“My arrival into dance education has been informed by the integration of my formal university dance training, my field research allowing me to travel abroad to experience indigenous tribal life, my professional work as the Artistic Director of an award-winning Los Angeles-based dance company, and the grass-roots training I received while raised by my mother in a dance home and culture traditionally different from American society. All of these experiences become the source of inspiration for me as I continue my role as Educator after a life-long career of production and performance. This natural transition is a result of my readiness to share my findings, to share knowledge of the field informed by “real life” experiences, and to give voice to diversity & multicultural sensitivity in recognition and celebration of the many faces of the world today.
At this juncture in my professional life, it is important to recognize the training I have received and to gratefully glance back to the teachers who have opened the creative path to provide the initial solid stepping stones (in their work and in their person) towards a career in the arts.
My movement is informed by many mentors with whom I have had the privilege to glean information from. I am influenced by the movement styles and philosophies of my Modern Dance, Choreography and Methodology teachers—Judith Scalin, , Susan Falcon, Jaime Stover, Fran Bowden, Edrie Ferdun, Ann Vachon, Hellmut Gottschild, Karen Bamonte, Philip Grosser, Sarah Hilsendager and Eva Gholson. While studying in the east coast, I was privileged to attend summer workshops with dance luminaries Erick Hawkins and Judith Jamison. My gifted teachers worked in close association with Jose Limon, Mary Wigman, Lester Horton, Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. Combining my formal training with specialized, in-depth knowledge of folk culture received from Philippine Folk Dance authorities Ramon Obusan (National Artist and ethnologist), Wayne Mendoza (Instructor of Philippine Dance at the University of Hawaii in Manoa), my mother Sonia Capadocia (civic leader, schoolteacher, NEA Choreography Fellow, Founder of Silayan Dance Company) along with the creative guidance of veteran actor Muni Zano, Timothy Kuster (Founder of Kidd Street Performing Arts Studio specializing in children ages 3-13), and the late and notable C. Bernard Jackson (Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Inner City Cultural Center), I feel privileged to be able to share the life-long knowledge they have passed on to me to my own students.
For many years, I have traveled to many recognized schools & universities to share this knowledge. As a dancer/choreographer/educator, I have learned to teach ALL levels - from K to college and can meet my students at their skill. Whether it be a little guy from kindergarten who is trying to figure out how his body moves when he hears a beat, to a diffident high school student who suddenly finds interest in Cultural Dance, to training a pre-professional in a college/university dance department or in my Silayan Dance Company, to guiding a teaching professional how to effectively develop and integrate arts curriculum in the classroom, to artistically collaborating with a working artist from another discipline in my stage productions, I can teach and direct from all perspectives having worked in a multitude of settings.
Acknowledging the many ways in which a student learns new material and recognizing that my multicultural dance dramas are rooted in culturally specific dance traditions, it is important for me to have each student experience my creations initially in its totality. In this way, each student is able to experience the work by seeing, hearing, sensing, perhaps feeling; most of my work is emotionally resonant. In allowing them to initially see the “finished product”, whether it be in a performance platform or through a video presentation, it solidly establishes and connects the relationship between artist/teacher and dance student. Students are given the opportunity to create their own questions or perhaps create a sense of universal familiarity, cultural curiosity and hopefully, a sense of excitement. Perhaps they are void of these feelings initially. It is my goal to turn to the diffident student and show them ways in which art can be used to express repressed emotions or to find similarities in things that initially look different from the outside. By doing this, I hope to instigate in them the desire to express themselves fully through movement, enrich them by helping them create new universal perspectives and in doing so, encourage change and empowerment by allowing them to discover and express their humanity through their own creative work.
I believe it is the teacher’s responsibility to guide students through a total, experiential, holistic process. Listening to lectures, seeing performances, writing assignments, executing movement combinations across the floor in the studio or in rehearsals are all necessary ways of assessing and judging how our students are experiencing the materials we present. However, I sincerely believe that students are able to deepen their learning, hone their craft and hone their creative voice when they are in a safe, structured, experimental environment where joy, play, passion, fearlessness & risk are invited and most welcomed. In this way, the creative process is not a judgement of what artistic choice is to be made, but rather a way to truly access each student’s most true & unique self-expression unduplicated by anyone else.
The arts is the only subject that recognizes and celebrates this unique gift present in one sole individual. Ultimately, through its production and presentation into the world, the expression of the work itself and its sense of the ‘beautiful’ and sublime can be seen, enjoyed and experienced by others. This is what fascinates me most as a teacher. I wish to discover and encourage this voice uniquely belonging to each and every student in my class. I wish to create the same solid stepping stones, made by my mentors for me, for all my students as a way of allowing them to create important, rich, memorable, life-long experiences in Dance - either as Dance advocates, educators or brave, responsible artists who take risks by contributing invaluable, extraordinary work to the world…..all while making a huge difference.
I consider myself a life-long student of learning. While I strive for the end result, I am also equally interested in the lengthy process of partnership, collaboration, growth and discovery. Today, I teach to inspire, to connect, to communicate, to impart my knowledge, and to share my love and joy of dance to everyone.”
Background Image Photographer: Rico Mejia
Copyright © 2008 Dulce Capadocia. All rights reserved.