DEL Lab Schools Feature: Andrew Jannetti
Highlighting 2023 DEL Lab School recipient highlight: Andrew Jannetti!
Andrew Jannetti teaches at PS 79 Francis Lewis Elementary School in Queens, NY.
He is a graduate of Montclair State University, where he was part of the first cohort to graduate with a Dance Concentration. After years of performing in NYC with his own company and teaching in studios, private schools, and community centers including Brooklyn Arts Exchange, he returned to school to get his Masters in Dance Education from NYU Steinhardt. It was during this time that he took the DEL Foundations course at 92NY, which reinforced and expanded his Teacher’s Heart.
Mr. Jannetti sees dance as essential to the growth of a student’s search for authenticity and individual expression of self. He believes in working with the level, ability, and natural instincts of each student and moving them toward an increased self-awareness, higher level of cognition, overall physical well-being, and positive social interactions.
Andrew’s classroom at PS 79, filled with DEL and other dance education materials.
We asked Andrew to answer the following questions:
A. What is one of the biggest learnings or takeaways that has stuck with you from a DEL Course/Workshop?
I have a varied history with DEL.
While I had known about DEL from its inception, I was so busy choreographing, performing, and working at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) as their first Director of Education that finding the time to take workshops at DEL was challenging.
After I was hired as a Dance Educator for the NYC DOE, I became part of the professional development team for dance. That was where I officially met Jody Arnhold. I was very impressed with what she had to say about dance in the public schools and with her involvement in supporting new teachers in the DOE, and I decided it was time to take the DEL Fundamentals course. When I showed up for class, I remember Jody saying to me that this would be like a “refresher course” for me because of my extensive work with BAX and in private schools.
Well, it was much more than a refresher course. Despite my background and knowledge of Laban, the DEL Fundamentals course allowed me to use this knowledge in new and exciting ways. I will say that the DEL Fundamentals reinforced what I was already doing in my classes at BAX and my approach as a teaching artist in various schools.
B. How do you apply the DEL model in your teaching environment? Tell us more about how you use what you’ve learned from DEL in your real life.
My biggest takeaway was the Language of Dance (LOD) motifs, which I use all the time with my 4th grade classes to teach dance literacy.
The other big takeaway was the lesson formatting, which lends itself very well to the way that I teach. My lesson plans today are a combination of my own formatting infused with the structure of the DEL lesson plans. This makes for a very clear and admin-friendly document.
In many ways, taking DEL Fundamentals gave me a clearer voice when presenting the impact of my program to the administration. It allowed me to have more leverage within both administrations with whom I have worked.
My biggest challenge was my new administration and my biggest success was with the same administration, when my Principal said to me that if he had had a dance teacher like me when he was young, he would have had a whole different attitude about dance.
C. At the center of the DEL Model is the Teacher’s Heart, which represents the core artistic and philosophical values and beliefs of every dance educator. In our DEL Lab Schools Virtual Ceremony, Andrew shared:
Another big takeaway from that first DEL Fundamentals course is the Teacher’s Heart, which I took very seriously when I was asked to give my Teacher’s Heart an identity.
At the time of taking the workshop, I chose to describe my Teacher’s Heart based on a song: “Love Has No Pride.” I felt that this was appropriate because of my love for dance, and how when teaching, I put myself in the place of the student, allowing me to put my ‘Pride’ aside in service to imparting the visceral experience of dance.
Today, I would say that my Teacher’s Heart is another song, “Forever Young,” which allows me to relate to my students, as well as keep learning new things because a “young heart” is always hungry for knowledge.