Dancers Trending

"Teaching Itself Is One Of The Greatest Teachers"

Photo by Matthew Murphy for Dance Teacher

I have always felt a need to communicate and, even more importantly, to be understood. But as a child, I always hit an emotional wall when trying to speak.



Although my great-aunt Rose had no connection to dance, she intuitively saw that I needed an outlet, and recommended that I take a movement class. It was literally life-changing. I realized I could make myself understood without my needing to be verbal.


Hyper-vigilance kept me curious and always looking for the best way to answer questions like the ones that dance presents. How do you do a movement and what makes it communicate? How do you make dancing less complicated? What is technique and what is its purpose?

These personal pursuits increased when I was studying dance at The Juilliard School and was given the opportunity to teach my peers. I was immediately aware of how my need to answer those questions made a significant impact on those I was teaching.

I wanted to figure out the puzzle for them as well as myself. This produced a remarkable giving and receiving of information. That was when my love for teaching was born. The satisfaction of seeing that "wow" moment in someone's eyes when the impossible becomes the possible is so rewarding.

I've had the fortune to have exceptional teachers, and, even with that, I've found that teaching itself is one of the greatest teachers: If you can figure out how to teach it, you probably can figure out how to do it.

My challenge has always been to try to embody the standards I set for those I teach. Presently, while performing in Sleep No More, I am deeply invested in what it is to communicate such a complex story. The physical demands, and the intensity of the audience in this immersive theater, create a vibrant stage.

That always-moving energy poses questions, such as how to stay true to the work when you are spontaneously having new and unexpected interactions. When someone who has studied with me sees a performance and says, "I saw what you taught me," I implode with joy.

My career as a performer and teacher includes mentoring and coaching dancers and choreographers, who are either creating and performing in the field, or preparing to. I am continually challenged to find the questions that offer more clarity to each of them. Being able to help illuminate what someone wants to say and how they say it is such a gift.

The Conversation
News
Courtesy Ritzel

Capezio, Bloch, So Dança, Gaynor Minden.

At the top of the line, dancers have plenty of quality footwear options to choose from, and in most metropolitan areas, stores to go try them on. But for many of North America's most economically disadvantaged dance students, there has often been just one option for purchasing footwear in person: Payless ShoeSource.

Keep reading... Show less
Trending
Jayme Thornton

When Sonya Tayeh saw Moulin Rouge! for the first time, on opening night at a movie theater in Detroit, she remembers not only being inspired by the story, but noticing the way it was filmed.

"What struck me the most was the pace, and the erratic feeling it had," she says. The camera's quick shifts and angles reminded her of bodies in motion. "I was like, 'What is this movie? This is so insane and marvelous and excessive,' " she says. "And excessive is I think how I approach dance. I enjoy the challenge of swiftness, and the pushing of the body. I love piling on a lot of vocabulary and seeing what comes out."

Keep reading... Show less
Dancers Trending
Robbie Fairchild in a still from In This Life, directed by Bat-Sheva Guez. Photo courtesy Michelle Tabnick PR

Back when Robbie Fairchild graced the cover of the May 2018 issue of Dance Magazine, he mentioned an idea for a short dance film he was toying around with. That idea has now come to fruition: In This Life, starring Fairchild and directed by dance filmmaker Bat-Sheva Guez, is being screened at this year's Dance on Camera Festival.

While the film itself covers heavy material—specifically, how we deal with grief and loss—the making of it was anything but: "It was really weird to have so much fun filming a piece about grief!" Fairchild laughs. We caught up with him, Guez and Christopher Wheeldon (one of In This Life's five choreographers) to find out what went into creating the 11-minute short film.

Keep reading... Show less
The Creative Process
Terry Notary in a movement capture suit during the filming of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Photo by Sigtor Kildal, Courtesy Notary

When Hollywood needs to build a fantasy world populated with extraordinary creatures, they call Terry Notary.

The former gymnast and circus performer got his start in film in 2000 when Ron Howard asked him to teach the actors how to move like Whos for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Notary has since served as a movement choreographer, stunt coordinator and performer via motion capture technology for everything from the Planet of the Apes series to The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar, Avengers: Endgame and this summer's The Lion King.

Since opening the Industry Dance Academy with his wife, Rhonda, and partners Maia and Richard Suckle, Notary also offers movement workshops for actors in Los Angeles.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox