Teaching Artist Statement:
The arts possess the power to heighten awareness, deepen sensitivity, empower individuals, and enhance everyday living by tapping the innate creativity and aesthetic sense of each person. Authentic experiences with the arts and creative process can open windows of understanding on many levels. Creating, sharing, and reflecting on choreography or any art form engages non-traditional learners, and offers opportunities to hone critical thinking, along with social and creative problem solving skills.
My approach to teaching artistry has been heavily shaped by the practice of aesthetic education through my work for TPAC Education based in Nashville, Tennessee. I believe that the arts can magnificently enhance the understanding of academic curriculum, but also that they should be honored for their unique powers to communicate, to inspire wonder, and to cultivate understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live.
The arts have a unique and potent role in our culture, our schools and our communities. It is my duty as an artist and teaching artist to utilize the position and gifts of the arts for positive change. Through social justice choreography and written word, I have been able to increase awareness, generate understanding, and provoke action for human rights causes.
In educational settings through exploration of the artistic process, I engage students in inquiry, creative problem solving skills, and reflection. Combining the communicative forces of the arts with service learning and identifying community needs empowers students to see what they have to offer, and to look beyond their own needs to those of their community. These endeavors nurture a sense of self-worth and expand comprehension of community, empathy, and the many ways we can learn and communicate. They also lay the foundation for students to become big picture thinkers and engaged citizens.
To learn more about aesthetic education, teaching artistry and the power of the arts in education, I recommend the website of my friend and honored colleague, Eric Booth, who is a leading expert on arts education and tireless advocate for deep learning through the arts.