If you dance in New York, you have probably taken class with Kat Wildish. I’ve had the pleasure of taking Kat’s class, and the atmosphere is extremely welcoming and non-judgmental. The class has a special combination of focus on technique and placement, yet also allows students to explore musicality and dance freely. I caught up with Kat to see how she got started in teaching.
Kat, you are such an inspiration to dancers of all ages in New York City! How did you get started teaching?
My first real Ballet teacher (Anzia Arsenault Tampa Ballet/Anzia's school of Ballet) said that I had a gift for teaching others and would always send me off to teach the others her choreography and combinations. She also had me write down her choreography, because I would put tips and things about the arms, directions etc to help the dancers reading the notes. She has now passed, yet her ballets live through the notes she inspired me to write for her. I feel as an educator myself that writing down notes, dancing the dances and and seeing them in my mind was truly the triple whammy that can help any dancer gain the confidence to move ahead. Even now when I look back over my notes of classes and combos I've created thru these 40+ years of teaching- they still inspire new ways to present movement lessons to the dancers.
What is the most enjoyable part of teaching for you?
Learning from my students!!!
Each generation has unique learning demands, and I enjoy keeping up with what truly inspires each dancer to continue to refine their craft in all venues!
The Performing in NY Experience allows adult dancers to perform on stage, when they otherwise may not have had that opportunity. This is an amazing opportunity, how did you get started with that program, and what inspired you to begin?
Actual performing is an education in itself, as we must overcome many things to have the confidence (or appear to have ) to go out there and grow/learn from that experience. Ballet is a Performing art, and I know there are many recreational dancers, however the art itself is a performance art, and we need a venue to hone that aspect of our art. So I began producing a yearly talent show...lol... when I was 9yrs old at the local Church- the talented girl who won the 1st Crown and scepter, is still in touch and my friend on facebook. I've produced many such shows since that early age to allow others that opportunity to perform. There really was not an opportunity for adults to do that in NYC so I've been in touch with so many of the Dance teachers, choreographers, and recreational dancers and we make dreams come true several times per year!
Our upcoming November 15, 2015 big shows at Danny Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College NYC (see attached postcard) will feature over 30+ groups . Many of our shows have Cast over 150+ dancers of all levels. Its such a great performance as each group is on stage for 6 mins or less and they poor their heart out to the audience with their dancing. We have Tap, Hip-hop, African, Indian, swing, of course some ballet, you name it ..it's on our program . We also have smaller shows for solos and small groups several times per year we just did October 4th with 28 different numbers , tap, singing oh it was wonderful- my ballet adults wanted to learn the lil Swans drill from swan lake- so we rehearsed 10X and they got to perform two shows. Our next small theatre shows are booked for Feb 21st, 2016 at the TADA Theatre NYC. If anyone is interested in being in the small group/solo shows- or if you have a big group for March 2016 contact me Kat@katwildish.com I'll have my asst send info. Join us!!
If you had one piece of advice for dancers, whether professional or beginner, what would it be?
Don't ever give up on your dreams!! Find a way make it happen!!! I know you can!!!
MORE ABOUT KAT WILDISH
http://bit.ly/1JtwsQM Dance Teacher Mag
Meet Kat Wildish
While legions of better-off-for-it ballet students know her as a teacher, Kat Wildish had a dazzling 40-year performing career, during which she danced with the American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, Zurich Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and many other companies. Her advice about performing and an effective ballet work ethic is not only uncommonly well-founded, it also provides spectacular guidance and inspiration that can be applied to all aspects of life-on and off the stage.
Her counsel is unflaggingly realistic and compassionate. In a recent class, she instructed students to glance behind their right shoulders to check if they could see their left feet in the proper position of a back attitude. When some students didn't take the direction literally and left their faces locked in place, focused on balancing, Kat remarked pointedly, "people like me can have 40-year careers because some young dancers don't take instructions and the details of their lines suffer for it." Lesson number one: Listen to your instructors!