Dancing Maestri

Patricia Rincon and Jean Isaacs aren’t just at the forefront of the modern dance community of San Diego, they’re valuable members of the UCSD dance department.

Courtesy of San Diego Dance Theater

Rincon is the founder and artistic director of Patricia Rincon Dance Collective. As a producer, she has brought renowned artists to San Diego since 1982. Her company also regularly tours the United States, Mexico and Europe. She recently completed the 10th in a series of instructional videos titled “”Rincon Method of Dance Training.””

Isaacs’ involvement in the San Diego modern dance community dates to 1969. She helped found the San Diego Dance Alliance.

She has also choreographed for the La Jolla Playhouse, the San Diego Repertory Theater, The Globe Theaters and Sledgehammer Theater. In addition, she has been part of various panels of the California Arts Council of Dance, Artists-in-Residency, Touring and the Challenge panels.

After serving as artistic director of San Diego’s “”3’s Company”” for 17 years and “”Isaacs/McCaleb & Dancers”” for six years, Isaacs is now the artistic director of the San Diego Dance Theater.

Though both have taught for many years, they consider themselves artists rather than teachers. Rincon says that she “”started as an artist, but had to teach to survive.””

Isaacs says that although she has taught for 30 years, it has only been in the last 10 that she has regarded herself as a teacher.

However, such attitudes are valuable to the students who learn from these professors. Because their work outside of the classroom is such a major part of their lives, these instructors use that work while teaching. Rincon says that working outside of school gives her “”greater scope for other issues in art and society,”” and that her traveling gives her an international perspective that she tries to bring back to students.

Isaacs says that working outside school keeps her fresh as a teacher. These instructors also gain valuable ideas from their students, and often put these ideas into their companies. Rincon says that working with the students leaves her “”recharged”” and that her students help inspire her professional work. The students also interpret her work and experiment with it.

Rincon and Isaacs don’t believe that it is impossible to completely separate these two parts of their lives. Rincon says that it is her philosophy to try to incorporate the two. “”Joint ideas feed off of each other … it’s one big fabric,”” said Isaacs.

Both instructors believe there are many advantages for students to be taught by such active members of the dance community. Rincon believes that the students benefit because the instructors’ work “”does not become stale”” and that they are “”constantly pushing the envelope of their craft.””

Isaacs noted more practical advantages for students. She says that working with professionals gives students “”access to professional pay work.”” She also says that dancers she has taught make up at least two-thirds of her company.

Of course, just because they are artists first doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy teaching. Rincon’s favorite class to teach is “”History of Modern Dance.””

“”It gives a theoretical understanding of how modern dance was formed and the effect it has on dance today,”” said Rincon.

Isaacs most enjoys teaching “”Choreography for Dramatic Text”” because it links text-based work with choreography.

Both instructors feel students should take advantage of the many dance performances in San Diego.

Isaacs performs in the Plaza Cafe on Feb. 11, and as all college students love to hear, admission is free.

For more information on dance events happening on campus check out http://www-theatre.ucsd.edu/

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