Artist, Teaching Artist
Shari has been a teaching artist with Erie Arts and Culture since 2012, working with students of all ages as well as adults, using various themes and big ideas. Students may dance with technology, literature, personal stories, math, history, and science.
During a residency with Shari, students will learn three basic elements of dance: space, time and energy. Students will exercise their bodies by practicing core strength and balance. They will exercise their minds by improvising within a given score and solving choreographic problems. Students will develop their ability to articulate what they see, hear and do by reflecting verbally and documenting in writing. By the end of the residency they will choreograph a short piece, individually or as a small group, that expresses their new learning.
Neuroscience supports the idea that the art of dance enhances brain function. We can change how we think, increase intelligence, and learn to make good choices as unique individuals. Creative dance movement helps our brains solve problems and increases our overall success.
Shari creates a safe space where each student’s brilliance can shine, in which their words and moves matter and they are seen and heard as unique and special individuals. In this space, they can be free to fly, discover, explore, improvise, and choreograph as they express who they are in words and movement
A residency with Shari builds classroom and life skills as the students and artist explore creative dance together, building on reading, science, and physical skills. Through these practices, students gain more control of their bodies, their space, and their relationships. Participants also apply critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.
Arts infuse 21st Century Skills into science, math, language arts, and life management. By participating in creative movement and other active arts, students enhance their ability to gracefully navigate life’s complex systems.
After achieving her bachelor’s degree in horticulture with minors in dance and theater, Shari Karn Mastalski went on to complete a master’s degree in sustainable systems. Shari is a rostered creative dance teaching artist with Erie Arts and Culture and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She invites people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to join the fun of presenting and witnessing the active arts of story-telling, movement, and song, using seven principles of Dreams in Motion. The key is to create a vibrant and safe space in which people come alive. Shari performs with the improvisational InterPlay company, Wing and A Prayer Pittsburgh Players. She also performs story dances as a company of one, Dance on Water.