I have so much I want to share, discuss, and process, and right now I do not feel that I have the community to express these thoughts on a regular basis. I want to get in the habit of writing more as I feel this is a crucial step in my ability to articulate myself as a teaching artist. This blog feels like the best place to accomplish this at this time.
I took modern class with the lovely Jamie Zahradnik today at San Jacinto College, where I also teach modern technique. I teach the students on Monday/Wednesday, and she has them on Tuesday/Thursday. I think it is important for our students to see their faculty at work as a student, and to set an example of learning in action. Jamie helped me solve a problem I've been having as a dancer for a while now. I have always struggled with descending into the floor. I like to use the excuse that it is due to my height, and that I have a lot of body to organize. However, the problem really lies with a lack of grounding and a disconnect between myself and the floor. In class, Jamie taught a phrase that sequenced a sequential linear turn into a monkey roll. I felt my torso trailing behind me as I descended into the floor, and the movement felt disjointed. Yet, even after I adjusted my alignment, the descent into the floor still felt delayed and jarring. So I asked for help. Jamie pointed out that my feet were loosing contact with the floor- instead of sliding and staying connected and grounded, my feet were moving through the air and searching for where to land. The idea of skimming the floor with my feet or sliding into the monkey roll, helped smooth out the hiccups. I now have another cue to use when approaching descending into the floor- finding a slide or chasse action with my feet- skimming the floor rather than stepping out.