Teaching Philosophy

Modern Technique and ImprovisationModern Technique and ImprovisationModern Technique ClassModern Technique ClassModern Technique and ImprovisationModern Technique Class1 - 6<>Photos: Marion KauferI believe greatly that my experiences as a student have helped develop and enrich my life as a teacher. All students eager to learn deserve a teacher that is passionate and enthusiastic to share and pass on their knowledge. Even today I am learning, growing, and working to enhance my teaching skills and philosophies. In this retrospect, I will always be a student.

While growing up in a small dance community in Southern California, I had my fair share of injuries at a very young age. While dancing in a competitive setting, I frequently attended local dance competitions with my dance studio. I worked through sprains, joint dislocation, fractures, torn muscular fibers, and tendonitis. Injury prevention was never implemented at that level. We were taught to execute movement any way possible, without much anatomical guidance. Luckily, my body eventually healed and I educated myself to find exercises to assist in avoiding future injury. Unfortunately, some dancers don’t know where to go for this information and don’t have the guidance to understand that many dance related injuries can be prevented early on.

As a Choreographer, Dancer, Teacher and Pilates Instructor, I am greatly drawn to injury prevention, movement execution, proper alignment and placement, especially in dancers. It is important to understand fundamental anatomical alignment when teaching dance technique, especially at a beginning level. Understanding and applying these fundamental concepts help build the foundational technique of dance movement aesthetics. I strive to emphasize these ideas when teaching any class or choreographing movement on dancers so that dancers have more awareness when it comes to movement execution and repercussions of poor technical implementation. I make a conscious effort to give students helpful cues and direction while performing movement vocabulary to always assure their safety.

As a teacher of dance education, it is important to foster both talent and the ability to successfully use that talent, whether it’s for performance or choreography. To ready students to take their training into their own hands requires a mentor who is competent and knowledgeable. It is important that the interest of students must be sparked so they are motivated to learn. I strive to encourage my students and gently persuade them to always go farther than they think possible. Patiently, I intend to guide students to the discovery, mastery and application of dance technique, analysis, history, and etiquette. By measuring students individually, I am able to recommend learning goals and strategies which foster individual progress and growth. I expect the very best of my students and communicate how much I care to cultivate their success. Although teaching can be challenging, I find my students are a great inspiration. I love witnessing moments when all of the pieces of the puzzle come together. Through learner centered teaching via interactive lessons, demonstrations, collaboration, practice, reflection, evaluation and assessment, students will gain knowledge transferable to other disciples as well as gather valuable life skills.

-- Nichol Mason Lazenby