Teaching Philosophy

Inspired by educational theorists such as Paulo Freire and Jeffrey Duncan-Andrade, I seek to introduce students to dance and performance as embodied methodologies and theories that enable the students to both reflect on their world, and take action to make needed change. Such an approach necessarily draws from fields beyond dance and performance studies, and my teaching is designed to develop my students’ interdisciplinary facility.

I have worked with a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate students through developing and teaching my own courses as a Lecturer and a member of the UCLA Collegium of University Teaching Fellows. I also have extensive experience leading sections, mentoring undergraduates on major projects, supervising Teaching Assistants, and training new educators as the Teaching Assistant Consultant for the department of World Arts and Cultures. While these varied experiences call for different skill sets, what they have in common is my role in the classroom as a facilitator of critical thinking. For me, teaching is not only about conveying knowledge, but is crucially about how students take knowledge in, process it, and then communicate what they have learned to others. I aim to mentor students as they themselves participate in knowledge production.

Because the university system values writing skills in particular, I consider every class I teach to be a writing class. I create weekly and term-long writing projects that enable students to practice new skills and to reflect upon what they are learning. For example, weekly written responses, followed by discussion, help the students to process visual and written texts. Major papers that develop over the course of a term allow the students to apply new methodological and theoretical skills to a topic of their choosing.

At the same time, I also believe in meeting each student where they are and working with them to develop individual standards of success. In order to do this, I prioritize building supportive relationships with students, getting to know their strengths and interests. I also make an effort to engage different learning styles over the term so that each student has an opportunity to succeed based on their own skill sets. I find that integrating practice and scholarship is a particularly effective way to do this. For example, in one class I worked with a dancer who had a limited theoretical background to draw on her kinesthetic learning style – that is, learning through physical activity – as a resource in itself that could serve as a basis for approaching unfamiliar theoretical texts about dance.

I have an interactive style that depends on student participation in discussions and other activities, which I encourage by calling on students, whose names I learn as soon as possible and use often. This style is grounded in my commitment to dialogue and bringing students’ voices into the room. My basis of interaction with students is one of respect. I treat them as intelligent adults who bring with them relevant knowledge and experiences that will enrich the class, and form a foundation for their learning. For example, when I recently taught a class that called for a group of mostly non-dancers to analyze dance pieces, I encouraged the students to draw on personal physical experiences that could help them understand the movement better. Thus students who had been rock climbing could bring their bodily memory of being in a harness to their analysis of aerial dance.

Courses Taught

Undergraduate

DNCE 1101 Beginning Dance Performance

DNCE 2101 Intermediate Dance Performance

DNCE 3101 Advanced Dance Performance

DNCE 2171-01 Urban and Global Dance Forms/Butoh

DNCE 3143-50 World Dance Forms

DNCE 4123-01 Dance as Public Practice

Graduate

DNCE 5023-01 Academic Writing and Research

DNCE 5243-01 Pedagogical Foundations in Dance

DNCE 6113-01 Dance and Culture

DNCE 6113-01 Scholarly Inquiry

DNCE 6113-02 Choreographies of Writing

DNCE 6113-02 Cultural Studies and Critical Theory

DNCE 6113-02 Performance Studies

DNCE 6113-02 Scholarly Writing