Being deaf is a Culture just like being african american- it not curse but a gift. I just have to learn how to use my gift and understand just like how X-Man in comic book learned to use their power when at 1st they consider their power as a curse. American Sign Lanuage is a language rather just hand movement and sign - it how I comunicate with ALL people in the world. Dance is arts of expression in motion of one heart and visions- rather than just a technique. .
I am very, very, very shocked! To tear! You know for past years I would teach 15 different location running from school to school teaching hearing children or special need children -adult students as well. I love to sub too. I love doing it- many time most place can not afford a dance teacher and more than often I teach for free- I remember back then before Ipod was made I carry my big boom-box from school to school on foot. Sometime it was 4 to 5 different school but each of them were all in a different city or part of town. I run to different school even last month i was teach for california school for the deaf in their class room for free because the teacher want the deaf kids to have something to show on culture day and I taught african dance to children and you know I don't have a car because it a lot work to keep it so I run around town to dance on train and place- and still trying to make sure they( Deaf children who want to dance) have something-
teaching with Drum:
it funny because I would bring drum something to a class sometime to most place i teach african dance at - most of the time kids know about drum and they kno it about keeping the rhythm- but when i taught at california school for the deaf in fremont as guest teacher and of course the student were deaf- but when i hit the drum so hard they did felt the vibration- they would be shocked that they run to the drum to feel it- they put their dance around the drum while i give them rhythm hard on the drum. they kids began to count better with me- they keep that beat in themselve then dance in the form of african dance and began to dance greatly beautiful as they alway did but better understanding of keeping rhythm!
I been never so proud- when they perform for their culture dance-
A gift to Teaching:
I teach pre ballet, hip-hop, jazz and so much more. All ages! I just have the passion to give! I think teaching dance or making up a dance or give time for people to dance their heart out is a blessing to them and a gift because many great dancers I kno in this world do not want to teach or dont like teaching- some would teach if they have too but i do it because I believe i can help get anyone do whatever their in their dance- they tell me what they want to learn and I say ok let figure it out. I believe a teacher need to be a student while they teach be willing to learn something new and figure out puzzle. When I teach my goal is how to make this work for them to do the work of their own expression of dance. I love to teach ballet and care about my student putting their body in correct form - Indeed I stress it but i teach TO USE WHAT YOU HAVE and got from them. If you dont have that fancy "turn out" it ok use what you have.
I teach my adult students because sometime they tell me I dont have a "lot of turn-out" - I said ("it ok, I dont have a lot of hearing either but I use what I have and not having a lot of hearing is a gift to me) because I am able hear thing in the world that other people tend to miss out on. So there must be a reason your turn-out is like that you shall still do great thing with a turn out like that. It a gift to teach.
Teaching is Hard:
As far as how hard it is to be a teach and being deaf. I will tell you i teach after school program, i teach at young women prison in a town call WalNut creek, and other private location. I can tell you it is hard, sometime - you see I am deaf in my Left ear but have small hearing in my right ear and i wear a hearing aid. No matter how wonderful my body maybe build and how well i speak people doubt i can dance because they see my hearing aids. They say show me you can dance? ha of course it any one but i get it mostly because of my hearing aid. They tell me to - "you know I "saw" that you WERE deaf but you area great dancer how do you do that. After they see me dance I am no longer deaf and have the right to teach them how to dance. Alway make me laugh.
Hearing Parent are alway trying to figure if it okay for their chilren to take class forma deaf teacher- after they see their kids smile and dance- it ok! I have 15 kids each ballet class- it get so over full in my class i have to cut 30 student in half and come even more early to work when I teach Pre ballet. I alway believe a good teacher have to watch their young students who are filled with energy all over the room. Most parent tell me that they feel safer with me to watch their childrens and for me i believe it because of my deafness make me be more watchful about everything around me. I want my students safe so I am very watchful.
I play classical music for that class on CD player- when student is ready to began to go a cross the floor - I alway rush back to the speaker to touch it and find the rhythm to make sure my hearing or deaf children are on the beat! Of course it ok to dance off beat but I want to make sure they have rhythm of their heart beat. Sometime classical music d not give big bass- so i have to run all the way to the sterio to get the beat of vibration and then run back to the center of the floor- Which can be a lot of energy taken away from me but no one notice and I enjoy it. In my adult jazz i tell people to find their rhythm what they can feel and hear and dance with that. Even if their are in different count. That music is true to them.
Teach in Studio:
You will find me running to touch the speaker to make sure my professional dancer or advance dancer on staying on the beat when I teach Jazz- The count is very point to hold in my world- I want to make sure everyone is able to have that powerful tool. You will see me doign American Sign Language and talking at the same time. Deaf people would say Hey You are talking - and I say yes I am - I do not Do ESL which is english sign language but I do (A.S.L)American Sign Language and speak english. My speech is not perfect but every hearing person say WHO ENGLISH is perfect. I sign and talk because it important for me that everyone understand what I am teaching- I am aware that students who come take my class are sometime deaf but do not want anyone to know even me. They tend to miss out on everything i am saying if I don't sign and If i don't talk hearing people miss out but funny thing is both hearing and deaf benfit from my Sign Lanuage because they have to be expressive in american sign language use your whole body and not just your hand- You can not sign happy and look sad. If you take your thumb and point or index finger together on both hand and place it in front of your eyes and open your thumb away from you index finger and open your eyes wide at the same time - is the sign for suprise and of course is something shock you - you would open your eyes wide. That true with dance too.
My struggle is people doubt I can teach before they see me teach- It doe not matter where you dance but doubt is there when they see my hearing aid. I make my student laugh and ask my question in dance class and even shame them for not trying hard enough when they doubt themself. encourage them when only my mother enocurse me.
My role model to be a great teach is Dawn James from Skyline High School, ( she was on dance teacher cover) a few year ago! ( when i saw her that was my dream to be like her) Mr savage from savage jazz dance company- it seem he could touch someone and make them dance greater than before- it was like her had some kind of power to get get leg high turn faster. Well I want to be like. Teach time I teach I am inspired but also I know I open up a place where people can take my jazz class with any kind of body type with any kind abitly they too can dance their heart out and be free to dance free to express themselve. My mom is the best teach there is because Patient is what i learn from her love of teaching.
(when I was younger - teachers of different kind would let me take class for free because I came with commiment!- So even today where I teach at Alice arts center many people dont have money to take that class and I do not make money from teaching - I dont make money there- because I have to pay for the studio space but often i use my own money to keep that studio I never turn anyone when they can teach but i expect them to pay when they can. Most of my students pay because they know i struggle tokeep th studio open for them to dance there- but they know if they dont have it they can still come to dance working hard. - i believe in giving back)
Teaching outside the dance studio:
I get email everyday about different students or people for that matter; who ask about me about question related to dance being deaf or african american artist as well. Most of them tell me that many of their teacher do not make the time to explain to them about life as dancer, a student, and artist. I have email students or anyone that I never met about how to make a dance resume, how to get ready for an audition, how to dance and work through the struggle of being deaf and staired at. I believe it important because I alway wished someone else explained to me. I knwo teacher get busy but I believe you got make time for people who need your self to get them moving on their own. I dont believe teaching is alway inside the dance studio - I believe teaching dance everywhere- I use youtube alot to teach sign laugage and dance. I express with dance- and arts- sometime i look like I am doing the most goofiest thing but it to show I am human too. I got to different school or events to talk about what it is to be deaf and speak about them reaching their dreams. My passion to get people to give they can reach their dream and give them a chance to get one step or more to reaching their dream.
I dance for 5 different company, I teach at 13 different location, have 2 company of my own, i teavel to express, go to school at St Mary College of California in the LEAP (program for dancer) - and make time for me to kiss my mom and eat her cooking when ever i am in town.
( PLease excuse my gammar - english is not my 1st langauge as american sign lanuage is my 1st language- ESL mean englsih sign lanuage and you say in sign> I am going to the store. But in ASL which stand for American Sign Language you say - (I go store) or you say ( I go store not) which mean I am not going to the store. I struggle with at in writting but i tend to do peom to get people to understand me. Thank you so much and ask me any questions - I do better there. Also reach Sins In-vaild because they are owner of the video - and yes I posted because i had a great message-