Lori Lee Silvaggio
You gave my movement language and taught me how to communicate through dance. Your classes shaped not only my body, carefully crafting each muscle through rigorous technical training, but also my understanding of what it takes to become a professional. You never let me weaken or give up, finding opportunities for me to grow amidst doubt and injury.
My time with you was perhaps the most transformative. Your gift was to help me find my voice and to show me that I had something to say. You advocated for artistry and instilled a great respect for the concept of process. I feel so blessed to have studied during your tenure at Juilliard, the program you crafted brought together individuals, teacher and student alike, and placed authenticity above employability.
Through our time together I rediscovered the notion that dance is a performance art. You showed me how to share my dancing, to perform. You also shepherded me into the profession of dancer and taught me to respect dance, not only as a verb, but as a noun. I will always be thankful for your wisdom, humbleness, and insistence with a shrug that I decide for myself.
These teachers were not only important for my career as a dancer, but were also incredibly important in my decision to teach. Their actions were decidedly void of ego and while it is perhaps naiveté to assume that their purpose was solely to make me the best dancer possible, what's important is that I felt that desire from them and that support.
I now aim to pass along their knowledge, their gifts to me and as a teacher I am humbled and appreciative of the opportunity I have. Dancer's place not only their bodies but their hearts into the hands of their teacher, asking for guidance and instruction despite the risk of failure and humiliation. For this I thank my students and their families for the trust and faith they have in me.