This past semester, I took Dance Education 3501 as part of requirements for my major. It was a pretty general overview of the education system at large here in America and how dance/fine arts fit into the curriculum. At the conclusion of the course, we explored “best practices” of teaching by leading forty-five minute sessions for our classmates in a genre of our choice. At the beginning of my journey here at OSU, I was astutely against teaching. I vowed that I never wanted to teach because I felt that I didn’t have anything to teach. I didn’t (and, to some degree, still don’t) feel that I had the technical ability or training in any specific genre to teach anyone anything, especially my extremely talented peers. Frankly, teaching intimidated me. However, I decided to draw from my love for improvisation and taught a improv jam for my Education class. Surprisingly, it went really well. I think that the peers that danced with me were the perfect individuals for the experience because they were so open-minded, engaged, and kind. I am forever thankful for that. They allowed me to relax and enjoy the experience for myself.
The class started off with some simple, guided “across the floor” explorations. The focus of my class was the sensation of the body moved through space — what if the space was thick, light, heavy, resistant, etc. In order to help the dancers find their way, I used a lot of imagery to better articulate my point. The class then moved into some partnered exploration of negative space. This was a really cool activity to watch. The dancers were so creative and innovative. The objective of this exercise was for it to start off slowly and sporadically and build into a constant, regular quick speed. Afterwards, I decided to include a favorite from my first contemporary class here at OSU taught by the phenomenal Ann Sofie Clemmensen. She introduced an open-space improvisational exploration; the major objective was to enter and exit the space while making choices. Sometimes there were other rules, but that was the primary standard. I used the same goal in my class. This portion of the class was my absolute favorite; fortunately one of my classmates was able to get a portion of it on video for me. I was able to dance with my friends and further engage in the experience for myself. The link to watch is posted below! Enjoy. 🙂