As a person of multiple nationalities (African-American, Hispanic, Filipino, and Portuguese) growing up in various regions of the United States, I encountered numerous challenges and setbacks in my early educational journey. From my current vantage point, I can now imagine how my educational trajectory could have been much different—much more fulfilling and inclusive—had my teachers and the educational system had a clue about the variety of learning modalities that can embrace more types of backgrounds and talents. It was just a lucky chance that I found dance as a vehicle to express myself and establish personal autonomy.
It is because dance saved me from being utterly lost in the educational system that I now advocate for those who are marginalized to turn to dance as a means to recapture their dignity and sense of worth in our culture. To this end, I embrace the theories of John Dewey, who champions the idea of active learning. I use the dance studio to encourage students to consider their role as autonomous, competent and artistic members of society.
To maintain interest in any, and all, arenas of learning— such as the arts, sports, academic studies— students necessitatethe support of their friends, family, educators, coaches, and co-workers. In other words, effective learning needsa positive, supportive community. All too often, a professional career in dance demand participation in negative learning environments; when these professionals turn to a teaching career negative practices are often perpetuated. In my teaching philosophy, there is no room for negativity or isolation. I believe a constructive and interactive learning experience is the most conducive to student learning and achievement. How are these goals achieved?
I value the teacher who guides rather than directs, who collaborates rather than dictates, and who does not employ judgment as a focus for who and how to teach. I reinforce the student who is driven to seek out his/her own answers, share vulnerability, and relinquish judgment to develop his/her own perception of people/places, likes/dislikes, etc. I value the member of a community who lends a helping hand, gives a pat on the back, lays foundations for education, and welcomes inquiry. These values not only help to create a positive, influential community, but they also invite individuals to develop their personal identities.
As a teacher, I strive to instill self-confidence, a sense of community and teamwork, and the understanding that all goals, albeit sometimes modified, are obtainable. As an educator, my ultimate goal is to ask myself continuously: Am I available for the students? Is the material that I am sharing accessible to each student? Am I engaged in what is being taught? In an educational setting, I believe that both the student and the teacher must have an experience in order for optimal learning to occur. I believe such education supports a world in which all people can be heard and are treated equitably.
My teaching and mentoring of students from diverse backgrounds is discussed in my research statement. The following are organizations I work with that address issues of diversity:Youth Center City; Yoga Behind Bars; Dance for PD; AXIS Dance Teacher Training; the University of Washington’s (UW)Queer Mentor; the UW’s School of Education course (dis)Ability, Education and the Arts; and the UW Campus Sustainability. During my world travels June 2017- March 2018 (courtesy of the UW’s Bonderman Travel Fellowship), I found myself working with an array of groups (i.e., teaching English to Thai students, teaching dance to yoga teacher training peers, and developing a themed-dance syllabus on female empowerment for Nepali teenaged girls). These past experiences have helped me to envision a future goal following my return to the States. My intentions will be to work with community leaders, local educators and students on matters of social justice developing and fostering programs that enhance student and faculty involvement in the community.
I believe in the potential of unique communities. I am an educator that makes it a point to communicate with members of communities outside my own kinesphere. Meeting new people and having new experiences expands my understanding of community and the myriad approaches there are for facilitating students’ finding their personal voice and full potential.
More fitting samples will be available as of 01 Dec 2018.
Creative Dance for Diverse Communities
Modern Technique (Beginning to Advanced)
Ballet Technique (Beginning, Level II)
Contemporary Jazz Technique (Beginning, Level II)
Advanced Topics in Dance Education: Philosophy and Design
Anatomy for Movers