APPROACH TO CLASS:
I strive to impart to my students, above all, the joy of dance. My sincere enthusiasm and love of the art is infectious, and my students will hopefully develop a passion and interest in dance that will carry through their lives. Not only do I want them to become better dancers, but I hope that they will become life-long patrons of the arts and dance enthusiasts. I strive to find a balance between technical exercises and full-body combinations that will allow them to feel the exuberance of dance. (Read more.)
I’ve taught modern, ballet, jazz, and pilates. I’m teaching Modern this fall!
I’ve been teaching dance for 27 years and have taught at Joy of Motion for 15 years!
Get to Know Tiffany
What is your teaching philosophy?
The most imperative lesson to be learned is how to be one’s own teacher. This lesson is my priority in dance class and I often pose questions to my students instead of giving them the answers. My goal is for them to become responsible for their own learning. I challenge students to tell me: why they are practicing a certain exercise, what muscles should be engaging to execute a movement, how they could improve upon a step, what correction did I give them about the same step last class, how concepts relate, and what image they can create to help with the performance of a step. Not only do my students have to think for themselves, but they in turn dance as themselves and do not imitate me. When they are motivated to figure out the mechanics and initiation of the movement in their own body, they immediately begin to personalize the movement and develop their own sense of artistry. In this style of teaching, I hope to elicit self-motivated learners who will challenge and correct themselves. I also hope this way of learning will accompany them into all fields of study and aspects of their lives.
Every couple of weeks I create a completely different warm-up that explores the movement principles in the combination for those weeks’ classes. In doing so, the students cannot rely on their muscle memories but must stay aware and alert to their bodies throughout class. The variety of styles and dynamic range of movement will help them to gain respect for the depth of, and possibilities in, dance – as well as enable them to be versatile and malleable dancers.
Why do you share dance?
I did not start dancing until I was 14 years old. Until then, music was my passion (specifically piano and violin). When I stepped into my first dance class, encouraged by a friend whose studio had a “bring a friend for free” week, I immediately fell in love with how dance was an extension of the music for me. It wasn’t until I went to college to major in dance (and psychology) that I was exposed to dance forms other than Ballet. I immediately fell in love with the freeness and explorative nature of Modern.
I never enjoyed being on stage but knew I needed dance in my life. I intended on going into Dance Therapy (hence the psych major) but when I subbed for a friend’s class at a local studio, I felt so at home in the role of teacher. I haven’t stopped teaching since then.
When I started my dance training I was thrown into a class with all the other 14-year-olds who had been dancing since they were 3. I very quickly realized I needed to become my own teacher in order to catch up. It wasn’t until I had anatomy and kinesiology classes in college that I was really able to understand body mechanics and become a better dancer, student, and teacher.
My other love is choreography and I am so proud of my company DancEthos that was founded in 2010 here in DC which presents not only my work but the work of many other local artists.
Tiffany Haughn is the director and founder of DancEthos, a DC based modern dance company that creates and presents dances that reflect the beliefs and spirit of our culture. Her choreography has been performed at The Kennedy Center, Dance Place, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Woolly Mammoth Theater, and the Atlas Performing Arts Center, among other venues. In addition to teaching at Joy of Motion Dance Center, Haughn has also been on the faculty of George Washington University, George Mason University, The University of Mary Washington, Northern Virginia Community College, and BalletNova (previously Arlington Center for Dance). While living in New York City, she performed with The Lindt International Ballet, Saltare Dance Company, Jennifer Walker & Company, and Threshold Dance Company. Haughn graduated magna cum laude with departmental and university honors from Jacksonville University with a BFA in Dance and a BA in Psychology. She earned her MFA degree in Dance at George Mason University.