AXIS: I understand you are teaching dance in a middle school in the Bronx. What’s a typical day like for you there?
VICTORIA: Most days I spend the morning teaching several different dance classes to students in grades sixth through eighth. I’m a morning person so my students really get the best of me during their classes. Also, having the students active in the morning helps them in their other classes too! In the afternoon, I assist in other subject areas using my general education certificate to assist in English language arts, science, or technology.
When did you begin to get involved with working in physically integrated dance? Was there something in particular that drew you to the work?
I really started to get involved with working with physically integrated dance when I started teaching in the New York City Department of Education. I was drawn to this work when I was completing my Master’s degree in Dance Education at New York University. We had the wonderful opportunity of meeting and having a workshop from Kitty Lunn. She showed me how to strengthen students’ abilities. Also, I took a class with Diane Duggan, which opened my eyes to physically integrated dance even more. In my opinion Duggan is a mastermind, and I still go to her for advice.
What is your favorite memory from teaching?
I was working with a class that included a student who uses a wheelchair. For their winter showcase I choreographed a piece for the entire class to do in chairs. It brought a different element to the arts showcase that made the piece one to remember!
What inspires you as an educator?
My students inspire me. I love to bring what they are interested in and want to learn about into their lessons. I love connecting dance to their daily lives.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a person with a disability interested in exploring the arts?
Do it! Just go for it and don’t doubt yourself.
If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
A seahorse, for sure. Their eyes can work separately allowing them to see forward and backward at the same time. Every teacher could benefit from that! Also, they are with one partner for life, which is super romantic to me. Also, the male is the one that gets pregnant! Sounds like an incredible life to me. Plus, seahorses are beautiful and so whimsical!