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Teaching Philosophy

The human body is a creatively and artistically designed organism, and dance is one of the only artistic fields in which the tools for creating lie completely within it. In and of itself, the body is expressive, defining, and exquisite, yet when placed into and out of motion its meanings and abilities are amplified and prolific. Dance transforms our perfunctory movements into poetic, multifaceted statements that allow for indefinite interpretations and engagements. I’ve been an active mover and extremely fascinated by the capabilities of the human body from a very young age.  As a child I was actively involved in a multitude of sports and artistic endeavors. Regardless of how isolated or full-bodied the action, movement has always attracted and inspired me. For me, dance was the hobby that evolved into a passion, and has wholeheartedly become a part of my being.  I think about, talk about, and do it daily. As a performer, scholar, and educator, I continuously strive to be better at every level of my engagement with dance.

My passion for dance education was sparked during my undergraduate studies. My professors were and remain so much more to me than simply teachers…they’re family, friends, and most importantly beacons of inspiration, artistry, and love. Additionally, they are overtly passionate about the successes of their students, and continuously remind me of the kind of educator I strive to emulate and be!

As a dance educator and choreographer, I aim to provide and encourage a welcoming, safe, and excited environment in which dancers feel supported to experiment with, explore, and cultivate movement and theoretical inquires.  I strive to know dancers not only as skilled movers, but also as individuals, artists, and scholars. I aim to encourage students to break through boundaries, and to not be intimidated by the fear of making mistakes. When teaching or choreographing, I attempt to offer transparency into my personal vulnerabilities when presenting material in an effort to inspire dancers to find the potential values that exist within the uncertainties and struggles of their own movement investigations. Moreover, it is my goal to foster an environment that allows and encourages students to learn through doing, and charges them with finding their own revelations through experiencing, processing, and re-experiencing.  While I will provide dancers/students with a variety of tools to utilize during their investigative explorations, I attempt to instill in them the premise that they are in complete control of their own movement destinies and theoretical inquiries. This is a philosophy that I believe extends past the studio walls – one that is applicable to all educational and life endeavors.  

In class I consider myself a participant-observer, one who actively demonstrates, attempts, and takes risks with dancers, yet is also tasked with observing in order to provide guidance and feedback. As an educator, I subscribe to and thrive in community-based and student-centered pedagogies and environments where the thoughts, opinions, ideas and concerns of all individuals are considered and respected. My teacher and mentor, Sarah M. Barry, once said, “Learning is heightened by the presence of many points of view”. This philosophy is foundational in my practice as an educator, and one that I attempt to convey to my students.

Furthermore, I appreciate, respect, and promote all idioms of dance as valuable assets to our field. Regardless of its cultural, historical, or idiosyncratic foundations, dance should be equally appreciated as education, enjoyment, entertainment, and employment. In my opinion, all dance forms and theories have value in a dancer’s training. Therefore, I challenge students and myself to explore unfamiliar idioms, histories, and modes of inquiry in order to increase awareness and support for the field, broaden our perspectives, and to educate others and ourselves about the array of possibilities dance provides.

Lastly, I acknowledge that my interpretation, understanding, practice, and pedagogy of dance praxis and theory are hybrid creations. These creations remain fluid and are continuously impacted and influenced by my personal experiences, interactions, and exposures. I find it imperative to communicate to my students the origins and foundations from which my movement and theoretical understandings are derived. However, I realize that this may not always be possible. To me, dance is an intertextual construct - one that establishes meaning through and is informed by its relationship to other texts and experiences. Dance will likely never mean, feel, or be the same for any two individuals, but its ability to serve as a medium though which we can communicate, play, and understand, necessitates its existence and fuels my investigations.

Modern Class. Guest residency at The University of Alabama. March 2012

Courses


Courses


Willamette University

Artistic Director & Adjunct Professor of Dance

As the Artistic Director at Willamette, I am responsible for curating department dance performances, as well as producing creative research. Additionally, I'm responsible for teaching practical and theoretical dance courses. 

Fall 2017
THTR 175 - Into to Dance
THTR 181 - Fundamentals of Ballet

 


 

University of Oregon

Graduate Teaching Fellow (GTF)

For all of the courses listed below, I was the instructor of record and was responsible for designing, implementing, and teaching all course material. All of these courses were open for enrollment to dance majors/minors and non-majors/minors at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

 

Fall 2014
DANC 172 - Ballet I
DANC 399 - Hip Hop II
 

 

Fall 2015
DANC 272 - Ballet II
DANC 375 - Jazz III
DANC 399 - Hip Hop II
 

 

Fall 2016
DANC 171 - Contact Improvisation
DANC - 275 - Jazz II
DANC 372 - Ballet III

 

 

Winter 2015
DANC 175 - Jazz I
DANC 275 - Jazz II
DANC 399 - Hip Hop II

 

Winter 2016
DANC 270 - Modern II
DANC 271 - Dance Improvisation
DANC 272 - Ballet II
DANC 375 - Jazz III

 

Winter 2017
DANC 172 - Ballet I
DANC 270 - Modern II
DANC 272 - Ballet II
DANC 372 - Ballet III

 

Spring 2015
DANC 170 - Modern I
DANC 199 - Hip Hop I
DANC 372 - Ballet III

 

Spring 2016
DANC 272 - Ballet II
DANC 375 - Jazz III
DANC 399 - Hip Hop II
 

 

Spring 2017
DANC 271 - Dance Improvisation
DANC 272 - Ballet II
DANC 272 - Ballet II
DANC 399 - Hip Hop II

 
 

 
 

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)

Winter 2015

DAN 443 - Ballet History: From the Courts to Balanchine

Spring 2016

DAN 251 - Looking at Dance

Fall 2015

DAN 260 - Anatomy of Human Movement

Fall 2016

DAN 351 - Dance Composition I

Teaching Engagements


Teaching Engagements


Willamette University, Salem, OR

Lane Community College, Eugene, OR

The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

American College Dance Association, Laramie, WY

Shelton State Community College, Tuscaloosa, AL

Theatre Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, AL

All That Dance Company, Eugene, OR

Dance Temp, New York City, NY

Shirley's Studio of Dance, Sylacauga, AL

University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop, Boulder, CO

Celebrity Cruises, Miami, FL

Crater Renaissance Academy, Central Point, OR

North Bend High School, North Bend, OR

Eugene Ballet Academy, Eugene, OR

That's the Point Dance, Chelsea, AL

Debbi's Dance, Olympia, WA

Student Testimonials


Student Testimonials


The below testimonials were provided by students at the University of Oregon through end of term responses and surveys. 


"Bryant is amazing at connecting with his students and encouraging us to take risks. He encourages everyone to be accepting in class. He plans out organized classes and makes lessons interesting." (Student, Contact Improv, Fall 2016)

"Amazing teacher. Very dedicated to every individual in the class. Very inclusive and open to new ideas." (Student, Jazz II, Fall 2016)

"Bryant's style of movement and teaching is fun and accessible; his demeanor is upbeat and pleasant." (Student, Ballet III, Fall 2016)


"Bryant is always available to answer questions in and outside of class. He cares about students' success, and is always positive when teaching. He is also very knowledgable and skilled in the ballet." (Student, Ballet II, Spring 2016)

"Bryant is great because his choreography is fun and innovative. He checks in on the class to see how we are feeling before every class, and he is enthusiastic about his students dancing to their fullest potential." (Student, Jazz III, Spring 2016)

"Bryant was an awesome teacher and he made me want to get up and dance. He was always enthusiastic and you can tell that he loves what he does. He was always encouraging us to explore new hip hop techniques to broaden our horizons." (Student, Hip Hop II, Spring 2016)

"Bryant is a great instructor, because he is knowledgable and skilled in teaching dance. He is approachable and welcomes feedback from students. Bryant grades assignments fast, is organized, and a fair grader. He constantly checks in with how students are feeling in order to structure his class. His choreography was fun and appropriate for the course level. Bryant is always positive. He creates a safe and supportive community environment for students to dance." (Student, Jazz III, Spring 2016)

"Bryant is incredibly fun, and I don't know anyone else who embodies the word better than him. He is funny, engaging, personable, and approachable, and always made sure everyone felt appreciated and comfortable, regardless of what was going on or the difficulty of the material." (Student, Hip Hop II, Spring 2016)


"He was super enthusiastic and helpful and sweet and awesome and super talented. Best dance instructor I've ever had." (Student, Modern II, Winter 2016)

"Very agreeable, understanding, easy to reach outside of class, is a joy to watch perform, does a great job of breaking down choreography for those with less experience." (Student, Modern II, Winter 2016)

"Bryant did an excellent job of pushing us all to improvise in new and unusual ways throughout the term, while still respecting the fact that we were all at varying comfort levels with the different exercises. He helped create a safe learning environment and always welcomed our ideas, feedback and suggestions for the different prompts and the course in general. I appreciated his willingness to experiment alongside us and try out things that were unfamiliar to everyone." (Student, Dance Improvisation, Winter 2016)