Voice of a teacher: What Am I Doing Here?!
Have you wondered: What do I teach? Do I really teach? Who am I in my role as teacher?
by Alex Svoboda, February 2018
Alex Svoboda is the founder of freedomDANCE and an Open Floor and 5Rhythms teacher from Russia, based in the UK.
I see the main things we do as: Instruct, Inspire and Witness.
We open doors into the world of dance meditation to those who may have not had any movement background. We give information, explain how things work, offer options and demonstrate.
At freedomDANCE, we view our role as Instructors in encouraging the use of three primary resources:
Body: Is the whole body used? Is the centre actively engaged? Is the face relaxed?
Space: Is the whole space being used? Is there a variety of levels relative to the floor? Can the dancers turn?
Partners: Can the dancers move with a partner or in a group?
A professional dancer may take these things for granted. However, it is these ‘simple’ things that transform the dance.
Once the spirit of transformation is out you can't contain it! Dance is such a catalyst for creativity and personal growth! The path of transformation is not always easy, and our inspiration supports our dancers.
In this role, it is more important who we are than how much knowledge we have about movement. It helps to have been through a lot in your personal work as a mover to support the dancers as they are live through their own transformations and find both challenges and breakthroughs. We bring in everything we have: experience of relationships, knowledge from our other careers, interests, travels…
When we lead a session, we set out to embody an attitude of acceptance and non-judgement. It is really our principle challenge and mission – not to give answers to our dancers' most burning questions but to give them permission and space to find for themselves what they need. We need to tell less and ask more questions.
It turns out that our work is more complex that it may seem! Find how to share knowledge and skills. Be a well of inspiration. And to be non-judgemental witnesses!
I am naming these three roles not to make us worry about the seriousness of our responsibility! My hope is that knowing them can help us develop our awareness and to grow as teachers. Which of the teacher’s hats am I wearing now? Let’s ask ourselves this question and remember to change hats when needed!
(Originally published in February 2018 Newsletter)