As an artist, I have always been interested in sharing my process with others. To my excitement and for the betterment of my work, this often brings me into reciprocal relationships of learning in and with communities- be those communities defined by geography, relationship or restriction, shared interests or vision. I have developed a nimbleness to engage with multiple learning communities in a variety of contexts, which can include one-off encounters to relationships spanning semesters or years.
I am committed to inclusive learning and making that supports a diverse number of people and identities: the processes I lead work towards affirming and safe spaces, anti-racist and anti-oppressive pedagogies and practices, and learning environments that foster a sense of curiosity and generosity. In the studio, in the classroom, and out in the world– these values serve as a foundation from which I move as an artist educator.
Examples of Engagements
From K-12 education to work with universities- from one off encounters to relationships that span semesters and years- engaging students, faculty and staff in academic learning environments has been a significant part of my practice since the beginning. I have been on faculty at American University and Queensborough Community College; I have led residencies at universities and in high schools across the country (from Sonoma State University to Colby College); and been involved in professional development opportunities for middle and high school teachers for the Baltimore County and Prince George’s County public schools.
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Through my interdisciplinary approach to dancemaking, I often weave artistic methods in with other subject areas- bringing an embodied approach to how we learn and connect with content. Through my work with Dance Exchange, I have enhanced citizen science learning programs with park rangers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and collaborated with teachers and professors in disciplines as far-ranging as anthropology, women and gender studies, theater, biology, and education. As an artist educator with Jacob’s Pillow, I have led arts integration trainings for Berkshire-based educators and worked with local high school students and teachers during two-week residencies in the Curriculum in Motion program- a 25-year-old residency program at Jacob’s Pillow that brings choreographers into classrooms to integrate movement and dance to animate and support cross-curricular learning.
Arts + Science Camps
A specific component of arts integration that I have deepened over the years is through my work at the intersection of arts and environmental science. With Dance Exchange, I played an instrumental role in continuing to develop and lead Cassie Meador’s Moving Field Guide program- a nationally-recognized program developed with the US Forest Service that pairs artists and scientists to engage communities in learning more about the places we live through an animated nature walk. As part of this I helped develop and lead artist and teacher trainings across the country, and contributed to the published Moving Field Guide curriculum, supported by the US Forest Service. I have also helped develop and lead STEAM camps for Jacob’s Pillow and Dance Exchange: partnering with science educators, outdoor educators, and other artists to learn about the local ecology. These experiences also build on my work in the Field Camp division with the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s summer programming, helping teach aspects of coastal ecology along the Texas shoreline.
Community Dance Settings
My work in the studio is for movers of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and amounts of experience with dance. I have led contemporary technique classes at Gibney Dance in New York, company classes for METDance in Houston, drop-in improvisational and compositional classes at the Dance Complex in Cambridge (Massachusetts), and been a central voice for visioning and leading classes at Dance Exchange for seven years. While with Dance Exchange, I expanded programming to include more classes, and further developed our audience through my teaching in our weekly intergenerational, family-oriented class; our weekly class geared towards movers and professional dancers; and our weekly class for developing a movement practice.
Photo by Alexis Iammarino, featuring Matthew leading a Moving Field Guide along the coastline of Maine.