This week’s Feature a Teacher is Kristen Rybicki, our dance teacher.
How long have you been at Regina Dominican? This is my second year at Regina.
What did you find most rewarding during your first year at Regina? The most rewarding part of my first year was watching all of my students go from “taking dance class” to calling themselves “dancers.” That transformation is really special.
How does Regina Dominican’s all-girls community impact your teaching? As in any subject, the girls feel confident and supported in a small, all-girls community to try new things and ask questions. Particularly in dance, this is an interesting topic, as there are commonly very gender-specific roles like we see in classical Ballet. However, how does dance look in 2017? Have those roles changed? As we study the classical techniques, I always like to see where it fits into the contexts of our society. It ignites some rich conversations in class.
Our dance floor was just re-done, this is an exciting time for Dance at RDHS. Is it such an improvement in your classes? I haven’t stopped smiling about our new dance floor! I am so glad Regina supported the floor’s installation because it creates a much safer environment for our classes. Just as proper equipment is required for athletics, a proper floor is crucial to our success in dance. The new marley floor provides a smooth surface that is just sticky enough so that we don’t slide, but soft enough that we don’t get stuck. It also provides a bit more cushion and is durable enough to withstand everything from Musical rehearsals to hip hop. I am thrilled.
What are you looking forward to most with dance in the 2017-2018 school year? Academically, we implemented new curricula this year – Modern Dance and Composition – so I am excited to dive into these and continue developing the talent of our girls. I, of course, always look forward to our performance opportunities, too: The Music Man, the Orchesis Showcase, and Fine Arts Showcase. Seeing hard work come to life on stage and watching my students perform is one of my favorite things about being a teacher.
Do you have a certain dance class that is your favorite to teach? And why? I always love teaching Foundations because it is so fun to watch girls really understand what Dance is. It always entails so much more than they thought. However, I am really enjoying my Composition class this semester. We have a small group and it’s a wonderful environment of hard work and creativity. It’s most fun for me to teach when students are excited to learn, and this group in particular is exceptional.
You just launched the Fine Arts department’s Instagram Account. Why do you feel it’s so important for Regina to show our Fine Arts off on social media? I think it’s important for the entire student body, family, friends, and beyond, to see the fantastic work going on in the Fine Arts department. The things we create, whether they are physical artworks, song arrangements, drama skits, or dances, are meant to be shared with the world. One of the greatest things about art, I think, is that it can be shared to have an impact on someone. Given that everyone is on Instagram all the time, it makes total sense for us to be showcasing our work in that way. Hopefully it will pique some interest and bring people to our showcases and performances! Follow @RDHSFineArts.
The school just had a Jeans for Green in honor of you running the Chicago Marathon. Good luck! Why is your charity so important to you? How much was raised in the Jeans for Green? Thank you very much! I am running for the American Diabetes Association, and our Jeans for Greens raised $231.37! I’m so grateful. The ADA is important to me because my dad is a Type 1 Diabetic, which means he was born with it; it’s a pre-existing condition. I’ve watched it effect every day of his life and I’ve watched it slowly take a toll on his health. Don’t get me wrong, my dad is a total rock star (yes, literally), but it’s a complicated disease that affects 29 million Americans. I’m running it for him! A student has already told me her dad is a Type 1 Diabetic, too, so I’m glad to be running for a cause that is probably dear to a lot of Regina families.