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Teaching Philosophy

Brooklyn Draper



I believe that the value of learning occurs when we are true to ourselves. My teaching philosophy is grounded in this belief. It is my responsibility to provide knowledge, tools, and experiences for my students while encouraging individual inquiry with no expectation that they will become replicas of me. I value individual identity and integrity within myself as the facilitator as well as in my students.  Learning occurs when we are given the freedom to personally investigate the material while also staying on the task at hand. This is facilitated through a respect for curiosity and regard for the individual, differing learning styles, and lived experiences. I believe in being empathetic, ethical, and true to my own identity. I find value in being a perpetual student myself, and I continue to remember the difficulty, excitement, and vulnerability inherent in learning.


I believe in creating a safe educational space that welcomes a conversational community of voices from diverse backgrounds. Equity and hospitality within the classroom encourage individual implementation of the material being taught, and these approaches acknowledge that all are welcome. As a teacher, I strive to present material in various learning styles that encourage greater learning and risk-taking.  


While I believe in nurturing, I am passionate about rigor and have high expectations of my students. There must be contributions to the learning environment by both teacher and students. I not only expect the students to be eager and curious, but I also expect myself to be an active learner within my own classroom. I insist on students to move fully, discuss thoughtfully, and contribute to an accepting community. High standards, along with trust and assurance, lead students to achieve their goals.


Teachers are improvisers within every moment of teaching. Observing, listening, and decision making are all done concurrently. Moments and decisions cannot and should not be replicated identically in the future just because they worked before, but they should be continuously explored and assessed according to the present situation.






My technique classes, informed by my Laban Movement Analysis Certification and principles of kinesiology, focus on alignment, body connectivity, dynamic effort qualities, exploring different degrees of flow, and investigating many approaches towards the use of space. I strive to challenge students by asking them to explore both simplicity and complexity within their own practice and technical facility. I am interested in taking habitual patterning and exploring the possibilities that are outside of what is already known.


My somatic classes are rooted in the exploration of the Patterns of Total Body Connectivity (PTBC’s). Within the PTBC’s, developed by Irmgard Bartenieff and furthered by my mentors Peggy Hackney and Janice Meaden, I am interested in facilitating the possibilities of how these developmental patterns can influence students in discovering ease, efficiency, and support in their movement. This practice is supported by integrating concepts of effort, space, and shape into the language and approach of discovering connectivity. I strive to assist students in finding relationships to make whole body connections and to begin noticing habits and making choices about them.


My theory classes are rooted in conversation, questions, creativity, communal participation, and active engagement. I strive to encourage students to participate in many types of ways: verbal, written, small group activities, lectures, and by placing value on student ideas. Theory has the power to inform our physical practice in noticing who we are in this world with lived experiences and personal identity markers. Connections of ideas are encouraged along with realizations of self to other and other to self.


My kinesiology classes are highly influenced by my mentor, Pamela Geber Handman (“See It, Name It, Move It”). I strive to enlighten students on the specificity of skeletal structures, muscles, actions, alignment, and proclivities while encouraging their realization of the complexities of each distinct body. Most importantly, I want students to apply the information across the curriculum and across life experiences, allowing for a more informed physical practice and more informed understanding of their own bodies. I have a passion for kinesiology and anatomy, and my hope is to give my students the opportunity to understand and speak about their bodies with more clarity, reduce injury, and elongate performance careers.






Lastly, I believe in the joy I have for dancing and learning. This is why I also find joy in teaching. As a teacher, I strive to be myself. I do not want to hide my uniqueness, but I also want to keep the love and delight I have for dance genuine and apparent. There are days of frustration, failure, discomfort, and chaos, but I remind myself that learning can take place in all states of being. I love dance, but I also don’t take it so seriously all of the time. I believe that varying levels of understanding, approaching, and appreciating dance create a more evolved understanding of the self. My ultimate hope is that staying true to who I am as a person will invite the students to do the same for themselves and invite them to delve into their own curiosities.

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