Updated: May 12, 2019
by Aimée Dawn Robinson
May 1, 2019
I was talking to a dancer friend. We were sitting on the floor, drinking tea. A little fire was going in the woodstove. We called out issues beleaguering us in the art world, gossiped, laughed, and told funny dance teaching stories.
As we swapped teaching stories, I realized I started teaching dance to children when I was still a child myself. At the time, I felt so mature, assistant teaching ballet at Lynn Gleich Ballet School in London (Ontario) when I was 13 years old. Hello Mrs. Gleich! I hope you are reading this! You’re the best. Thank-you for everything.
Of course, many, dancers start teaching dance like this -- as kids, for other kids. And as I recall, it’s a very busy kind of teaching, complete with a stash of clean extra socks and underwear for the youngest of our studio’s dancers.
It’s also a very “real” kind of teaching; even as kids, we were/are participating in the passing of dance technique, memory, choreographies, musical knowledge, dance languages, dance systems. As young dancers tend to do, I took my teaching seriously and have continued teaching dance right up till now.
So, why, with 31 years of teaching experience did I feel sheepish when initially communicating about Trace Dance Practice? I know I’m not alone. Many dancers have told me they want to create and share their own dance technique or practice, but feel they “aren’t qualified”.
Let’s set aside the self-defeating habit of imposter syndrome! The reality is, dancers need to share our physical memories, develop and share our own idiosyncratic techniques, and dance philosophies. We also need to make more good documents of our personal and cultural ways of dancing.
Our predecessors, the famous Modern Dance and Contemporary dance trailblazers all around the globe, they were dancers who called their own idiosyncratic ways of moving “a technique” and thus, we learned how to dance great dances from them through time. And will continue to do so.
But, dancers, let’s also remember to emulate the courage of trailblazers, putting their work into the world. I know you are already courageous (you are a dancer after all!) so...
Don’t be shy. Develop your own technique or practice, do it! Dancers are really good at invention and memory, you will be fine! Share what you have learned and what you have invented with us.