Our Teaching Philosophy
Regardless of what profession our students ultimately pursue, we believe that the self-discipline and work-ethic that makes a dancer valuable in a dance career, also makes a person valuable in any career. Dance is a physical expression of creativity, and that creativity should be welcomed, nurtured, and celebrated throughout every dancer’s journey. After all, creativity leads to innovation, which moves our world forward. Throughout one’s dance education, proper body alignment becomes a physical presentation of self-worth and confidence. Injury prevention, taught through the proper stretching of muscles and cross-training, is imperative for any lifestyle.
What Dance Mission Believes About Dance
The instructors at Dance Mission have received education, certifications, and degrees from all over the world in multiple dance techniques, as well as yoga. The following statements, based on our cumulative experiences, fuel our passion for sharing the artform, guide how we interact with the families of Dance Mission, and inform our decision-making for the studio.
•Dance is for everyone.
Dance is typically defined as rhythmic movement of one’s feet or body. No matter our bodies’ limitations, it only takes one bodypart to make a dancer! We strive to see beyond the traditional expectations of what a dancer should look like or what dance “should be”, and welcome anyone with a willing heart and a body with even the slightest bit of mobility to join us through dance!
•Dance is creative
Dance is categorized as a creative art form. “Creative” is defined as “having the quality or power of creating and resulting from originality of thought or expression”. This means that teachers of dance have the responsibility to allow students moments of exploration to find their own thoughts and feelings about dance. Whether students are exploring movements they have learned in a class, seen others do, or dream of creating a “brand new, never before seen” movement (to quote Ms. V, a 7 year old student), celebrating and nurturing those creative quests is a cornerstone of this studio.
•Dance teaches discipline
Dance is an art form that has been evolving for millennia. Hundreds of dance techniques exist; from ballet to modern, jazz dance to ballroom, hip hop to liturgical, and each technique comes with its own set of rules. These rules, or disciplines teach students about body control, classroom etiquette, hearing and applying critique, healthful nutrition, and how to work with others.
•Dance teaches humility
As dance teachers, we take on the duty of keeping each of our students safe and assisting them to attain their goals through dance. The only way we can effectively train dancers is through feedback and critique. We ask that guardians and students humble themselves in the understanding that the instructors at Dance Mission hold a wealth of knowledge as to how to adequately educate dancers and to humbly accept any feedback or critique given during classes and rehearsals. In return, we strive to humble ourselves in the understanding that we are also still students of dance, as dance constantly evolves. We also strive to humble ourselves and listen to guardians, as they are the experts on our students.
•Dance teaches communication
Through our Dance Artistry classes students will learn how to create with one another. Sometimes they will be asked to create group pieces that require everyone in the class to contribute, other times they will be asked to create pieces where only 2-3 dancers will contribute. Through these creative exercises students will learn how to respectfully share ideas, as well as constructively critique works created by their peers.
Through feedback and critique shared by instructors during technique classes, students will learn how to ask for clarification when they do not understand what is being asked of them. They will also be encouraged to ask questions of instructors when they do not remember a combination, would like some personal feedback throughout the year, or when they are interested in taking ownership of their dance education.
While dance is considered a physically and mentally rigorous art form, it also has the ability to partner with doctors and therapists to heal physical, mental, and emotional wounds. Our heart is that anyone who comes in contact with Dance Mission, leaves their encounter having experienced the transformative power that dance has when taught or presented with hope.
•Dance is meant to be shared as a community
We believe that dance has the power to teach each of us how to honor one another as bodies and individuals. Treating others with appreciation and respect causes community to form. Our goal is to teach dance in a way that instructs students to compassionately engage with one another in and out of the studio. We also hope that the lobby becomes a place of peaceful community among the Dance Mission families.
•Dance is meant to be shared in the community
Firstly, dance is a performing art form. Through performing students learn how to push themselves beyond their comfort zones. They learn how to quickly resolve issues, and how to rely on the others who are on stage with them. Currently, Dance Mission holds two recitals, one in December and one in May, so that friends and family have to opportunity to celebrate each students accomplishments.
Secondly, we hope that as students learn to engage and communicate in class, that they will take these skills out into their schools, churches, friendships, families, and workplaces. We see Dance Mission having a positive influence on neighboring communities through our students’ lives.
What is Dance Artistry?
The Dance Artistry class teaches the fundamental elements of dance: Body, Energy, Space, and Time. Every dance technique and piece of choreography utilizes these elements. We believe that taking the time to explore these elements outside of a technique class will allow our students to continue to strengthen their creative abilities. Along with exploring the elements of dance, students will also begin to explore the creation of choreography. During recital these classes will present a collaborative piece that the students create.