My teaching philosophy is based around individuality, the interplay of improvisation and technique, balancing the stability and mobility and balancing the inner connectivity with outer expressivity. I believe dance is for everyone, but the professional dancer in today’s world must be competent in different disciplines, being collaborative, and have enough knowledge of his/her body to achieve a long, meaningful, and healthy career.
I teach all levels of Modern Dance and Ballet, as well as Composition, Improvisation, Dance and Technology, Creative Dance for Children, and World Dance. My teaching style is positive, energetic and supportive while expecting to accomplish goals and set new ones each class. I develop knowledge, skills and appreciation for World Dance forms, including different cultures through presentation of fundamental techniques, music and history, having a major concentration in Latino Popular Dances, and specifically, in Andean and Afro-Peruvian dances. In fact, I developed a comparative study between Afro Peruvian and African American dances during the first year of my MFA.
It is important for me to help students explore where ballet and modern techniques meet and support each other. Dancers today need to be prepared for both sensibilities. I believe in variety and I try to use a wide range of techniques from my eclectic background as well as a variety of teaching tools when breaking down movement. By using this approach, I reach the students who learn best kinesthetically and the students who learn visually and audibly. I do my best to produce thinking dancers, unique in their inspiration for their art form, aware of how dance can stimulate intellectually and physically, with complete understanding of their own personal styles and tastes, and not simply dancing bodies.
I achieve my desired outcome by integrating physical studio practice based in traditional dance techniques (Classical Ballet, Graham, Horton, Limon), somatic principles and experiences, and contextualizing the historical significance of these methodologies to stimulate and engage young artists. I believe in a structured classroom where the content delves deeply into technical details that will yield positive results when students work with focus and consistency. I look for opportunities to provide constructive feedback and incorporate appropriate repetition, as well as discuss and reinforce healthy body image and supportive strategies in terms of nutrition and conditioning. My proposal is that dance, while remaining a rigorous physical practice, is also a process through which the intellect is challenged via the engagement of kinesthetic awareness, expression, and interpretation. I engage them by my own example, as they observe how I express my artistic perspective through my choreography, the contact I had with different cultures around the world, and my desire for a thorough approach to technique and artistry in the professional field.
In Choreography, I use improvisation and different composition tools to expose my students to different situations that could inspire their individual creativity. On this respect, I believe students choreographic proposals are more effective if they can sustain verbally what they are experimenting by dancing or observing.
Given my background on Information Technology, I am also interested in how technology fits in the dance environment. I am not engaged with technology only because new equipment or software is new and avant-garde to produce new art, but how to employ it in order to convey an idea or a purpose -as we do in our real life- and also why we need it. I believe in dance innovation through the use of technology and the engagement of the audience using technological elements that can be part of a choreographic piece and not mere video additions to a concert. For my “Through the Distance” full evening choreographic work, I used real time and pre recorded video projections to research how time and distance affects both relationships and the creative process itself. As a reflection of this experience, I wrote and published a book titled “Creating virtual extensions in Dance: How technology and systems theory can be used in the choreography process and performance”.
My creative works span a variety of genres and moods. I choreograph rhythmically and structurally layered contemporary dance pieces designed to entertain audiences, provoke thought and impact people while satisfying my need for creative expression. My current choreographic interests place importance on the individuality of the performers with whom I create each work, synthesizing their experiences into compositions that hinge upon a premise. I enjoy collaborating with artists in other mediums, producing original works to which audiences can relate on multiple levels. My most satisfactory collaborations have been with dancer/visual artist Betty Skeen (“Through the Distance”), and dancer/choreographer Amelia Uzategui. (“Global Water Dances”, “Verde/Gris”)
I also create opportunities for students to be involved in the larger community: I believe in dance as a medium to engage with people and to enlighten the most different issues we have. As Associate Artistic Director of Global Water Dances (www.globalwaterdances.org), I had the opportunity to see the importance of movement in non-dancers and how dance can empower communities to action. When I worked at the Catholic University in Lima, Peru, I was able to integrate students in the experience of working with a community, and some of them, after graduating, created a NGO called “Rio Danza Comunitaria” that develops dance programs partnered with ecologists in water conservation. It is important to recall that Global Water Dances is an event that takes place in more than 80 cities around the world the same day and live-streamed from the places that have access to Internet.
Finally, at any level of training, the study of the moving body and the mind that invests in its expressive power is vital. I believe it is a way to foster critical thinking, physical activity, and cross-disciplinary inquiry for the new dance movement of this 21st century.