Teaching Statement

Holly has a long history of teaching to people of all ages and abilities.  She currently teaches dance, dance on film, improvisation and directs productions at Marlborough School in Los Angeles.  Recently, she taught a dance composition workshop to young ballet dancers in Karlstad, Sweden for the Abundance Dance Festival and returned  as a guest artist to AMDA to set her choreography on the students and also traveled to the University of Utah to teach and set a piece on the third year MFA candidates.  


The foundation of my teaching draws from a background in ballet and contemporary styles. From ballet, I incorporate the cleanliness of line and form. From modern dance, I draw fall, suspension, off balance movement and big generous movement through space. My focus is on building a strong internal foundation for the dancer that includes strength, flexibility, alignment, specificity and awareness. Creating a clear understanding of how to direct energy and apply oppositional forces is part of this foundation.

I feel strongly that dance training should facilitate the development of finding ones own movement voice. Strong, confident dancers develop in to well-rounded artists/performers. At the same time, an awareness of communal support and interaction is essential.

I have a background in theater and music. I like to incorporate elements of various influences in my teaching. Drawing from these other disciplines inspires dancers to understand that there is a wealth of information to draw upon creatively to enhance and influence the quality of movement.

My classes are ripe with imagery. I use imagery to effectively change the way a dancer moves through space. The imagery can come from Ideokinesis to address alignment or the imagery can be imposed upon the dancer to influence how they perceive space and movement.

Teaching is a reciprocal relationship. I have always felt throughout my many years of teaching that I was evolving along with each student. Each person has something that can show me how to become a better teacher, so the foundation of my teaching is to teach with respect for all individuals. I feel it is necessary to stay open to learning in order to be a better teacher.


Class/Workshop Descriptions


contemporary dance

Holly's class integrates release based movement and improvisation. Special attention is given to exploring the completion and sequencing of movement by using gravity and weight to their fullest extent while moving through space. Big luxurious traveling combinations are integrated throughout the class using alignment as a transitional state. Imagery and improvisation are utilized to facilitate new perspectives on movement and dynamics.



Holly works with kids of all ages and abilities. For many years, she taught in the public schools of Chicago doing residency work with Chicago Moving Company. Many of her experiences took her to inner city schools where she integrated language arts, math and storytelling in to her teaching. She has worked with teachers on integrating movement and art into their curriculums and has designed and taught a credited course at the University of Anchorage entitled "Integrating Intellectual and Physical Creativity Across the Curriculum." Holly currently teaches at Marlborough School in Los Angeles.


movement for actors

This work focuses on the development of proper physicality, stretch and strength,and on the activiation and organization of energy. Individuals develop their movement voice, and understand how to modify it to respond to the emotional and physical needs of a character

This class will focus on developing a strong connection to the energy body and proper motion. Emphasis will be placed on organizing and visualizing oppositional energy to achieve maximum power, efficiency and flexibility. We will also address using gravity while in motion and how proper physicality is crucial to using gravity well. ("Gravity is the most potent physical influence in any human life. When the human energy field and gravity are at war, gravity wins every time." Ida Rolf) We will work to establish an inner architectural vision. The energy body concepts explored will then be explored in relation to using the physical body properly. We will address issues of alignment and explore how to use deep core muscles rather than superficial muscles. If you overdevelop your abdominals you may not be using your psoas muscles ("...through sports and exercise, our culture concentrates so much time & money in strengthening the abdominal muscles. We have lost contact with the deeper levels of our structure... Exercises like sit-ups and push ups not only weaken the psoas muscle, causing it to tense and shorten, but also provokes additional stress to the already strained back muscles and diaphragm. This further decreases their efficiency and motility." Liz Koch.) The class will begin with a structured warm up incorporating yoga, core strengthening with a little pilates and release technique. We will proceed with exploring movement through various approaches. We will do exercise combinations, structured improvisations, sound & movement explorations, image inspired movement and so on. This class will work to access a deeper understanding of your movement impulses and your own personal vocabulary. We will also explore character building through physical and energy exploration.


* Develop your own movement voice
* Develop a connection to your impulses
* Awaken core energy-- build a connection to the energy of the pelvis
* Connect and USE the breath to alter physicality
* Create physical characters
* Clarity of interaction
* Develop spatial awareness
* Learn how others perceive you as a performer
* Understand and develop your performance personality
* Gain an awareness of habits
* Organize the pranic body (energy body)
* Understand how to properly use the physical body and develop consciousness, strength and endurance. To Be Physical.
* Communicate to an audience without sending out unwanted unconscious messages

community workshops

Holly teaches a variety of community workshops. (no dance experience necessary)

As part of her Annenberg Choreography Residency, Holly worked with the community on creating movement pieces inspired by the architecture and environment of their surroundings. She has worked with seniors at the Theatre Artaud on creating a performance piece and 3 year olds at The Santa Barbara Museum of Art on creating movement and drawing inspired by music.

She has also created workshops for correctional facility inmates in Alaska, and women involved in a re-integration program after having been incarcerated.



Holly is certified in the GYROTONIC expansion system and pilates.