Each and every day, I lose myself in the immediacy of the moment, find myself in the joy of the movement. Each and every day, I learn more and more...and, within that new knowledge, realize that I have so much farther to travel.

Shallom Johnson is a contemporary dance artist, visual artist and freelance writer based in Vancouver BC. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Contemporary Dance from Simon Fraser University, and has been active in the Vancouver dance community as a choreographer, performer, and instructor since her graduation in 2004.

Shallom is interested in art in public spaces, site-specific performance, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community involvement. Her street-based artwork, performance and photography examines and documents who gets to make art, where it gets made, and where/how the creative process and product is viewed. In the future, she hopes to explore this theme further via new media and technologies, new methods of creation, collaboration and community engagement.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Q & A Period #2

Alrighty, I'm back! This Q&A Post is for Eva, Jordi and Cori. You can see their questions here.

1. I am definitely enjoying teaching at the Dance Exchange! It is a departure from the classes that I normally teach, and I feel like I am growing as an instructor, learning new methods, exercises and ways of explaining basic concepts. Last year, I was teaching about 25 classes a week, with no days off - preschool dance, pre-ballet, beginner ballet, jazz and hip-hop - and after a while I felt overworked and under-inspired. I felt like I was doing the same things over and over again, and that I was losing interest. I knew that I was a good teacher, but that I wasn't always giving my students the best I could - I was mentally and physically exhausted.

Right now I am teaching about 8 classes every week - to preschoolers, youths, teens and adults. The variety of ages really excites me, as does the subject matter and the experience of teaching alongside other instructors. Co-teaching is amazing, it is so helpful to have someone else in the room with ideas and exercies I've never tried, or new ways of teaching concepts that I already know. I am not teaching as much technique as usual, I am more focused on leading choreography/composition classes. It's a nice, refreshing change, and presents a whole set of new challenges, adapting to these new parameters.

2. My favorite kind of dance is contemporary. Funny side note - seems like the label "contemporary dance" may be a Canadian thing? Everybody here uses the term "modern dance", something I never hear at home, except when referring to a very specific period of dance history.

3/4. Hmm, another question about inspiration. This one I'll tackle at a slightly different angle. I grew up in a family of artists, with two parents who were dancers. As far as I can remember, I always loved dancing, loved moving to music. When I was a kid, my mom opened up her studio - Burns Lake Ballet-Jazz, which was initially called KidzUp Dance - and I studied there until I was 18. Once I had started, there was no question of quitting. For more on inspiration and motivation to keep dancing, please click here.

5. I can't think of anyone whom I would consider my idol. I feel like everyone has something unique to offer, that we all stand apart from the crowd in some way. One person who has always been a huge support to my dance career is my mom, and I will always appreciate the help she's given me.

6. My favorite dancer? Hmm...again, every dancer has something special to offer. I guess if I was going to choose someone, it would be Margie Gillis. She is such a beautiful, amazing mover, with an astounding solo career as a performer and choreographer. She can be sitting on stage - just sitting - and it's absolutely captivating. I took a workshop with her a couple of years ago and was a bit starstruck...she has a very eccentric, unusual personality, to say the least.

Photo: Tony Olivares' The Traveller, at the DC Improv Festival. Tony is a fellow Canadian :)

No comments: