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Teaching Statement

As a dance artist, educator and scholar working across the fields of disability studies, dance studies and performance studies, I seek to build supportive classrooms that value the minds, bodies, and experiences of each student. My teaching practice, whether in a studio class, a small discussion or a large lecture, is deeply rooted in the development of disability culture and aesthetics. These basic tenets constitute the foundation of every class I teach. In practice, this looks like providing essential access tools as a baseline for every student in my classroom, regularly checking in about the efficacy of these tools, and consistently offering multiple ways for students to engage with content. My approach is rooted in disability dance techniques that center the experience and embodiment of each student. This is not a codified technique, but instead an emergent set of movement strategies and values based on the needs of the bodyminds in the space. 

Image Description: A group of dancers positioned on a patch of bright green grass. The dancers, some of whom are in power or manual chairs and some of whom stand on two feet, wear black pants, either grey or red shirts, and white masks. They hold their arms above their head like they are waving them back and forth.

Throughout class, I leverage my own background in modern, ballet, improvisation, somatics, and disability dance not to impose these techniques onto the dancers in my class, but to offer multiple approaches so that dancers may find those strategies that best fit their goals and bodies.My approach is both highly structured and flexible – two things that seem contradictory, but, in fact, rely upon one another. While I work to ensure that expectations and schedules are clear so that students feel grounded and prepared for class, I find that access in the classroom is best and most fulfilling when it responds to student needs in the moment.


When access is shared and built collectively throughout the course, students learn not only from the content of the course, but are immersed within the culture of disability. My classroom cultivates an ethic of collective access, wherein access is achieved only through the enthusiastic collaboration of everyone in the space. I envision the classroom as a space where we explore what a more just, community-driven, caring world might look like and work against punitive structures within the academy that presume a student’s lack of excitement and engagement. Instead, I task students with collectively constructing a conducive, accessible, caring learning environment.

​In content, my commitment to and background in disability culture and aesthetics necessarily informs both the material I bring into a classroom, whether movement, readings or archival documentation, as well as my approach to that material. My approach to building and delivering content is informed by and indebted to emerging conversations in disability studies that seek to articulate and enact a feminist-of-color disability studies (Schalk and Kim), which recognizes the entwined legacies of disability, race, and gender oppression in the United States. Whether teaching movement, dance studies, disability studies, or beyond, I consistently work to contextualize the content I deliver to my students within the histories of these various forms of oppression, but also in the knowledges, joys, and bodyminds of the communities from whom the work emerges. Essential to this practice is the understanding of knowledge as produced through and with the body, which leads me to offer embodied experiences for every class, even those that are traditionally lecture or discussion based. I believe in the power of affirming students' existing knowledge while simultaneously providing them tools to challenge their own assumptions about bodies, minds and movement. This work is informed theories emerging from transformative and social learning that frame education as an essential tool for connection and social change. As a result of this, I seek to instill in my students a respect for their own movement and intellectual lineages while also cultivating a curiosity for and value of those forms and knowledges that exist apart from their home disciplines. 

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