Teaching Statement

As a dance educator I instruct practical application of technique and composition in the studio as well as theoretical and historical study of dance in the classroom. I believe dancers who are educated in technique, history, and philosophy, while being globally engaged and politically aware, will have diverse cultural perspectives and myriad creative tools at their disposal. In the classroom, assignments often require embodiment of ideas or practical application of the material. Similarly, in the studio, movement ideas are supported by written scholarship from which students synthesize verbal or written responses. I strive to enable students to realize their fullest potential through personal investigation. Their physical journey begins by acknowledging habituation and developing a sense of neutral as a starting point. This metaphor extends to the classroom where I invite students to ask questions and think critically about existing points of view.

Diverse technical training is essential to cultivating a dynamic and malleable performer. I teach dance technique through rigorous physical practice in modern, jazz, ballet, improvisation, and contact improvisation. Daily movement exercises emphasize whole-body integration, intrinsic spirals, unrestricted use of the spine and pelvis, complex planar and spatial patterns, and non-vertical relationships to gravity. By sourcing movement from deep within the body, dancers can manifest energy that extends through the limbs into space. This approach not only cultivates an engaging performer, but also emphasizes injury prevention and body wellness. My movement philosophy fluidly adapts to each genre and helps expand kinesthetic potential. Through the use of images and metaphors, I help dancers make subtle connections to their body and develop a dynamic performance quality. 

 

Each genre is derived from existing philosophies, but I approach ideas from a contemporary perspective in an effort to create bridges between the archive and the contemporary dance scene. My modern dance class is based in Limón technique while incorporating elements of Bartenieff fundamentals, improvisation, contact improvisation, martial arts, Pilates, and yoga in an effort to familiarize students with a range to movement styles. My class often features intricate and extensive use of floor work, asking dancers to move to the floor fluidly throughout class. I aim to build technical strength and clarity, refine movement efficiency, and provide vivid imagery to inspire nuanced movement. My jazz class similarly integrates multiple perspectives from the canon of jazz dance. Students are introduced to a variety of movement styles within the jazz idiom including Fosse, jazz funk, contemporary, Latin styles, Voguing, and musical theatre. In all classes I expect exceptional work ethic, risk-taking, open mindedness, and overall excellence.

Classes in dance composition are a synthesis of theory and practice. I help students develop a process in which they can fully realize their choreographic voice. This process begins with improvisation. By using myriad improvisational scores, students explore their individual movement vocabularies and develop phrases they can then manipulate in a choreographic way. I work one-on-one with each dance maker to hone their aesthetic and expand their conceptual range. The work in the studio is supported by the scholarship and creative output of current and historical choreographers.

©2020 by Blair Movement.