A Re-Introduction for 2013

As I mentioned in my last post, I am attending classes at Michigan State University in order to renew my teaching certificate this June. As part of that process, I am enrolled in a course titled “Curriculum in its Social Context” and am expected to blog about topics relating to education through various lenses. Each of my responses to the course work will be posted on this site and will be labeled with the introduction of “Cycle #” and the topic. Naturally, my personal lens is dance and my writing will include my perspective of how the course topics relate to the field of dance education.

On the “About” page you can read about my background and experiences. Yet I would like to take this opportunity to refresh my sense of professional (and personal) identity for 2013.

All of the facts remain the same:

  • I was raised in Michigan by English parents that supported the arts and bent over backwards to support my passion for dance,
  • I received a BFA in Dance and went on to dance professionally in big cities where I later realized I “lived” the dancer’s life for the benefit of my future students,
  • I attended grad school with the intent to teach in higher education and stumbled, a couple times, into K-12 education and realized a passion that had been dormant all these years.
  • I have taught dance to all ages and all levels of experience from novice to professional, creative movement to academia, for fun and for the future.
  • I believe the arts have the power to define the quality of our lives.

And yet, I waffle back and forth trying to understand where I fit best within dance education. I do know it is in of the classroom and more and more I am realizing it is not leading the class from the front but guiding the class from many locations, destinations, and angles. The question sometimes lies in who I am there with. I currently teach dance in a K-8 visual and performing arts academy and love it. However, in all honesty, sometimes it feels stifling. No- let me clarify. Sometimes the system feels stifling in spite of teaching great kids, within a great building, with great administration and some outstanding colleagues. I continually find myself- whether it has when teaching in academia, public education, or non-profit environments- wondering which are the best or most appropriate questions to ask myself and my students.

In many instances, the answers have come in the relationships- person to person, person to subject, community to content, and so on. And I suppose this is true in my personal life, too. Ultimately, it is about the people, right, and what the people can do to make life meaningful.

So here I am- in love with the philosophy of education and the power of mentoring. Trying to wrap my mind (and as a dancer, my body) around stimulating questions. Enjoying the journey.

Here’s to 2013.