DEL Lab Schools Feature: Pam Vlach
Highlighting 2023 DEL Lab School recipient: Pam Vlach!
Pam Vlach is the lower school (K-4) dance specialist at The Spence School, an independent school in Manhattan. Her students have attended performing arts high schools, performed on Broadway in shows like Matilda, The Lion King, and Billy Elliot, and danced with the Radio City Rockettes.
Pam has taught at Steps on Broadway and 92NY. She’s been a teaching artist at several New York schools, including P.S. 5, United Nations International School (UNIS), Trevor Day School, The Dalton School, and Convent of the Sacred Heart. She’s taught workshops at Horace Mann School and LREI, and has been on faculty at Grace Church School. She has also been a substitute for graduate level tap courses at NYU.
Pam has taught internationally at Dance For All and Jazzart Dance Theatre in South Africa, the Rhythm Tap Project in Portugal, and Sosolya Undugu Dance Academy, Tender Talents Magnet School, and Baraka Performers in Uganda.
Pam is an advocate for student voices and believes in providing opportunities for students to express themselves creatively while attaining collaborative life skills.
Pam teaching at Jazzart Dance Theatre in South Africa.
Pam has been teaching dance for over 20 years at private studios and schools in Seattle and New York.
Performing highlights include dancing choreography by Tony-award winner Savion Glover in Dance this…! (2005), and the Gala for Career Transitions for Dancers at City Center with American Tap Dance Foundation (2014). She danced in Red Hot, original choreography by Ray Hesselink at SummerStage, La MaMa, and as a member of Les Femmes, Germaine Salsberg’s tap company.
Her choreography has been performed in Germany, South Africa, and Uganda and has received awards for its conceptual themes and musicality. She is the founder of Tap Uganda, Inc., a non-profit organization facilitating learning exchanges through dance and movement between children in Uganda and the U.S..
Pam has presented Intercultural Learning Through Dance Education at Dance and the Child International in Adelaide, Australia (2018) and A History of People Through Movement: From Uganda to Jazz and Tap at the Martin Luther King Symposium at Grace Church School in New York, NY (2022). She holds a BA (University of Washington) in Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication and an MA (New York University) in Dance Education. Pam is certified in New York State for Dance PK-12.
Pam with tap students at 92NY.
Pam with students in Portugal.
We asked Pam 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 took away the importance of intention in my teaching practice.
During the DEL Foundations course, each unit, guest, concept, and lesson was packed with intention. Each component contributed to a learning objective, the big ideas of the lesson/unit scaffolded beautifully.
When I lesson plan, I’m constantly reflecting on the intention behind each activity. Where do I want students to end up, and does this learning activity/project contribute to the final goals?
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.
After my experiences with DEL, I’m more interested in curriculum integration.
When I’m designing a new integration project, I keep my dance objectives and find ways to weave in Social Studies, Science, Technology, and Math in holistic ways that allow for deeper learning among my students.
I learned a lot from the DEL Foundations course about how to integrate intentionally and effectively while maintaining the integrity of my dance curricula at multiple grade levels.
I’m thankful for the many ways that the DEL Foundations faculty approached units using various entry points and subjects, because it was a springboard for the work I’m doing now.
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. Catherine shared:
“My Teacher’s Heart is about creating spaces to bring their most authentic full selves and express themselves joyfully through movement.”