Kevin Belisario | November 2015
Hometown: San Diego, California
Major: World Arts & Culture / Dance
Q: A little background about you: Name, Hometown, degree major, year of graduation (or year of study if you are not a graduate yet) and the type of arts that you focus on.
A: Kevin Belisario, San Diego, CA, World Arts & Cultures/Dance major, 2015, dance.
Q: How did you discover your interest in the arts and how did you know that it was something that you wanted to pursue professionally, as an artist or as an artist teacher?
A: I discovered my interest in the arts when I began taking dance classes with my cousins at the Academy of Performing Arts dance studio back home. I knew that dance was what I wanted to do for my career during the middle of my high school tenure.
Q: Describe what the young artists in your VAPAE studio sessions are working on and the process they’re using.
A: Our young artists in our VAPAE studio sessions are working on foundational hip hop and house vocabulary to strengthen their technique.
Q: Why is an enrichment opportunity like this important for those participating? What do they gain?
A: VAPAE’s studio sessions provide students with young and passionate teaching artists who are dedicated in their particular art field. This type of energy encourages growth both as artists and as people utilizing dance as the medium.
Q: Did you have an opportunity like this when you were a younger artist? If yes, how did it help shape your love of art? If no, in what ways could a program like this have helped you?
A: I did not have an opportunity like this however if I was fortunate enough to have a program like this, I believe that I would have been more enthusiastic about learning being taught by such passionate and driven teachers.
Q: What has this experience as a teaching artist or arts facilitator taught you about yourself? What do you personal gain as a teaching artist, arts facilitator?
A: My experience as a teaching artist has taught me so much more beyond my dance abilities. I have just begun to understand how I work in a classroom setting and what students respond well to and what they don’t.
As a teaching artist, I gain the privilege to see students grow and develop in all aspects whether it be their confidence in themselves, their mentality towards working at something or just their ability to dance. Witnessing this kind of growth within each student is the biggest reason why I love teaching.
Q: What are the benefits to you as a student/graduate in the UCLA VAPAE program? Was this program a good choice for you? If so, why?
A: One of the biggest benefits as a graduate in the UCLA VAPAE program is being able to further my experience as a teacher by getting the hands on experience to teach. I also get to practice my art and skills within the classroom as a teacher.
Q: Are there any anecdotes from your VAPAE Studio Sessions (or Arts Education Teaching Sequence) that stand out to you? Perhaps you had a break‐through with a student or saw some particularly noticeable growth in that student through this program, collaboration etc. Maybe something surprised you or made you think about art or teaching in a new way.
A: During winter quarter of my 4th year, I was allotted the school site at Bancroft Middle School where I was teaching a middle school dance class. Prior to this experience I had these pre conceived notions that the middle school age range was the toughest to teach because of all the physical and mental changes that they were experiencing. However immediately from my first class I soon realized that this class was special and that they had a hunger to learn and an enthusiasm to accompany that desire. These students completely surprised me and changed my outlook on that particular age range.
Q: What are your short-term and long‐term career goals?
A: I am currently aspiring to jump back into the commercial industry and eventually book a job as a backup dancer where I would be able to combine two passions of mine: performing and traveling. After working in that field, I plan on going back to school to receive my teaching credential and then further my education. In the long-term I will open up my own dance studio that encompasses my training stemming from hip-hop, ballet, jazz, tap, modern, house and African dance to promote well rounded dancers and people.