Presently, I direct an interdisciplinary Master of Fine Arts program in choreography and visual arts at a Wilson College, a school rooted in the liberal arts tradition. This is the setting where we can best foster the archetype of the artist-scholar through training in both academic and practice-led scholarship. In fact, training in dance, theatre, and visual art is not simply about preparing an artist to make their way to the stage or gallery. The process is, at its core, about helping a person better understand—and communicate—their own humanity. That understanding led me to embrace postcolonial perspectives and practices in both education and artmaking. This perspective blends well with contemporary educational theories regarding collaborative learning environments and varied teaching techniques; and places an even keener focus on students developing a high level of critical thinking skills, as well as the ability to identify and articulate their own sense of moral and aesthetic values—both undergraduate and graduate levels.
When possible, I utilize an anthropological perspective to demonstrate the connectedness of artforms as expressions of the human condition across socio-cultural backgrounds. This provides room for expression of diverse experiences and perspectives, creating a broad-based forum for individual and communal discovery and dialogue, particularly where matters of race, gender/sexuality, and faith are concerned.
Versatility is crucial in our current artistic era. For dance artists, that means athletic virtuosity must be complimented by pedestrian virtuosity. To that end, I expose my students to a breadth of training modalities and theories.
Because artists across disciplines share the same instrument—the human body—I am interested in breath as a core motivating factor in artistic training. Artists must be present in the moment—they must be aware—in an integrated body-mind-spirit. In movement training, I utilize the Bartenieff Fundamentals (that help connect with natural movement patterns) and a variety of other somatic practices to support self-awareness and encourage the artist to approach awareness as a constant, conscious state of doing. Mostly, I am interested in movement efficiency, in getting out of the body’s way, and expressing what is essential in the human spirit. We move from there, exploring space and place, time, memory, moment, and self.
Additionally, I am a certified Reiki Master (a receptive somatic practice), and teach meditation/visualization techniques. In general, I strive to help students develop into healthy, strong, skillful artists and freethinking human beings. As an educator, my job is to give my students a solid foundation so that they may understand the past and set a clear destination for their future(s) while being rooted in the present. I believe, ultimately, that when exceptional persons work toward excellence, they can achieve the extraordinary.
Please visit the Classes︱2017-2018 page for a list of my current classes, workshops, and lectures.
– Joshua Legg
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