Friday, January 29, 2010

Hale will freeze over...tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the third benefit race that Sean has directed at Hale Center Theater Orem. This is the 2nd Annual Hale Freezes Over 5k & 10k Race/Walk! Of course, we always want more runners to sign up (which you can do here), but what we really NEED are more volunteers! For the last race, Sean and I were at the theater until 3 AM the night before putting together the race packets and getting everything ready. We would love to not have to do that again. We have positions for volunteers starting today (29 January) at 6 PM, plus a lot more for tomorrow morning starting as early as 7 AM. We invite everyone in the area to come out and participate in a great event! Volunteers get a t-shirt, food, and two tickets to HCTO's next show, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. If nothing else, everyone should be jumping at the chance to get free tickets to a FANTASTIC show with a FANTASTIC cast!

I assume anyone who is interested has one of our phone numbers or is at least our friend on facebook, so call, text, send a message, whatever and let us know what we can sign you up for!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Graovsko Horo and Sopsko Kopanica Success!

This semester, I am the TA (teacher's assistant) for Dance 370, which is the advanced world dance class at BYU. As mentioned in previous posts, I absolutely adore world dance. My dream job would be to be on the world dance faculty at BYU, but unfortunately BYU is in Utah and I am not too keen on sticking around here for the rest of my life. I wish that I could travel the world and learn every culture's dances, but that is impossible, so instead I decided to TA a class so I wouldn't have to pay for it since I am a part-time student. So far, it has been a wonderful experience. When I have assisted in other dance classes, I have felt pointless and underused by the teacher. That is not the case in 370. The teacher lets me make comments and corrections at anytime and I feel comfortable doing so. After every class there have been students asking me to go over a step or section with them, which has been great teaching experience for me, plus I love seeing the "Ah-ha" moment when they finally figure out the rhythm or footwork. Another great thing about the class is that the teacher actually lets me teach, which is the inspiration behind this post. Last week, his car broke down in Salt Lake City so I taught the Wednesday class, and then he auditioned for the MFA program in dance at UCLA on Friday, so I taught then, too. Not only did I get to teach, I got to start NEW dances with the students! We had just finished our Russian unit, so I taught Graovsko Horo and Sopsko Kopanica, which are from Bulgaria. I was able to teach the whole Graovsko Horo dance on Wednesday because it is short and fairly straightforward in rhythm and pattern. Kopanica, on the other hand, is pretty complex.

*On a side note: When I am anticipating something, no matter how frivolous, I usually have dreams about it. When I dreamed about teaching Kopanica, it did not go so well. The students acted like 2 year olds and didn't listen to anything I said. At the end of the 50 minute class, they hadn't learned a single step. It made me cry. Literally. I woke up crying. It was ridiculous. I really wasn't very worried about it, but I was having a hard time trying to come up with an effective way to teach the dance.

So come Friday, I started teaching Kopanica, which has an 11/16 meter, which is unheard of in this part of the world. To my surprise, we were able to get through half of the dance in that one class! I was so proud of the students for picking it up so well. Probably the best part of the class was when 5 or 6 students came up to me separately and told me what a good teacher I am and how I made the dance easy to understand. One girl told me how a few of them had learned the dance about 2 years ago at an audition and NOBODY got it, and that she was amazed at how easily the class was catching on. It made me feel so good! It was probably some of the best praise I have ever gotten and it reinforced my reasons for wanting to be a dance teacher. After the Bulgarian unit, we will be moving on to the two Bharatanatyam dances from India. Once again, I am excited because the teacher wants me to teach the first dance. I love Indian dance! It is quite possibly my favorite. I am writing my twenty-page capstone paper about Indian dance. So yeah, I'm excited to teach it.

I'm going to finish this off with some of my favorite things about being a teacher (I teach or assist 9 classes a week, ages 3-college students). I think that all teachers will be able to relate to some of these, no matter the subject they teach. If you have any to add, post a comment!

Some of my favorite things about being a teacher:
  • Seeing kids grow in their skills and abilities everyday.
  • Watching order come from chaos. When I first teach a dance, everyone is trying to figure it out and are constantly forgetting things, but after some time, they master the dance and it becomes a work of art. 
  • Being a positive influence in what can be a harsh environment. 
  • Finding ways to break down a movement phrase (or problem, or concept, or whatever) so that everyone can understand, which can be a challenge since people learn in so many different ways.
  • As I mentioned before, the "Ah-ha" moment when something clicks and the student just gets it.
  • Providing exposure to an art form that is mostly absent in public schools. 
  • Loving my students and feeling their love in return.
That's enough for now. This is a semi-long post, and I'm not going to apologize for it.