Student – MA in Education (Dance Teaching)
I live in Seattle, USA and was drawn to the MAE’s strong research component and distance learning framework. I have a specific interest in dance education for individuals with disabilities, so the freedom to select modules and a dissertation topic relating to this area appealed to me. For someone whose dance influences derive completely from the “field”—my background includes a decade performing professionally with the Houston Ballet and fifteen years teaching in every sector of dance —I was interested in how an academic perspective on broad educational principles might infuse my work.
Returning to education as an older student is both gratifying and challenging. As a lifelong learner, I feel most inspired when learning. I find it fascinating to observe things/phenomena/issues in life that I only notice after studying them. I find it imperative to find new sources of inspiration to nourish my work and the MAE programme has provided such a source.
My teaching artist practice has been most impacted, particularly by the modules focusing upon somatic and inclusive practices. Between my family and work (I manage a program at Pacific Northwest Ballet, where I am also a ballet instructor and a Dance for Parkinson’s Disease teaching artist), I have a busy life, so finding time to study is difficult and I find myself in a delicate, ever-changing balancing act, as I strive to fulfil each of my roles. But participation in the MAE has strengthened my time management and organisational skills and bolstered my confidence. I’m grateful for a fantastic cohort of MAE colleagues who, despite being sprinkled around the globe, provide support, encouragement and camaraderie.