“Love in the classroom prepares teachers and students to open our minds and hearts.  It is the foundation on which every learning community can be created.”  bell hooks

As a dancer I believe my body speaks, as a choreographer I believe my body communicates, and as a teacher I believe my body, and the bodies of my students, are vehicles for not only a culturally diverse creative art form, but also for building a socially sensitive and communally aware worldview.  As a teacher I believe in inspiring wonder and in fostering love in the form of genuine respect for all voices, all ideas, and all bodies.

From a student of mine in 2015:

This instructor really embodies a pedagogy that considers learning classroom material to be intertwined in real life. And so I have learned to see with renewed eyes my past and present.

Our bodies are wise.  Our movements were our primary language, and paved the way for our brains to think. Connecting our bodies to our learning affirms an holistic view of education, and allows for a more humane way of being with each other.  Often in the beginning of a class I will give an assignment which asks the student to come into class with a phrase that is uniquely them, or any movement experience that makes them feel alive. This opens the gates right away to the students’ center of knowing in themselves, and engenders a level of honesty and openness that leads towards transformative education.

We need to dance.  We were born to dance.  Dancing makes us smarter – this from a Stanford University study on dancing and aging.  Dancing keeps us actively engaged in all ways.  Dancing is authentic, holistic education.  Dancing has been called a “highly active attention to possibilities.” (Richard Powers)

Just having dance in the schools creates an immediacy of knowing, an accessibility of community understanding, and a chance to awaken parts of our beings that can lie dormant in a world that has created a divide between brain and body.  Teaching dance teachers to investigate knowledge and transform our educational system through the use of the body fosters future leaders who can hold an embodied vision of equal access, holistic learning, and a socially just world.  As a teacher, I hope to nurture these future leaders, and with that, in my own small way, help heal the world.


For me, dance is a pathway, a method, not unlike Buddhist meditation or other spiritual practices, for knowing oneself, the world, the connection between the two, and the … ineffable.

There are two instances I can recall at this moment which epitomize this perspective. One is when I first knew dance was my calling, and one, several years later when working with CandoCo, a mixed ability company in the U.K.

As a teenager in the late ‘70’s, I strolled into a dance class expecting the usual series of exercises. Instead, the teacher stopped us in our tracks and asked, “What is one movement, just one, that can warm up your entire body?” A simple question. Or is it? Is there really only one? Is there even the possibility of one? Isn’t it all “One”? What is oneness? What is warm? How fun! My body, brain, soul and heart were fully engaged in the process. The other students found a movement. I couldn’t stop.

Dance then and forevermore became an investigation, a ritual of questioning, a path to knowing and then not knowing. I use this idea of investigation when I become complacent or too inside my own head, to shake myself up and remember to not know.

A time when an outside impetus shook me up in that way was when I began teaching at the Laban Centre, a dance conservatory in London, England, in 1992. My colleagues asked if anyone would “mind” working with David Toole, a man who started dancing in his late 20’s, who didn’t have legs. Again, how, and what, are legs, to dance? What is dance if it is not embodied by a body I know? How can arms become legs; how can his “dis”ability give him more abilities? Aren’t we all disabled in some way, big or small? My work with him led to a solo at a faculty concert; that led to a commission by CandoCo for that solo with a dancer added to make a duet. How does a more “normal” dancer’s body, in the second dancer, compare or connect with David’s body onstage?

I describe dance as a method or pathway. The vehicle is the body; the tool for the method is questioning. Not knowing. What could it be if …? Both of these examples have given me the gift of staying open to the deep wisdom of the unknown. Or perhaps what is truly known, on some level, but to our everyday selves, is, ineffable.