest:
- Dance on Camera/Dance Film
- Modern & Contemporary Dance
- Yoga Asana & Dhyana Practice
- Dance & Popular Culture
- Introduction to Dance
- Touch Designer
- Media Installation
- Video Production, Shooting, & Editing
- Anthropological & Sociological approaches to movement
- Somatic practices
- Creative Practice Techniques & Tools
- Dance Composition
- immersive Theater
- Participatory Scenography
- Race, Gender, & Sexuality in Performance
- Feminism & Queer Studies