How many years have you been dancing?
I started training in dance when I was four (so 21 years of dance training). But (legend has it) I was dancing since I could walk which is what prompted my parents to enroll me in a ballet school. I only ever really did ballet until I got to college. I had a very brief tap stint that was abandoned after I deemed it “too loud.” I wish I was a little more chill as a child because tap would have really helped me in my mid-twenties discovery of house dance. Hindsight is 20/20.
List an achievement in dance that you are proud of or an experience that had a major impact on your specialties?
I didn’t understand any movement that wasn’t vertical/ controlled/ linear until I moved to Philadelphia. My college professors had tried for four years to get me off the vertical axis to little avail. When I moved to Philadelphia and discovered a community of passionate and hard working movers through Urban Movement Arts, I began to figure it out. I’m proud of shelving everything I spent 19 years perfecting to immerse myself in a style that I was… not very good at, and for being open to the humbling experience of starting from scratch.
What is your philosophy in dance?
What drew me to hip hop forms was the joining of technical concepts with experimentation and innovation. This combination necessitates the dancer learn the history, the skills, and the moves from others who are experienced in the style, but also asks the dancer to make it their own- to establish themselves as an individual with something to offer. Hip Hop forms demand the dancer respect not only their teachers and peers but also themselves.
What are your goals for the community of MoveMakers and MoveMakers teachers?
As an administrator at MoveMakers, I want to help facilitate the student’s engagement with the dance forms, with their peers and with their mentors (the teachers). I want them to gain confidence, and independence while also feeling supported and part of a community. I want them to learn what I learned from dance which is that hard work, determination, and creativity yield positive outcomes.
What can a child learn from a dance education that will impact the rest of their lives?
Related to my “hip hop philosophy” answer, I think that studying hip hop forms teaches students how to show up in a community. Giving students license to improvise and create dances with their peers teaches them how to be leaders and how to collaborate. It empowers students through showing them they have a voice and that voice is unique and worth sharing.
What is an interesting non-dance related fact that you can share about yourself?
I love to read and I love being outside. I’m from Maine and I love Philly but miss the trees and the ocean. I’m trying really hard to learn Spanish.