KDiehl Danceworks

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Community
My teaching journey began over 20 years ago in a pre-professional ballet program in Rochester, New York. As I started teaching around the same time that I began my work as a psychotherapist, I came to view the possibilities of dance education from a holistic perspective. Through this lens, I am committed to cultivating an environment where students are encouraged to explore their thinking, intuiting, sensing, and feeling selves.  Rooted in somatic principles, this approach emphasizes the importance of process over product and directly relates to developing connections to self, other, and community.  Fostering these connections is a hallmark of my teaching practice and I strive to create an environment of openness, curiosity, and support where students are encouraged to develop the motivation to learn and grow from within and understand that their individualized journey is also inherently connected to the learning community.

Connection
Through connection (versus competition), students discover not only a sense of accountability to others, but also gain increased feelings of personal ownership. This offers the ability to view strengths and areas of growth through a process of self-assessment that is rooted in curiosity and intrinsic motivation, rather than judgment. Students become active, thinking bodies, rather than passive recipients of information and understand that their individual learning styles and methods of integration are valued.  I believe that when students realize that their unique way of understanding and applying information is honored, they make connections between movement/dance training and other areas of life.  As a dance educator, I see the facilitation of this process as one of my primary goals. While technical versatility and artistry are essential to succeed in the dance world, I believe that the transferable skills of empathy, collaboration, creative problem solving, and embodied knowing, will offer students the chance to contribute to and thrive in a fast-paced, rapidly changing world.

Transformation
Currently informed by a constructivist paradigm and cooperative learning models, I believe that students gain knowledge and understanding through self-reflection, peer mentoring, collaboration, realistic feedback, and intrinsic motivation. In complete opposition to the “banking” model of education, I assert that when students learn how to learn, they will inevitably be able to transfer this to all areas of life, not just to their chosen field. I invite students to see the world through a lens of multiple possibilities and engage in a process of meaning-making, inquiry, and ongoing critical reflection. Whether I am teaching general education students or dance majors/minors, I welcome all into a space where they are encouraged to honor their individual learning styles and personal uniqueness, connect to kinesthetic sensation/pleasure, and experience the wisdom of the moving body. While this invitation certainly reflects my values, I believe that these objectives offer the tools to discover increased self-awareness, movement efficiency, and clarity across the spectrum of function and expression. As students explore within this lab of discovery, I am clear that it is not my job to "fix" or "correct" them. This is not to imply that students are not offered specific information, context, and rigor. Specificity is essential and I know that students thrive in an environment where trust has been established and expectations are clear. Transformation is possible when students are offered varied experiences and multiple opportunities from which to derive and create meaning. It is also possible when students realize that uncertainty and risk are an inherent part of growth and that it takes courage to step out of our comfort zones. I believe that my role within this journey is to facilitate the understanding that there are many diverse paths towards realizing one's potential and purpose and that these paths will continue to unwind and reveal new possibilities for growth and change.


"In the measurement world, you set a goal and strive for it.
In the universe of possibility,
you set the context and let life unfold."
                                                         -Benjamin Zander, The Art of Possibility