I´ve never been a fan of diplomas, certificates, degrees and other sorts of institutional pats on the back. Never kept written proof of all the courses I took (I care about what I´ve learnt and it´s clear a piece of paper with my name on tells a big fat zero about it) or cared about external approval. For an Artist, a Teacher and an aspiring author who lives for and from her crafts, this independence declaration may sound arrogant at its best and absurd at its worst.
What the heck! Life´s too short for stupid labels, that is one of the few things I´m sure about. Who cares if you got a Dt. label stuck to your ass?! Well…loads of people care. I don´t.
The Dumb Jungle is rocking: we confuse empty celebrities with artists (they´re NOT the same); we think fame means respect (it doesn´t) and we value APPEARANCES over CONTENTS. No wonder the craft of Teaching is equally messed up.
Most colleges drop data on students heads while limiting their own self-confidence, creativity and freedom of thought and speech. The same way with most dance “teachers” I know: they drop choreographies on students´heads and pretend THAT means they´re teaching.
FLASH (potentially unpleasant) NEWS: dropping choreographies on other people´s heads and showing off what you may think is your incredible talent as a choreographer is NOT TEACHING. We can call it a cool – and dishonest, in my opinion – way of promoting yourself as a dancer and/or choreographer; we can even call it a “movement exhibition” but we cannot call it teaching.
Teaching is about the students, not the teacher. It´s about what they can do, not what the teacher can do (that´s what performances are for: to show what you, the Teacher & Performer, can do).
Teaching is about passing information but not only about that; teaching is about SEEING your students and giving them all you got; it´s about forgetting yourself and offering them the tools that will allow them to grow and rediscover the craft according to their own lives, talents, dreams and unique skills.
Teaching is about Inspiring and Empowering your students – to allow them to think, feel, QUESTION and turn the knowledge you share into LIFE, their own Life.
Teaching is not about creating your own Marketing Clone Machine (an army of little Joana Saahirahs moving exactly like I do: ooohhhh…it gives me the creeps…) but about stimulating INDIVIDUALS who can bring something of their own to the art. It´s about thinking BIG – the generations to come – and not small – you and your own little world.
Above all, teaching is not about showing how much YOU, the teacher, can do but how much THEM, the students, can do. If you´re not ready to leave your ego- diva trip -thirst for applause outside the door, don´t teach. The beggar is not the Master. Don´t even perform in that case (that also requires a grand humbleness: the humbleness of your soul´s exposure/ego dropping).
If all you got to “teach” is your fancy choreography, I suggest you gather (the most patient and kind) circle of family and friends for brunch at your place and offer them your little gift. You may even suggest a potluck: your sister brings the cake and your friend Martha brings the chicken. That´ll be perfect and things will be called by their names. 🙂