Rebecca Prather

rebecca-prather-reachingFresh out of graduate school in 2012, Rebecca was working at the Larkspur Corte Madera School District that was in the midst of a 5-year Arts Integration grant. Eagerly she joined the Site Arts Team to share her interest in offering more dance to students with disabilities. She had a hunch that dance would support their social skills and language development. During a meeting a grant administrator leaned over to her, saying, “Have you heard of Luna Dance? We need to get you into their trainings.” She immediately started investigating, discovered the Summer Institute, applied and was selected for the 2013 cohort. A life-long learner, Rebecca returns regularly to Luna for professional development, most recently as part of the second Leadership Institute in 2015. She has been a regular panelist at Luna’s annual Dance & Disability Discourse, and a soft-facilitator at follow-up Inclusion & Accessibility Practitioner Exchanges, sharing her expertise in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Alternative Augmentative Communication.

Rebecca is a committed educator who reflects on and delves into her pedagogical research from many angles. She currently continues her work as a Speech-Language Pathologist in the Larkspur Corte Madera School District, investigating the integration of dance and movement with language development, social-emotional growth, and speech articulation goals. There Rebecca teaches a weekly dance class for preschoolers and English Language Learners focusing on language and articulation. On other fronts, she is completing an Expressive Arts Therapy training through the Tamalpa Institute, teaching in the Integrated Learning Specialist Learning Program supporting educators with developing and deepening practices of creativity and equity in their learning environments, and has just begun a graduate program in Educational Administration. She is also a devoted mother to an “amazing 11 year old son who teaches me how magical the human brain is as he grows, extends, and re-defines limited assumptions about what people on the Autism Spectrum look, sound, and think like.” rebecca-prather-circle

Fueled by advocacy skills and field evidence gathered during Luna’s Leadership Institute, Rebecca’s articulate voice for dance integration grows in strength and volume, and she clearly reveals its positive impact on language development, abstract conceptual thinking, and social-emotional reciprocity practices. But her inquisitive mind doesn’t stop here. This work has opened new doors of inquiry for her regarding the power of dance: “I am curious about how the body processes injustice and how we can utilize somatic tracking to gain understanding about how racism is stored in the body depending on one’s positionality to relationship to white supremacy. Ultimately my inquiry into how the body “holds” injustice is geared by an inquiry into the body as an agent of change and its relationship to the body politic.

What I am really about today is acting on the urgency to make art-making the language of social justice work. I am compelled to consider how all thinking about equity and liberation can be most poignantly said through the creative language of working in symbols. For the students that I directly work with who have various disabilities (communicative, cognitive and sometimes physical), I feel that working through the modality of dance has radical potential to transform their brains towards thinking in abstract forms and hold their skill development in social relationships through self-regulation and community-minded thinking that dance can hold for all of us.”

 

In our 25 years, Luna has worked with hundreds of teachers who we’re now proud to say are teaching all around the globe. From Emily Blossom to Jakey Toor, our past Professional Learning colleagues are collectively and cumulatively teaching tens of thousands of children. Starting in 2017 we will share their stories, one each week, about how they continue to positively impact the dance education field, the future, the world. To read the growing anthology, please click here.

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