Image by Pat Hon, Choreography by Iyun Harrison, Ashani Dances

Image by Pat Hon, Choreography by Iyun Harrison, Ashani Dances

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Teaching Philosophy

As an instructor, I am interested in dancer agency. I want to dismantle the notion that dancers are instruments to be used by the choreographer and instead assert that dancers are authors and researchers, as well as movers. My goal as an instructor is to awaken and strengthen the inherent neuromuscular intelligence in my students through technical training, and to encourage their creativity and curiosity through discussion and reflection.

I approach my ballet classes with this intention. I prioritize the fundamentals of classical ballet technique - alignment, external rotation, articulation of the legs, supported end expressive port de bras - as tools that facilitate a dancer’s articulation of an idea, and I teach these core concepts with the aid of somatics and imagery. In asking students to explore different kinesthetic ideas within the classical ballet framework, I aim to encourage them to unearth their own curiosities inside the ballet aesthetic.

My contemporary classes are an eclectic blend of what I have learned from my own dance lineage. I incorporate movement fundamentals from Horton, Graham, and release techniques. My course objectives present dancers with different qualities and dynamics that condition their bodies and prepare them for more complex repertoire that they will encounter in professional work. I believe in student-centered classrooms, and adjust my lesson plans to meet and challenge my students where they are physically from day to day.

My goal is to encourage students (from beginners to pre-professionals) to create opportunities for themselves in their artistic communities, as performers and as audience members. I am interested in the ways our studio practice transfers to our daily lives, and I believe in honesty and generosity in art-making and in performance. I have learned from my mentors that we can bring our world into the studio and let our ideas manifest through studio practice. My past instructors changed the ways I approach dance to reveal in me a passion for movement, and they made me feel that my voice was important. My hope for each of my students is to leave my class feeling challenged, yet supported, engaged, and empowered.