The doorway to learning is joyfulness. When the student experiences their learning in an atmosphere of joyful self-discipline, clear boundaries, and acknowledgment of their own creativity, their desire to learn from others (teachers and fellow students) becomes a natural outgrowth. This foundation of mutual appreciation and respect facilitates the individual, interpersonal, and group aspects of learning to dance. The student experiences a ripening of their kinesthetic, musical, spatial, verbal, and non-verbal intelligences. They glimpse how they can dance in class, in a show, and with the bigger world.
In 1974 I became interested how meditation and dance work together—body/mind connection. I studied several traditional Japanese contemplative arts including Kyudo (Japanese Zen Archery) and Bugaku (Japanese court dance), with true master teachers whose lineages reach back 20 generations, One of the underlying principles of these contemplative arts is mind-body synchronization, which is not based on any particular culture. When the mind and body are synchronized there is less struggle, we learn with less effort and more joy.
I have been teaching for 30 plus years. During those years I have taught children of all abilities creative movement, contemporary dance, beginning ballet and choreography. As an “enrichment person”, I have worked in many public and private schools and programs such as Lexington Montessori, Cambridge Quaker School, New England Home for Little Wanderers, Judge Baker School, Ivy Street School, Clinton Path Preschool (10 years to the present), Brookline School Staff Children’s Center (8 years to the present), the Magic Garden (20 plus years to the present), Adventures Pre-School (15 years to the present), All Newton Music School (20 years), Sudanese Education Foundation (3 years to the present), Performing Arts at the Lincoln School (PALS, worked with the founding director Jody Simpson 6 years), and the Boston Ballet (in the Boston Public Schools).
With adults I have taught dance workshops for pre-school and elementary school teachers, dance therapy students at Leslie and Wheelock Colleges and collaborated with a math teacher at the Runkle School on a dance/math project called Math Dance. Other interests and teaching activities range from teaching high performance driving, helping athletes with conditioning and stretching, and team building workshops for corporations.
Although not currently an active performer, career highlights include USA tours with Christopher Janney and SOUNDSTAIR, performances as a member of The Dance Collective (8 years) including the Essen Germany Arts Festival, concerts with MJT Dance Co., Ipswich Moving Co., Harvard Radcliff Dance Col, Naropa Institute Student/ Faculty concerts, and the Poetry Festival with Allen Ginsberg. Tom has also been a featured dancer in Summerthing of Boston (dance in the parks), Christmas and Spring Revels, and First Night Window Dances. Always committed to sharing the art of movement with the next generation, he performed with Young Audiences for three years, presenting over 200 hour-long shows yearly to elementary schools throughout Massachusetts.