The life of a teaching artist

Today I served as teaching assistant to The American Ballet on behalf of The Kennedy Center and spoke on a panel for a Dance Colloquy hosted by Sarah Beth Oppenheim at Dance Place. Whew and the day isn’t over! In an hour, I witness dances made by college students participating in the dance colloquy and offer mentorship to those in need.

This morning was an amazing experience in that about 18 volunteers assembled in The Millennium Stage all with an interest and or professional experience in dance education for families. The volunteers and teaching artists were given an orientation. It was a giant team of go-getter women with one Kennedy Center staff member highlighting best practices to make the experience of dance inclusive for families with children with disabilities.

Sidenote: Ran into fellow dancer named Elizabeth Terscher whom I performed with at City Dance while dancing for a choreographer named Nancy Mapother, a Julliard graduate who had schizophrenia. The piece was called “One and Two” I believe – it was very clever and also a great mind teaser involving text and the counting of numbers in a round.

Back to the Family Dance Workshop – ABT teaching artists Robert and a woman whose name I am not remembering perhaps because she didn’t give us her short bio as to how she became a part of the organization as did the man. We focused on steps from “Harlequinade” which they are performing this week which sadly I will not see this time around.

The parents of these children were heros in my eyes finding opportunities for their children to have these direct experiences with the Ballet Company in The Kennedy Center halls. I met a petite dancer-in-the-making who looked about 2.5 years of age named Peregrina Wolz. She was the sweetest little dancer… shy yet willing to try the steps whether in her mother or father’s arms and the acting involved in playing the two roles from the Harlequinade ballet. I also danced with a boy Max whose mother was super encouraging of him. It was a good experience and I was paid for it so that’s a plus. Hats off to Joy of Motion for sending my name to the KC Dance Education department for this opportunity. Looking forward to assisting New York City Ballet in April!

Now onto the Dance Colloquy – I was able to speak from my own experience about the DMV Dance Community to college seniors looking to find more opportunities and solve some of the issues systemic with in our field locally. The dancer, Olivia, who facilitated the panel seemed very optimistic and energized to make change. One of her questions specifically asked how we feel about making art in “45’s America”. I revealed that in the SylviDances commission with Sarah Beth Oppenheim of Heart Stuck Bernie we were able to talk openly before and during rehearsal about our disgust, anger and frustration at society and in response to the Kavannaugh trial and #metoo movement. Oppenheim’s “F O’K” performed at Michelle Ava’s “Turiya 2” was a healing release for some pent up anger and an honest not always knowing how to respond to the ridiculousness of the present in which we are living. I see my company able to contribute to the conversation about equal women’s rights with this piece in a way that models self-preservation and female solidarity.

Now onto the evening performance! Hope to meet a future SylviDances intern or performer.

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