Teacher Training: The Eveoke Dance Theatre Two-Year Teacher-Training Program

The Eveoke Dance Theatre’s two-year Teacher-Training Program (TTP) was created in the fall of 2005 for Eveoke teachers and other dance educators looking to further their expertise, particularly those who want to bring dance into academic classrooms and other community-based settings. “The philosophy of the program is that every student and teacher has the capability to be a limitless artist who uses intention both in their life and in their dance,” says Program Director Erika Malone. The 6,500-square-foot San Diego, California–based theater also houses a professional modern dance company and performance group, apprentice and youth performance groups, plus on-site dance classes. It  conducts more than 50 weekly classes in San Diego outreach programs, as well.

TTP participants will create lesson plans and choreography, and learn how to blend dance elements with core academics, while taking technique classes in modern, ballet, jazz, yoga and hip hop. The course covers a range of teaching aspects like classroom management, personal growth, leadership and community building, using intention and imagination, and the multiple intelligences theory developed by Harvard professor Howard Gardner. There is a strong focus on teaching students with low self-esteem, emotional issues and disabilities, as well as peer-based support and teamwork skills for working with other educators.

By the end of the program, all teachers will have acquired a classroom “tool bag” packed with games, icebreakers, reflective activities and creative warm-ups. “I am way more organized in my teaching now,” says TTP graduate Becky Hurt, a current Eveoke company dancer and teaching artist. “It is easier for me to shift my teaching when something isn’t working because of all the tools I can instantly pick from.”

But it’s during the program’s culminating final project where educators will first be able to test out their newly learned skills. “Each teacher is asked to create a final class that the whole Eveoke community is invited to take, and they may design it as they choose as long as it reflects who they are and is connected with the Eveoke mission,” says Malone. “These classes are always deep, layered and very individual.”

Program Statistics

Prospective participants: Established dance teachers and educators-in-training looking to work in studios and schools. “Dance teachers looking for inspiration and connection are welcome to apply, and those who feel solid in their technique but want to bring more purpose, meaning and/or social activism to their lessons are a great match for the program,” says Erika Malone.

Date/time: Fall 2009; program runs from fall to spring, with summers as an integration period for supervised assisting and/or teaching. Some students are accepted later in the semester, but a new class matriculates each year. Those waiting for admittance may take classes or audition for the performing group or apprentice company, pending a consultation.

Location: Eveoke Dance Theatre, 2811-A University Ave., San Diego, California 92104

Registration: The Teacher-Training Program is a full-scholarship program that includes all classes and training for students in good standing. “Housing is not provided, but we may be able to connect participants with housing resources,” says Malone.

Accreditation received/requirements: A certificate of completion, pending all requirements are met: 80 weeks of TTP classes, 480 technique classes, 240 elective classes, 90 percent of homework assignments turned in and evaluation of annual final projects. (Students must assist two classes per week each year and/or teach one class per week, depending on experience. They must also take two technique classes and one elective per week.)

Director/founder: Malone received her BA in dance and theater from Sarah Lawrence College in 1998, and has performed in more than 60 local, college and professional theater productions. She began studying modern dance with Eveoke’s founding artistic director Gina Angelique in 2002. Before then, Malone taught theater and dance through the Pennsylvania-based Ensemble Theatre Community School’s outreach programs. She has also choreographed and directed works for several local companies.

Fun fact: Eveoke partners with a local organization, Kids Included Together, to offer specialized training in working with special-needs youth and adults.

Contact: Erika Malone, program director, Eveoke Dance Theatre; 619-238-1153; erika@eveoke.org; www.eveoke.org

Photo by Anthony Rodriguez, courstesy Eveoke Dance Theatre 

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