ANDREA GISE: Teaching Artist &  Educator

Modern | Contemporary | Composition | Improvisation 

Ballet | Jazz  | Dance for Camera | Children's Classes

Andrea is currently teaching at:

Pasadena City College | Bloom School of Music and Dance 

She is an Arts Integration Specialist with California Institue of the Arts' Community Arts Partnership, working with LAUSD to integrate Dance into core academic subjects. 

Philosophy of Education

My mission as an educator is to offer each student the chance to have an embodied experience in which they can discover and express physicality and functionality within their creative body.  My goal is to foster an expansion of expression and discovery through the support of an informative, inclusive, and rigorous structure of practice.  With a focus on integrative experiences for the body and mind, my work as an educator encourages curiosity, exploration, and inquiry.  I provide a creative learning environment where the student is not simply fed information, but rather has the chance to internalize concepts in ways which feel relevant, personal, and meaningful towards their development as artists, and people.   

I believe the dance classroom should first and foremost be a place of excitement and growth. As a teacher, I set stakes in fertile ground which students may use to support their artistic and technical expansion. My classroom is a place to learn resiliency, perseverance, and acceptance, a place to be quiet and settled within oneself, and also a place to burst open at the seams with the passion and force of full bodied expression.

Dance Education is wonderful in that it is inclusive, and further enriched by the diversity available in the room. Each student carries with them individual histories, habits, abilities, learning styles, and personal truths. I honor individuality by recognizing what makes each of my students unique and compelling. I feel privileged to have a leadership/mentorship position with young people during such a malleable time in their life. We as educators have the wonderful chance to cultivate creativity and confidence, while creating life long, self-fueled learners.

My teaching find its roots in codified modern dance techniques and has a strong history of compositional study.  On this practical foundation I’ve taken liberties to evolve a personal teaching style that is relevant to the dance world of today. I make efforts to bridge gaps between the studio, and current trends and trappings of today’s society. This translates into thoughtful, capable, coordinated, and efficient dancers who are able to use their skills in the service of adaptability, and creative expression. My classroom imparts a holistic understanding of dance as an art form through physical, intellectual, emotional and aesthetic exploration and appreciation. 

Some say seeing is believing. In an embodied education, feeling is believing. Experiential learning provides knowledge that can be truly owned, rather than imitated or momentarily held. As a teacher, I provide contexts for authentic bodymind experiences, and give space, time and explanation around these experiences for processing and understanding to take place.  I love when I see my students making vivid connections between classroom insight, and their lives at large.

As a teacher, I am committed to lifelong learning, and motivated by the thrill of discovery. As the student’s guide, I help them achieve proper alignment, and create vital connections within the body. I instruct them towards an efficient and clean line by identifying points of initiation and habituating healthy movement patterns. Through repetition my students come to experience the satisfaction of coordinated mastery.

Through group learning students improve upon cooperative and interpersonal skills, encouraging diversity of thought, and teaching respect for the community’s shared spaces and standards. I cultivate active listening and communication as we engage in feedback and critique, and through group improvisations students are able to share in the pleasure of play.

As a multi-media artist, my work requires me to navigate the intersection of the digital world, and the somatic world.  On one hand, I am able to offer teachings around interactive technology, dance for camera, and digital connectivity. On the other, I am able to offer a retreat from that very thing.  My goal is to nurture student’s ability to function in both these worlds; A student who is both savvy, and sensitive. A student who, when faced with stimuli, is able to make choices that are purposeful as opposed to simply reactionary.

The dance studio is more important now than ever.  I help students hone their attention span, create active listening skills, and navigate spatial and sensory territory. Body to body knowledge is a precious teaching method that can’t be replicated by technology. However, technology is exciting as it allows expansion of dance aesthetics and connects a global dance community.  It is a tool to be used with awareness. This is part of the dialogue I offer as a teaching artist.

As artists and educators, it is our job to prepare students for a dance career, yet we must not negate the value of the skills we impart and their application to the world outside the studio. From my students I ask for accountability, and personal investment. I invite them to build instinct, self-trust, resiliency, and adaptability. I focus them to perceive patterns and structures, recognize detail, and regard time and space. My belief is that through their training they gain a greater awareness of themselves and their surroundings.

A dance education allows for the physical body and the intellectual entity to become unified. This is the origin of my most valuable understandings and discoveries. I hope all my students may come to share in this knowledge and experience the indescribable joy of dance.