When did you first start teaching at ASA?
Originally I started teaching intermediate ballet class at ASA 7 years ago through the partnership with the School of Ballet Arizona. I then went on to finish my undergraduate degree at Southern Methodist University, where I trained heavily in classicalism. Upon graduating a teaching position within this unique partnership became available once again and I was happy to return to ASA.
What insights can you share about the dance department at ASA?
I am proud to be teaching fresh contemporary content that has a Classical foundation. As the dance program has evolved at ASA it provides me the freedom to teach content that has never been at ASA before now. This transition in the Dance program also gives space to the idea that movement is instinctual and so understanding how our bodies function in the movement is critical to dance. Also that we build individuals not just to join the group or ensemble is a unique aspect of this program.
As the founding Faculty Advisor for ACTES contemporary dance club what can you tell us about this student club?
ACTES is a student chosen name for the club and it means “to act, to play, to move” in short to physically move your body. It is an outward facing dance performance club that currently has 22 members. Much of the work I do with the club is seeking to provide students with opportunities I wish I had been given at their age. I consider myself a non-typical teacher, in this field, looking to teach from a place of research and granting access to inform students of all the dance options out there.
ACTES performs at such events as Fallapalooza and DANCEFEST.
What can you tell us about DANCEFEST?
DANCEFEST was started as a collaborative effort at the Phoenix Art Museum. The idea was to cultivate community for dance artists from high schools, colleges, and professional dancers. It is designed to engage the young new dance culture that is taking shape locally.
Through this festival, that the club ACTES is involved in, one of the goals is to enhance the networking skill sets of the dancers. The desire to learn different and newer aspects of dance is woven throughout this collaborative festival. I appreciate that through it I get to put the dance in action in the students’ lives.
This year I am making a 6 minute work and it will be the longest piece I have ever done.
It is a piece about what it is like to see & be seen. The award winning score was written by an ASA student: Nathan Viquesney.
ACTES will be performing a commissioned piece by ASA alumna Dana Metz.
What can you tell us about the upcoming Musical Theatre Performance of Cabaret?
I grew up as a Musical Theatre major in high school. I participated in over 15 Dinner Theatre shows. I then left theatre for contemporary dance. As the choreographer for the upcoming high school performance of the 1998 version of Cabaret we have chosen to go the direction of deepening the conversation about what is happening in the world through this piece.
Directed by Rob Chambers our combined goal was to physically enhance the feelings within the space by using movements that break the mold. Not just actors that dance but more movement focussed and acknowledging that they are performance dancers too. I believe that every human truly can dance and this piece grants opportunities to that end. In rehearsals I encourage students to focus on what moves their bodies not just learning the movements.
The production runs December 13-16 with performances Thursday through Saturday at 7 pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm at the Hormel Stage of Phoenix Theater, 1823 N. Central Ave.
What makes ASA a great place for you?
How I know that ASA is doing a great job is that students are doing it better than I was at their age. The students take risks, respect authority, yet question, use, share and make their spaces safe. They are ensemble members through & through yet also have a firm grasp of their own individuality within the ensemble. ASA breeds individuals. I wish I had attended ASA in 2018.