Instructor Spotlight

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Many of you know Chris Bell as a company dancer for ETD but he is also an incredible instructor for our ETD Outreach program! He has taught workshops at PCMH and The Acacia Network at various sites in The Bronx and Brooklyn and he has also co-curated programming for ETD Outreach in collaboration with Lantern Community Services last year. He is an extremely talented and giving instructor.

When did you begin dancing? Has being a dancer always been your dream job?
I began dancing at a musical theater day camp when I was 5. Dance has always been a constant in my life since then.

When did you join ETD Outreach? Where do you teach for us? How has your experience been so far? 
I joined ETD Outreach when I joined the Main Company in 2016. I have gotten the opportunity to teach with the company in Mexico and Upper Manhattan with Lantern Community services where we got the amazing opportunity to perform and be a part of the Uptown Arts Stroll. 

What other dance, theater, or film companies have you worked for or taught with? 
In addition to ETD Outreach, I have also taught for Dixon Place, DanceNow/NYC, Pascal Rioult Dance NY, Marquis Studios, and TADA! Youth Theaters, The American Theater of Harlem, and Marble Collegiate Church.
In addition to ETD I also dance for dendy/donovan projects, Gaspard&dancers and my own company CHRISBELLDANCES

What is your ultimate goal as a professional dancer/instructor?
I would love to have my own successful dance company, maybe choreograph a Broadway musical, and get a Tenure Track professorship somewhere

Describe your style of dancing and teaching. What artists have impacted you the most?
My style of dance and teaching is rooted in fundamentals. A clear understanding of the building blocks of movement gives the student the ability to create for themselves which is the ultimate goal. 

What public figure has had the biggest influence on you and why?
It might be naive but I believe the people closest to you influence you the most so I am influenced a lot by family and friends who inspire me daily.

Do you have a quote or mantra that you live by?
"Do Good" and/or "Too much work for not enough pretty"

What's been the largest obstacle/struggle in your life to becoming an artist in NYC? How did you overcome it?
Just living in NYC is a struggle but trying to do that while being an artist is exceptionally difficult. But, I have found that if you utilize your network, stay focused on your art, do anything and everything you feel comfortable doing that will help you get to the next level, occasionally breath and Work... Hard. 

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Instructor Spotlight: AJ Guevara

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AJ Guevara has been a company dancer with ETD since 2016 but this is his first year as a movement instructor with ETD Outreach. No matter the population, AJ has an incredible ability to relate with anyone! He is a natural. We are so excited to have him on #teamETD. Here is a little about him and his life in NYC as a professional dancer...

When did you begin dancing? Has being a dancer always been your dream job?
I discovered dance at a young age, recreationally enrolling into Hip-Hop as a supplement to my martial arts training. After a prolonged hiatus, my intrigue for dance was reinvigorated as a teenager. It was then that I began formal training to eventually persue it as a career.  The trajectory with dance was somewhat accidental; In my youth, I remember being attracted to to the fields of animation, architectural design and aeronautics. 

What other dance, theater, or film companies have you worked for or taught with?
This is my inaugural season teaching with ETD. Currently, I teach in the Bronx at one of the Acacia Network sites.  My experience has been very fulfilling.  It’s great to share the space with individuals who are discovering the joys and possibilities that movement brings to the body and mind.
Over the span of my 15 year teaching career, have been blessed with opportunities across the globe.  Some affiliations include AXIS Dance Company, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane,  Gibney Dance, Company E, Fairfax County Public Schools,  NBCUniversal, and U.S. State Department

What is your ultimate goal as a professional dancer/instructor?
My goal as an instructor is to share the benefits of movement as an outlet for creativity, communication, and self-practice.  I also thrive to spread the idea of movement as an all-inclusive modality that can bring people together regardless of ability, background, or experience.

Describe your style of dancing and teaching. What artists have impacted you the most?
My dance style is a product from a cornucopia of influences.  I would say that primarily, it is a fluctuating blend of Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop, and Yoga. On the teaching side of things, I take an approach that has a progressive flow with task-oriented movement explorations. I also implement a somatic approach to a kinetic phrases to encourage an individual experience for everyone present

What public figure has had the biggest influence on you and why?
President Barack Obama and his legacy, for the countless milestones he’s  achieved; both as an individual and as Commander in Chief.

Do you have a quote or mantra that you live by?
Carpe Noctem is Latin for “Seize the Night”.  For me, its the idea of harnessing the energy of a difficult experience, braving the journey, and using it as an opportunity for growth.

What's been the largest obstacle/struggle in your life to becoming an artist in NYC? How did you overcome it?
The day-to-day struggles in NYC are the most difficult.  It almost takes a certain endurance to live as an artist here.  I overcome the stress of NYC by dedicating time for myself.  Whether I do absolutely nothing, or a leisurely activity, I actively schedule ‘re-grounding’ time to do whatever I please. Even if its only a couple hours a week, the mental and physical benefits are incredible.

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