Amy's Teaching Style


Are you the kind of dancer who needs even more information? That's AWESOME. I'm glad you're scrolling and reading. 



I have a unique teaching style that compliments students who have the basics down for my advanced classes. The term 'advanced' is totally oversimplified here - it can encompass those who have simply taken around 8 months of basic classes all the way to totally advanced dancers. The reason for this broad spectrum is that although I ALWAYS do some drill and technique (so important), I tend to balance the artistic side of dance, rather than only on perfection of specific movement.

We will focus on areas that are often overlooked - it will be an illuminated  laboratory of rich, diverse stage presence and acting! We'll learn about theories (which are like tools in your dance tool box to play with - so more like a toy box - or a makeup box? haha!) such as intention, phrasing, shapes, use of space, relationships between dancers, relationships with audience, timing, using the differing types of energy, forming, use of silence and pauses, creating your own style, body language in dance, and more.

We also create complete and fully thought-through costuming as part of our performance goals. So the major units we work through are: Technique, Stage Presence, Music (including Middle Eastern Music), Choreography, Improvisational Dance, Costuming, and History. These overlap organically, but it's nice to see them all written out, isn't it?

The teaching style is extremely deep rather than broad, and organic, responding always to the interest of the students as a whole. Most classes are conducted in lab format, and I don't focus on memorization or checklists (which are both useful for some things, but are not included in my format). I'd rather have us laugh, dance, cooperate and create 5 ways to use linear shapes in trios than explain what that means, or just show you what I have done with it and leave it at that. No way! Learning is about YOU, not me, and it involves you thinking actively, not just memorizing or watching me passively.

What this whole thing means is THESE CLASSES ARE BRILLIANTLY, MINDBLOWINGLY FUN for anyone who wants to learn to CREATE things, not just copy other people's work (which I understand can be a really great way to learn for some, too, or to honor a choreographer that you love very much! It's just not included in my curriculum very often, unless it's for a very specific lesson - others already cover that format).

Generally, my students end up with ideas for pieces that are unique, fresh, entertaining, and have that 'never before seen' feel to them that you can't get any other way than experimentation and hard, real thinking! If you want to experiment, learn, grow, and create independently and as a group, creating small and large projects that are real-world-ready, we would LOVE to have you here. 




Why no drop ins? 


My philosophy for the methods I use to teach dance are a two sided coin. A lifestyle of the creation of dance is both a long-term discipline and a long-term play session. So while there’s always that element of fun and freshness and joy, there is also a balancing element of consistency and practice and determination. In order to learn any subject, including dance, in the richest, deepest way, it's most natural to experience its creation on a project-by-project basis, so that you immediately apply the concepts you're learning in real life. If you're simply memorizing concepts, with no practice of the concept, there will be almost zero information retention. And we definitely don't want that!

The magic comes in with long-term projects that will actually be showcased at some point. Possibly at a a hafla or open stage. Following this natural rhythm of learning, immediately creating, and then showcasing (usually in a low stress, comfy environment at first), is the root of how I run my classes, and it's also why I don't do drop in classes. Drop-ins are wonderful-wonderful-wonderful for exercise classes and for drilling and some technique classes. However, I have chosen to only teach from one to a few classes per week so that I can focus my attention fully on my students. The classes I've chosen to teach focus on a panoramic variety of dance subjects, such as history, costuming, ethics, improv development, and choreographic theory (among other things) which result in projects and a body of work and deeper understanding of dance, rather than solely drills and physical exercise. This cumulative work of the class relies on community and consistent attendance, therefore - no drop ins.