The fusion of our creative process and teaching process provides us with a critical lens by which to view and further understand our artistic work. These two methods, both, revolve around the current community in the room. Who is here? Who is this work for? Why is this interaction happening? Why today? Why right now? Why is it necessary?
As teaching artists, we bring our professional experiences into the classroom and in turn the classroom/community in which we are teaching reenergizes and re-sparks our honest desire to create and communicate meaning. We find this exchange necessary, rewarding, and always inspiring. For we believe the greatest teachers and artists are in a constant state of growth, of discovering and rediscovering. It is this constant growth, which allows for greater transformation within students. In order for there to be balance there must be an input and an output; a giving and a taking. An exchange of thoughts, movements, ideas, and understandings.
For the past 9 years, teaching within the community about which we make our work has become absolutely necessary for the creative process. One would not function without the other. As an artist and human being, community is vital. It informs the work. Most times, it is the work. It brings forth meaning.
We see great similarity between the environment we cultivate when creating work and the environment we embrace when teaching. In our creation process, collaboration is key. Building a community of artists, designers, composers, technicians that together envision, challenge, and further the original concept is vital. The minds of many further the initial thought of one. Again, the input and output, the exchange of information, is balanced while still allowing for our guidance to oversee the creative process. The same experience is fostered in our classes. The sense of community shines through. But just like in our choreographic or cinematic processes, the independent thinker, creator, collaborator is nurtured and encouraged. The community awareness embraces the independent, creative learning environment by allowing for the student to feel support, positiveness, and trust from their fellow movers, which in turn feeds risk-taking, innovation, confidence, and empowerment. This artistic and classroom constructs yields great transformation and progress within our students, our collaborators, and ourselves. The discoveries and breakthroughs witnessed along both journeys are what continuously enrich our deep passion for our artistry and with that always comes our teaching.