Francesca Jandasek

Teaching Philosophy

Dance is a unique way of forming expression and creating community. Born in Namibia, Africa to Czech Parents who fled Communism, and then emigrating to the United States and attending school as an English Language Learner, I have had to learn how to adapt and succeed in various environments, and how to harmoniously work with and communicate with a diverse population. These challenges have helped me cultivate a unique worldly perspective and deep empathy for others. Dance has provided a refuge and a way to communicate ideas and emotions that I was not able to as a first generation American growing up.

 

With this very personal connection to movement and dance, I strive to create a community in my classes in which students feel encouraged and safe. As a teaching artist, I continuously reflect and refine my communication practices because teaching is communication that occurs in auditory, kinesthetic, visual and sensory ways. I have taught internationally in English, Spanish and Czech, and have experienced first hand how much can be successfully communicated through nonverbal means to a diverse population. After 20 years of teaching, I continue to love working with individuals of all ages, nationalities, ethnicities, abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Starting from the assumption that students intrinsically want to succeed, I offer my ideas, experiences, and encouragement to help them do so. Simultaneously, I have unshakeable confidence that my students have the capacity to fulfill their potential and creatively find ways to achieve their goals, and so I have high expectations and standards in my classes. Class is a process of discovery; I encourage my students to to allow themselves the freedom to make mistakes in order to aid in their progress. Through positive reinforcement, patience, clarity, empathy, persistence, and humor, I strive to create a supportive, focused, and un-stressful physical and emotional learning space where all kinds of learners are welcome.

 

In all movement classes (ballet, jazz, modern, tango, Gyrokinesis, improvisation, and composition), students improve upon technical and performance skills in a logical progression through a conceptual lens in a focused, supportive, and positive atmosphere.  My teaching is informed by modern technique (Limon, Cunningham, Graham, and Horton), ballet technique (Vaganova and RAD), movement systems (Laban/Bartenieff Movement System and the Gyrotonic Expansion System), contemporary techniques (release, floor work, and contact improvisation), and the connection, sequencing and grounding of Argentine Social Tango. Classes focus on alignment, clarity of form, quality of movement, level changes, suspension/release, momentum and traveling through space. Through movement exploration and awareness of parallel and turned-out positions, spinal articulation, gravity, momentum, quality of movement, space, and rhythm, we uncover the foundations for multiple dance techniques. Daily practice focuses on consistent and correct use of the core, developing upper body strength, investigating weight of the limbs, exploring momentum, alignment in parallel and turned-out positions, spinal curves, spirals, tilts and flat backs, and developing spacial awareness.  Students work on developing artistry through exploring dynamic range in phrase work, use of breath, musicality, full range and quality of movement.  

 

Immersed in class, students get to practice perseverance, patience, consistency, a positive attitude, working hard, working smart, self observation, self-reflection and awareness of themselves and others. Students can allow themselves to discover, learn, and express themselves in a safe class community.

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