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Tomé's Professional Statement

I train the actor as a professional dancer/artist. I do not engage in the philosophy of the "I'm not a dancer". Children, for the most part have a risk free attitude towards play, they enjoy running, skipping, hopping and jumping. They love to express themselves in combinations of sound and movement, and enjoy the accompaniment of music as a support to these activities. Yet somewhere between childhood and the onset of adolescence and puberty that freedom and confidence can become arrested and stalls. I've often wondered why this happens. I had the good fortune to be raised in a household filled with musical and physical experimentation which supported my curiosity for movement. A freedom and fearlessness incorporating social dance was absorbed into my collective DNA, resulting in a lifetime fascination in the exploration of dramatic movement.

I define dance as: The physical expression of emotion and reactions stimulated by musical charges. When we communicate and talk we use our bodies to further clarify, emphasize and dramatize our thoughts and emotions. Quite naturally our head, hands, shoulders, and arms flow in an uninhibited choreographic display of self-expression. When we laugh or become joyfully excited we clap our hands and stomp our feet in spontaneous rhythmic patterns that often cannot be repeated. Yet, with some people, the mere mention of the term "dance" causes their bodies to become over whelmed by some mystic force that arrests their mental and physical confidence. "I can't dance" or "I'm not a dancer" are often the statements made in response to this, yet even as these very words are spoken a physical dance is being used to express them.

In my classes I investigate the re-installation of confidence in physical expression through musical theater dance styles in order to release dramatic expression. My goal in training the actor for success in their profession lies in the individual examining and understanding their own movement process and installing confidence in technical achievements, as well as in the ability of speed in pick up and retention. In the twenty-first century, it is not enough for the professional actor to "move well.” The actor must have a vast understanding of a variety of musical theater dance styles and performance histories. I aim to empower the actor as an accomplished artist equal to the skills of a classical dancer, thus opening up a wider range and possibilities for success in the performing arts.

While I trained in classical techniques and contemporary dance styles, I view the divisions of all the performing arts to be artificial. As a result of my approach I've experienced an award winning international career that includes collaborations in dance, drama, music, film, photography, television and literature. My approach and philosophy to movement has enabled me to serve as an archivist to a host of the twenty-first century’s iconic and creative artists, preparing and empowering them to uniquely express themselves through their work.

For the purposes of educating the actor in dance, I bring a complete understanding of dance / theater history along with theories rooted in classical, modern and contemporary techniques, some of which are Luigi, Jack Cole, Matt Maddox, Katherine Dunham, Lester Horton, Martha Graham, George Balanchine, Kurt Joos, Rudolf von Laban, and Sigurd Leeder, to name a few.

I arm the actor with a specific movement vocabulary that can be used immediately in auditions, rehearsals and performance. Through my wide range of exposure and practical teaching knowledge, the actor's apprehensive inhibitions and fears are addressed. A complete “through the body experience” is gained in class, empowering the actor to freely interpret a range of character movement, while retaining awareness to sensitivity of musical accompaniment. This is the very essence of musical theater / jazz dance.

My class structure begins with a basic introduction level and advances through a professional codified system linking the student’s prior years of classical ballet training with classic jazz technique. Through this system of advancement each student is prepared for the stage with the key elements of weight shifts, jumps, turns, floor falls and recovery, body isolations, core strength, speed, arm épaulement, and proportional body placement dynamics. Drawing from my choreographic and performance career, I match original composed dance combinations with classical musical theater production numbers.

Through this process, a confident dancing artist is formed, one who's passionate and specific understanding of work is now able to create with confidence and freedom in the professional arena.

As dance can often be a new element added to the actor’s repertoire, proper dance audition, rehearsal techniques and etiquette are also emphasized and taught in the studio. I firmly believe the dancing/moving actor must be immersed in his craft, educated and disciplined for a successful career in the performing arts. I match my physical lessons with inspiring guest artists, lectures, practical history assignments, showings and readings from my experiences as an interdisciplinary dance artist.

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