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Alissa Cardone - Dance
Whether it's her fascinating variety of professional experience in the field, the array of dance and motion classes she teaches, or even the wide range of backgrounds and interests her students possess, dance professor Alissa Cardone has embraced and encouraged diversity in all aspects of her career.
Dancing professionally in destinations near and far, from Boston to Japan for over a decade, Cardone brought her passion for dance, movement, and mental and physical well-being to Curry College in 2011.
"When I teach, I feel like I am re-learning the material. Curry students have such a passion for dance that it motivates me, and in turn I think it motivates them to keep dance as a part of their lives, no matter what career path they choose after Curry."
Cardone teaches everything from beginner courses like Intro to Fine Arts to more unique offerings like Modern Contemporary Technique, Experiential Anatomy and Language of Movement. And although her lessons are based in a realm of creativity and expression, there is also a bit of elbow grease required.
"I love to create a spirit of inquiry in my classes. I want the students to engage with learning process as much as I do. At the same time, I also expect my students to sweat and be challenged. As a teacher, I have high expectations of myself so I have high expectations of my students as well."
Cardone also has connections to the Boston dance community and uses them as an educational resource to supplement classroom activities. As part of the Curry Dance Studio Performance Series, professional dance companies from the Greater-Boston area are invited to campus to perform a variety of styles, giving students a chance to see live works of moving art.
"There is a mutual benefit for both the students and the performers. Dance companies come in and perform a work-in-progress piece, using the Curry audience to garner feedback, and then in turn, students get to ask questions and mingle with professional dancers and choreographers."
The World History Master Class Series is another burgeoning initiative, in which a variety of professional artists visit the Curry campus to teach introductory level workshops in various dance forms.
Each spring semester, dance students can participate in the annual Curry Dances performance, a fully produced dance concert, where they perform and/or choreograph pieces for the show. Professional guest artists are also invited to work one-on-one with the students.
"From working and collaborating on a show like Curry Dances, students not only network, form strong bonds and have lasting memories but they also get the satisfaction of creating and/or learning a piece of choreography and then performing it in front of the whole school...their teachers, their peers and even professional dancers. It is incredibly rewarding and enriching for all involved."
Dance alums are also invited back each year to participate in the show, giving them an opportunity to not only perform and have a voice in the production, but to also reconnect with old friends and professors.
"When alumni give back to the program, it's fabulous, because it shows that they have learned leadership skills and have been empowered to the point that they want to come back to connect with and mentor our students. It makes me feel great...it's what I live for as a teacher."
Cardone is also aware that not all of her students graduate and go on to dance professionally, but at the same time is confident that the lessons they learn from their experiences in the minor will travel with them throughout their lives.
"There is a type of democracy in the classroom which I believe translates into the outside world. You always need to be aware of what's going on around you, and you have to respect the space of others. Dance teaches you to be a good citizen."
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