Is a choreographer a teacher?

Does a choreographer teach?

This is a question I ask myself often.

As I’ve studied pedagogy in the last two years, I have come up with more questions than answers. I think that will continue to happen for me. In fact, I know it will.

Pedagogy is the “how” of learning. It is the art and science behind teaching, that is constantly changing. 

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I love teaching, but there is so much MORE to it than I ever realized.

If you are a teacher of any sort (and I think we all become “teachers” at some point in our lives), I urge you to study the theory behind being a teacher.

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In my opinion, a choreographic process should not differ so much from classroom work. It should be a similar experience even when the final task may be totally separate.

By this I mean: a choreographer should also be a teacher — striving to facilitate learning experiences for everyone involved. 

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For me, being a teacher / choreographer with the right approach involves:

  • Awareness of the learners in the room, including oneself
  • Openness to new possibilities
  • Improvisational tactics – knowing when to shift gears & veer away from the “plan”
  • Constant research behind the people as well as the subject at hand
  • Realizing that what works now won’t necessarily work tomorrow or next year

And it goes on and on. But that is the beauty of it!

My goal as a choreographer is to offer the same kind of experience I would in a classroom. I want the dancers (people) to feel safe in any kind of setting experiencing, sharing and appreciating each  other.

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But it is NOT easy.

It will be different every single day.

We are all learners including as a “teacher.” We learn from each other and we have to be vulnerable in doing so.

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Thoughts? I think this goes with any kind of learning, but of course this is just the kind of learning I am constantly thinking about. Please share!!

With love,

Sydney

All of these photos are from a recent choreographic process where I had the opportunity to work with these dancers in TX at Ballet Lubbock ❤

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