The Making of an MPACT teacher

Posted on 08/14/10

The Making of an MPACT teacher: Rosemary Robertson carries MPACT South

Outcome: After two years of an intensive internship with Luna’s MPACT program, Rosemary Robertson signed on for a 3rd year of MPACT leadership training with supervised teaching, expanding the reach of MPACT to southern Alameda county. Since 2010, Robertson has taught over 50 children and families in classes at the Hayward Public Library and in Fremont through Kidango CDC sites. Committed interns such as Robertson allow Luna to fulfill our mission of bringing all children to dance by supporting those who teach bring high-quality dance to their communities.

Process: Luna’s MPACT internship program is a rigorous course of study providing a foundation of theoretical knowledge on child development, attachment and dance. Interns are accepted following an application and interview process; then, throughout the two years they are asked to challenge their own assumptions about parenting, families, bonding and the role of the dance teacher. Once accepted, all interns complete the full Foundations course of study, attend MPACT curriculum and evaluation meetings, observe MPACT classes in various settings, assist classes and eventually co-teach classes with Luna staffs. Rosemary completed the requirements with glowing reviews, then chose a third year to teach classes independently with Luna supervision and support.

Challenges: MPACT internships are not for everyone. Interns must commit to the time required to study, learn, observe and reflect and the nature of MPACT’s programs is that they must be scheduled according to client’s needs—not always a match for interns’ schedules. MPACT requires dance teaching artists to search deep inside and challenge their own assumptions. Sometimes, the transient nature of MPACT families’ lives brings up emotions that the intern might not be ready to confront. We’ve learned to take time upfront in the interview process to select the interns most ready for this difficult, but rewarding work.

Impact: Now that Rosemary is fully qualified to teach MPACT classes independently, hundreds of families in southern Alameda County will have access to exciting, relationship-based dance curriculum on a regular basis.

Update:  Over the past two years, dance educator and somatic practitioner Rossana Alves has also completed the MPACT training program and is fully qualified to teach family dance classes.  She is spending the first quarter of 2012 in Brazil where she will pilot family dance classes with families living in poverty.  She returns to Oakland in April where she will create a niche for sharing her passions of early development and dance with families in her community.