students on stage

Teresa Heiland

Teresa Heiland
School of Dance, Dance Education and Graduate Somatics

When did you begin teaching at UNCG?


What attracted you to the position? Why this university/program? Describe the moment you knew UNCG/CVPA/School was a great fit for you.

I have long been interested in UNCG because of the strong reputation of the School of Dance. It is a well rounded School of Dance that focuses on dance education, teaching credentialing, undergraduate and graduate student development.

Favorite course or subject matter to teach and why?

I enjoy teaching Laban Movement Analysis to undergraduate and graduate students because it is a tool that supports communication, inquiry, analysis, play, and curiosity across the community and around the world. It helps to make connections and provides ways for us to question our understanding.

What makes UNCG, CVPA or your School special? Why do you think students should choose us?

The diversity of the School of Dance faculty brings awareness to our students of culture, social issues, history, screen dance, embodiment, somatics, dance education, critical theory, and a wide range of dance forms and choreographic approaches. There is a world of experience among the educators here and they care about the students. The variety of degrees, from MFA, MA, BFA, BA to the teaching credential provides each person with a degree that can be shaped to their career needs. Also, there are many performing opportunities at this School of Dance, from concert dance to black box type projects, to site specific works taught by professionals, graduate students, undergraduates, and guest artists. If a dancer wants to achieve the teaching certification and teach in the public schools, this is an ideal place to get your degree. There are 3 dance education professors to guide you in course work, place you field placements, and help you to achieve your Student Teaching goals. For those who have already completed an undergraduate degree, the new PBC/PBL certificate is available for those who have already completed a college degree and wish to get the teaching credential to teach in the schools. The Post Baccalaureate Certificate is a Dance Teaching Certification for you if you have already graduated and are returning to get the teaching certification. Each degree can be shaped to serve the dancer’s goals.

Favorite memory at UNCG?

[I’ve not been here very long] I think my favorite moment was when a student came up to me and said, “I’ve danced all my life and no one ever taught me this system of communication before with Motif Notation. This is amazing. It all makes so much sense. I want to know more about this. Can you keep teaching me?” And so I keep teaching him more about the subject and we made a dance using it. The system is called Language of Dance Motif Notation.

Advice for future students who want to be successful?

Success for a dancer includes wellness and feeling centered. So you must spend time with people who make you feel happy. Ask for help when you feel like you are not sure how to do something. Explore different avenues because there are many things you can do with a dance career. Figure out who your mentors are by listening and asking questions. Suggest what you want, write it down, map out how you might make that happen, organize steps to do that, and take action each day in some way toward that goal. Always remember that dancers need to find balance between outward goals and inward self-care.

If you were a student in your program now, what would you do differently from your actual undergraduate experience or what might you pursue that you didn’t?

I would have tied my vocal experiences with my dance experiences at an earlier age. I have created voice and movement works as an adult and I would have liked to have done this amalgamation at an earlier age. I didn’t know it was possible due to lack of exposure.

Most proud career moment or experience:

I think staging Vaslav Nijinsky’s “L’apres midi d’un Faune” from Labanotation to a live 74-piece orchestra is the most complex feat I have ever produced.

If you have an intriguing research, collaboration or community-based project you want to share about, please do so in this space.

1. I just finished creating a dance with 4 students who collaborated with me to create the dance using Language of Dance Motif Notation floor scores. This dance project was initiated by the students who wanted to explore the Motif Notation to see what the outcome would be like. We just performed the piece in the Spring Dances concert to music by Jad Abumrad. 2. I am currently writing a book about dance pedagogy and two students–an undergrad and a graduate student–are working with me to develop materials for it. This is a huge project for me and I’m so excited to be almost finished. The book will be published by Intellect Books and is called Leaping into Dance Literacy through the Language of Dance.

Is there anything else you believe is important and would like to share with prospective students?

The students are caring and look after each other. The community is kind and people want to be learning together here. If there are ever any needs, advisors are available to point students in the right directions. It’s a healthy place to figure out your dance and dance education career.

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