Issue: October 2007 Issue
Artist-Educator, Cuyahoga Community College
Linda Kahn may have a master's degree in modern dance, but being a dance educator means much more to her than teaching the basics of choreography; it means being a catalyst for students.
"I really find that what I teach and create dances about is intra- and interpersonal things," she says.
Leading students to their greatest inner resource — creativity — is the core from where full potential growth, leadership and success come from, says the dancer-artist-educator and part-time life coach.
"That encompasses divergent thinking, risk taking and positive self-regard," says Kahn, who not only teaches at Cuyahoga Community College, but also volunteers at numerous community venues. In addition, she works with women of all ages through her life-coaching business, Kahncepts.
"In my personal relationships, people feel very safe with me. I've been able to use that to motivate people," says Kahn.
She credits her mother for instilling her healthy self-esteem, teaching her to see the inner beauty in people and value self-expression and creativity. "She was my life, and she taught me about life," says Kahn, who created a dance piece commemorating her mother's passing in 2002, while a graduate student at Case Western Reserve University. "This beautiful woman honored my creativity and knew that's who I was — my essence. And because of that, not only did it grow in me, but it allows me to pass it on."
Kahn says every time she teaches a student and takes them to a new level in their craft, she feels her mother's spirit. Giving women of all ages the space to be who they are and providing a safe place for them to express themselves builds self-esteem and all that goes with it, she says.
Amidst the professional awards and accolades she's won for teaching and her work as an artist, the dance piece she created for her mother still stands out as one of her proudest moments, as do her three children.
"My children are my finest works of art — they are creative, very resourceful, with excellent communication skills," Kahn says.
Now all in their 20s and each in an artistic field of their own, Kahn provided them the same principles in life experiences she passes on to her students, just like her mother taught her.
"When I see someone in class understand something or themselves better, it's a natural high," Kahn says.
And what does she think about being viewed as a role model to so many other women? Says Kahn, "It's funny because I am just being myself. It all links back to the respect and love I got from own my role model, of course, my mother."
This record has been viewed 600