Shannon is passionate about dance education, with 13 years of experience teaching and coaching ballet, pointe, modern dance, contemporary dance, jazz dance, improvisation, composition, dance theory, and creative movement to children and adults in private dance studios, community centers, arts outreach programs, ballet academies, K-12 schools, and in higher education. She has been a guest teacher and adjudicator for school districts and private studios in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Arizona.
GUEST TEACHING – WORKSHOPS, INTENSIVES, AND CLASSES
I believe that a guest teaching engagement should consist of much more than just a “warm-up and choreography.” I am an educator first and foremost, and as such I design every workshop and guest class with your students in mind! I believe in meeting the needs of the students in the room, not just giving the same “one-size-fits-all” class time and time again. My experience as a choreographer and performer allows me to provide authentic artistic experiences and practical skills to students of all ages and levels. I provide tools and resources to both the students and faculty so that they can follow up and further implement the skills covered in our session together. A guest teaching engagement will include:
- Pre-event consultation via online form and follow up email or phone call, so that I can learn about your students’ interests, needs, and goals
- An outline of the workshop lesson provided in advance, for faculty’s reference
- Consultation & Conversation with the students via “First 5” and “Final 5” chats during the class or workshop
- Student reference page with important takeaways from the lesson and resources for future study
- Faculty reference sheet with ideas for follow-up activities, sample lesson ideas, follow up resources, and my contact info for further discussion
- Post-event survey/feedback form
Guest teaching engagements are tailored to your students’ unique needs, from a 90 minute workshop to a weeklong intensive! All classes blend dance technique with somatic practices to work on dynamic alignment, safe and efficient movement practices, and coordination and range of motion. Offerings for beginning through advanced dancers include:
- Modern Dance – Based on Laban and Humphrey-Limon Principles, a traditional modern class including floor work, traveling combinations, and a choreographic phrase (short routine)
- Embodied Dance History – Learn about key people and events in dance history while moving, discussing, and creating!
- Contemporary – Fusion of Ballet, Jazz, and Release Techniques with an emphasis on expression and performance quality
- Ballet – Options include classical technique classes based on the Cecchetti method, Contemporary-influenced classes combining ballet technique with more grounded movements and fluidity in the spine, or workshops incorporating pointe work, variations, conditioning and stretch, and more
- Improvisation and Composition – Discover how to move freely and in your own individualized style, both in improvisation and while creating and refining original choreography
- Jazz – Highly technical “modern jazz” style influenced by musical theatre dance technique, with an emphasis on showmanship and performance quality
My approach to dance education is holistic, taking into account the physical, psychological, cognitive, and social needs of each student and working to empower them to become healthy, motivated, and engaged individuals in addition to strong technicians, powerful performers, skilled researchers, risk-taking artists, and articulate advocates. I believe in a student-centered approach, allowing the students to find their own pathways, to take ownership of the material, to appreciate their potential for personal growth, and to author their own knowledges and forge their own pathways in dance and in life.
To that end, I believe that educators should be supportive, cooperative and understanding, but that there is still a place in education – particularly in dance education – for discipline and respect. I encourage discipline by helping students uncover their earnest desire to fully comprehend and embody the presented material and fulfill the learning outcomes. With proper support and guidance, the desire for success can lead to the discipline necessary to achieve it. It is my job as an educator to meet the students where they are at, make the material as relevant, interesting, and accessible as possible, and give the students every tool available to engage themselves totally in the lesson. Respect in the classroom must be a two-way street: given and received, both by the educator and the students. I believe that respect is a natural result of honest, open communication, an appreciation for the educator’s demonstrated authorship, and an understanding that both parties’ participation are equally important in the educational process.
As a teacher of dance technique, I believe in using playful, student-centered activities, somatics-based practices, improvisation, peer feedback, and verbal and written self-reflection to help the learners develop their own understandings of the way their bodies work in and through the presented material. My approach to modern dance is rooted in Humphrey-Limon, Laban, and release principles, with an emphasis on functional alignment, use of weight, and fluidity of the spine. My approach to ballet is loosely based on the Cecchetti method, with an emphasis on safe rotation, articulate footwork, efficient movement, and luscious epaulment. My diverse background as a mover allows me to cross disciplines within a single technique class, pulling from the best of ballet, modern, improvisation, jazz dance, somatics, and yoga to create a well-rounded movement experience that helps the students reach their dance goals in both traditional and non-traditional ways. I strive to help my students become critical thinkers, creative problem solvers, strong technicians, efficient movers, generous performers, and good people!
Whether for concert or competition, nothing is more exciting than engaging in the choreographic process with new dancers! I have thirteen years of experience choreographing for private studios, universities, professional and pre-professional companies. I specialize in creating exciting, appropriate material for novice and intermediate level dancers. References are available on request.
Photos from “Superluminous,” choreography co-created with Krista Armbruster for students in DeSales University’s Dance Ensemble, 2013.
COACHING AND ADJUDICATION
In private coaching sessions, I can offer a well trained eye and thoughtful feedback for audition preparation, rehearsals, or technique development. Services include private lessons, small group classes, rehearsal coaching, and audition preparation. As an adjudicator, I can review dances for concerts or competition and provide constructive feedback on technique, performance, presentation, and choreography.
Coaching Testimonials ::
“I enjoyed working with Shannon immensely, in three short sessions we
prepared my video audition for the San Francisco Conservatory Summer
Intensive. The material Shannon used was tailored to my strengths and
had a unique style, and I have her to thank for my acceptance into the
program. Thank you so much!”
Consultant and Administrative Services for studio owners and program directors are also available!