I am dedicated to the mission of integrating art and science. It is a common perception that art and science are separate entities, but there is much to be gained when these fields inform one another. Upon viewing the world as a neuroscientist and as a dancer, I am driven to demonstrate how art can drive science by enhancing a scientist’s curiosity and intuitions, and how the scientific method offers a systematic framework to mature an artist’s talents. To achieve this, I draw inspiration from the principles of organized movement taught in dance lessons to independently research how the brain and body communicate during purposeful movement by building models and simulations, and I use my findings to structure dance lessons offered to the public. I am committed to open communication of scientific research and will make my discoveries free and available to everyone through blog posts, open-access publications, YouTube, and software on GitHub.
A central component of my mission is to bring the joy of dancing to the world by teaching dance to adults with little or no dance experience. Through these lessons, I hope that I will be able to spark curiosity in you towards self-discovery. Learning how to dance is about learning to question, test, and undo pre-conceptions such as, ‘I don’t have the correct body type’, ‘I don’t have the right level of fitness’, or ‘I am uncoordinated’. After training as a scientist for over 14 years, and as a dancer for over 7 years, I have come to believe that every human being is a dancer and a scientist. It is just a matter of systematically enhancing each of these two qualities that we all possess, and I strongly believe that this process should be hugely empowering, filled with self-discovery!
What should I expect to learn from your dance lessons?
I offer three types of lessons to individuals, couples, and groups, tailored to meet your individual preference for approaching self-discovery:
1. Basics of dance
This lesson type is perfect for you if you are looking for a way to relax, just have fun, or learn/try something new with a friend or partner! In this lesson type, we will learn the basic steps of a dance of your choosing! Dances currently offered: Rumba, Cha Cha, Samba, Jive, Swing, Waltz, Tango, Quickstep, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz
2. Body (anatomy)-informed movement
The goal of this lesson type is to make your dancing feel easier by improving your balance. This is the perfect lesson type for anyone who already knows some basic steps, and is looking to improve their technique.
In this lesson type, you will learn about moving your body in a way that makes sense from the perspective of your musculo-skeletal structure. You will also learn to pay attention to different proprioceptive signals within your body with the goal of sharpening your instincts about what makes a good movement (‘this feels right because…’). It turns out that in the long run, movements that make sense anatomically also end up being executed well, thereby making your dancing look beautiful, while still allowing your personality to manifest through your dancing!
I have found this approach to dancing, and movement in general, very satisfying because of how well it generalizes. For example, improving my understanding of how my arms work has helped me get better at push-ups, and pull-ups, and even pick up new dance styles quickly! For several years, I kept telling myself that I couldn’t do a pull-up because I just wasn’t fit enough. While that may have been true to some extent, what ultimately helped me do my first pull-up was a better understanding of how my arm movements are related to movements within my upper body and my spine – small, but salient movements that help engage the core and other big muscles effectively!
3. Dancing with a partner
In this lesson type, we will focus on general principles for effectively connecting and communicating with your partner during any partner dance. These principles are targeted towards making your partner dancing feel easier, and effectively using each other’s balance to enhance each other’s performance, while not disrupting each other!
I’m interested! Details, please?
I teach at Stepping Out studios located in Manhattan. I offer private lessons to individuals and couples (you get all the attention), as well as group lessons (groups get their own room in the studio during the lesson).
My fee for individual/two-person private lessons is $30 for a one-hour session if you are a student, and $45 if you are earning (each of you would pay half of this if you’re taking the lesson with a friend or partner). There is also a floor fee of $20 per lesson that you pay the studio.
If you prefer learning in a group with your friends, family or colleagues, we can do that in a private room in the studio. This type of lesson is well-suited for corporate team-building! My fee for a group class in a private room is $120/hour (studio rental fee included). This is suitable for group sizes of 3 to 30 people.
I also have students that prefer to learn in the privacy of their house. This can be arranged as well!
You can sign up for a lesson by contacting me with the preferred time slot(s) (contact). Feel free to contact me with any questions or feedback! My current availability is indicated in the calendar at the bottom of this page.
I hope to get a chance to interact with you!!