Inspiring creative practices for holistic wellness and transformation

Theater Professor Promotes the Positive

By Joselyn Castro

Maggie Anderson, an Associate Professor of Theater, is working to make a positive impact on her students.

With the countless auditions that actors must face, one’s personal image can be brought down by rejections.

Professor Anderson is taking on that cost with her classes, which promote motivational thinking and a healthy mind-set.

“So we work on a wide range of kind of emotional places that a character would need to visit,” Professor Anderson stated.

Anderson believes that the different types of movement and energy that she is making her class get in contact with is only going to make them be more confident when they enter any audition room.

X-ray vision

Someone asked me today what I do for a living. I replied "I teach, what's your superpower?" then I expanded by saying, "I'm a professor of musical theater. But really, I teach people to express themselves and heal the world through various movement modalities...oh, and I also make art."

When you teach dance, you have this visceral window to the soul of your students. I knew this right from the start of this calling, and I also knew it was something to be revered. The blueprint of lives through movement, the architecture of the what and the why and the how things got to be in and out of their place anatomically, physiologically, emotionally - you see the spiritual through the material form. X-ray vision. There is a responsibility of delicacy to this work, much like a surgeons scalpel- we must be precise with our language, direct and sensitive with verbal cuing and always secure, respectful and safe with our touch. The cells, skin, bags of bone and muscle and organ and blood memory...There's this strange fruit of intimacy from teacher and student when you deal with the work of the body- in fact most of my students aren't even cognizant of what they reveal in the sullenness of a shoulder, the clenching of a jaw or articulation of a femur bone in hip socket. They twist and turn and bend and jump and hurdle themselves through time and space and all the while- I know when they are Atlas holding up the sky, I know the days that they are giddy light with flirtation and buds of intellectual fever like spring; I know when they are ripe with evolution or their moon cycle, or times when they are desperately covering themselves in a metaphorical shield of armor.

These things would seem mediocre or even unmentionable to the untrained eye - after all, we are conditioned in society to simply forgo taking in the entire individual like the mammals we actually are and mainly take our cues from the mask of the face, but to the dance teacher, there is a transparency of form and beauty in the entire self. And it is my job to illuminate the tendencies, to sculpt the habits and form cellular memory; which sometimes simply amounts to aesthetic, and at its best, turns moments and volumes and chapters and lifetimes of that energy into self acknowledgement, discovery and art.