Faculty and Staff

Paula J. Peters

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Paula J. Peters


B.F.A Dance, Cornish College of the Arts
M.F.A. Dance, University of Washington

Email: paulap2@u.washington.edu



I believe each student has something unique to offer the dance field. Whether a student has the goal to be a professional dancer, teacher, choreographer, physical therapist, marketing consultant, producer, or technical director, it is the job of the teacher to provide each student with the tools she or he will need to reach those objectives and succeed.

The foundation of my teaching philosophy is it is the fundamental responsibility of a teacher to energize the minds of students to engage with any subject. Teaching must be more than passively transferring factual data. It is my job as a teacher to present information as an exchange of ideas allowing for the viewpoints and perspectives of the students. This manner of teaching enables students to make connections that are relevant to their life paths, insuring a greater chance of success in any endeavor. Whether in a dance history, choreography or dance technique class, my approach is the same. I engage students to relate their personal objectives to a larger social and historical context, enabling them to find creative ways to reach their goals. Through use of the sciences of kinesiology and biomechanics, I help students understand how to achieve and maintain proper pelvic and spinal alignment relative to their own anatomical structures. I also teach students that an open attitude towards a teacher or choreographer is just as valuable a skill as physical aptitude and artistry. The environment of my classroom requires students to approach new ways of executing technique and expressing artistry with an open mind, letting go of pre-determined ideals of how dance technique “should” be accomplished. 

In addition to teaching at UW Bothell, I am a Visiting Lecturer at UW Seattle, on faculty at Dance Fremont, and serve as the Assistant Director for Cornish Preparatory Junior Dance Company.

Courses Taught

BISIA 213 Art Techniques: Intermediate Jazz
DANCE 290 Forces and Figures in American Jazz Dance
DANCE 108 Beginning Ballet Technique
DANCE 311 Advanced Jazz Technique
DANCE 301/401 Intermediate/Advanced Ballet Technique
DANCE 212 Intermediate Jazz Technique
DANCE 201 High Beginning Ballet Technique
DANCE 110 Beginning Jazz Technique


My research interests are twofold: American Jazz Dance History and Effective Teaching Practices for the 21st Century Dancer. Current activities in the area of Jazz Dance History include recent presentation of my research paper on the under-recognized jazz dance legend, Jack Cole. This paper, Jack Cole and the Synergistic Unity of American Jazz Dance was presented at the Society for Dance History Scholars Annual Conference. I am in the process of revising and submitting this paper for publication. Additionally, I am in the process of researching other under-recognized significant figures in America Jazz Dance, to be complied into a book and a full-length evening dance performance on the history of Jazz Dance. My research into the area of Effective Teaching Practices for the 21st Century Dancer includes investigation of how to minimize abusive teaching practices in the dance studio, while maintaining the rigor and discipline of the fine art form of concert dance.