Elizabeth Malone's

Teaching Philosophy

I teach from a perspective that values students as whole, human beings. Through my teaching of ballet technique, modern technique, and dance composition, I create opportunities for investigatory discussions and movement exercises for students’ individual artistic interpretations to create new ideas, questions, and movement vocabulary. My use of adaptability of lesson plans foregrounds a student-centered approach to teaching, which in turn promotes the development of progressive mindsets for their learning.

 

I model inclusivity by embracing the diverse abilities and cultural backgrounds of each student in my classes. I design each course that I teach to be productive learning environments that elicit contributions from all students by using somatic practices including Laban Movement Analysis, Bartenieff Fundamentals, yoga, and Pilates. Using my knowledge in these areas, I demonstrate how each somatic technique can serve as a distinct pathway for gaining anatomical knowledge. My lessons guide students to acknowledge and celebrate their individual physical capacities while identifying how a concept such as anatomical alignment is transferable to their other styles of Western and Non-Western dance training. This then allows them to expand their understanding of themselves as creative practitioners who can access and apply fundamental knowledges across different domains of dance.

Students learn to strengthen critical thinking skills in my classes by analyzing “how” and “why" behind the decisions they make with their bodies, with effort in time and space. Critical thinking is used in my technique classes to investigate and refine initiations of movement that inform physicality and expressivity of dance techniques. In Dance Composition class, students are guided to explore relationships between their bodies in space by practicing choice-making dependent on their facing, level, and proximity to others. Students enjoy taking turns manipulating the space with their bodies to discover possibilities of relationships. Discussion evolves into interpreting the spatial formations, questioning which formations support the compositional intent of their projects, and why.

I value innovation through the integration of technology in my teaching through hybrid approaches by delivering content both online and in face-to-face course work. These strategies supplement student learning experiences in and outside of class by offering different frameworks for them to engage with material and ultimately deepening their understanding of course content. An assignment intended as an introduction to creative research for my Dance Composition class includes students using their online course shell as a place to collect images and sounds that can serve as inspirations for dance making. Students are prompted to write online reflections to accompany their assemblages by speculating how an image or sound may inform their future compositional choices while practicing course vocabulary to apply to face-to-face discussions.

Through a considered progressive approach to somatic exploration, inclusive discussions, and technical acquisition, my classes offer a broad range of potential experiences through which students can enhance their skills and knowledge. In turn they are able to call upon their proficiencies to advance and refine their self-expression through dance. Students experience challenges and successes in my teaching, which widens their perspectives of their relationships with dance and affords them chances to consider how dance translates into the world outside the classroom. Ultimately, I teach to support my students’ growth in their artistic voices and as unique, individual beings.