We can't be creative if we refuse to be confused. Change always starts with confusion; cherished interpretations must dissolve to make way for the new. Of course it's scary to give up what we know, but the abyss is where newness lives. Great ideas and inventions miraculously appear in the space of not knowing. If we can move through fear and enter the abyss, we are rewarded greatly. We rediscover we're creative.
A student gave me the above quote and it reflects a primary principle of my teaching philosophy. It is my job as a teacher to lead my students into the darkness, the place of not-knowing, and to cultivate freedom and curiosity on their path to self-discovery and transformation. As my former teacher, Daniel Stein, used to say, “I’m just the one holding the flashlight.” At UMKC I teach Group Practice, a daily morning warm-up, as well as a progression of physical theatre techniques which include Mask, Commedia dell’Arte, Clown, and Epic Storytelling. In all of these courses I use the guideposts of awareness, challenge, self-assessment, collaboration and play to engage the students in self-learning.
As a teacher, I embrace the opportunity to influence students on their transformative journey. This journey begins with awareness of their physical selves and partners in space, and leads to a ferocious, confident play and ultimately the authority to command the stage in any style. With this teaching opportunity comes the responsibility of owning a role in their educational and artistic development. To model the kind of learning that I promote, I must be available to grow alongside my students, to reflect on my choices, to continue to train and research in my field, and to be open to the discoveries that lie beyond the abyss of not-knowing