Someone asked me recently why it is that I want to teach ballet. They wanted to know, "as a dancer with the Joffrey, don't you get annoyed or frustrated teaching ballet to beginners, to older people, who seem to be so uncoordinated?" The truth is, teaching makes me incredibly happy. It's a satisfaction I do not get on stage and can only get from outreach.
I get frustrated by the fact that there is not much support for ballet and I believe this is simply because people just do not understand it. It is an old, antiquated way of moving and people do not see the difficulty or athleticism that accompanies ballet. Teaching beginner classes is a great way for me to reach new people, to introduce ballet to people that ordinarily may not be exposed to it, and to really show them the beauty of the arts and of dance. I know I'm just one person teaching a few classes a week, but every little bit makes a difference.
There is also a great understanding that comes with teaching. It is not just about giving people movements and telling them to reproduce the steps. It's beyond that. You have to understand it yourself. You cannot possibly teach others if you do not understand it. The model see one, do one, teach one has great validity for improving your own knowledge. Teaching forces you to break down what you know, examine it on a new level, and explain it in a way that is understandable. And by doing just that, I see improvement in my own dancing. It has helped me because I am forced to deconstruct the movements and I can approach what I have done day in and day out for 26 years differently. It's like taking a magnifying glass to my own technique. I approach the movement much closer than I used to do. I didn't understand or pay attention to all the little details that I am forced to acknowledge and share when I am teaching beginners.
Teaching ballet is like therapy for me. It is a way to reach out to others, to show them the beauty of the arts, to help them understand ballet, and in turn, it is a way to improve myself. I have a better understanding of what I am doing everyday. No one is perfect and there are always things to learn. This profession, like many others, has made me a lifelong student. Everyday you learn and everyday is a different story.
Beginner Classes at Mazi on Wednesday at 8:00pm
Intermediate Classes at Mazi on Sunday at 10:30am
Beginner Classes in French at the Alliance Francaise on Saturday at 11:00am
Advanced/Professional Classes at Visceral on Thursday at 6:30pm