All Grade Levels, Music, Story, Dance, Performance, African Cultural Traditions, Breadth of Teaching Experience
DISCIPLINE // Music, story, dance, performance, and cultural traditions of Africa; as well as movement/kinesthetic integration for instruction with numerous subjects
TEACHING ARTIST STATEMENT // Tarn has been a teaching artist in Missoula schools for 27 years, and is a CoMotion-certified Dance Integration instructor. Along with musician Roger Moquin, Tarn teaches African music, dance, storytelling, and cultural traditions. She has been studying African dance and music for 25 years with teachers from Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Liberia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Zimbabwe, Congo, South Africa, Nigeria, and the U.S. Tarn teaches at the University of Montana Dance Department and holds weekly community African dance classes in Missoula as part of Unity Dance & Drum, an organization she co-founded. She presents educational/dance/music programs throughout the state for numerous organizations, schools, and events for all ages, abilities, and skill levels. She has done extensive work with differently-abled children and adults, as well as seniors and at-risk youth. Tarn holds degrees (and earned honors) in cellular biology and zoology, and attained her Masters studying Trillium, a native plant to Montana.
“The fishing net brings us fish to fill our stomach, the dance brings us joy to fill our soul” –a Giryama elder, Kenya
Some African cultures believe a person must ‘get out of the way’ of the music to hear it. In other words, one must allow music to enter his or her being and surrender to the merging of body, mind, and spirit with the music. The resulting transformation generates empowerment, healing, and authentic expression—hands can play instruments, bodies can dance, voices can sing. My most important achievements as an artist are innovations that make this transformation accessible to my community—allowing people to ‘hear’ the music.
I co-founded the Unity Dance & Drum organization to promote education, performance, and workshops in African music and dance in Montana. I have a deep commitment to teaching and performing traditional movement, as well as conveying information about the ethnic origin and traditional purpose of each rhythm/dance. This art form focuses on individual and communal healing, important life transitions, honoring ancestors, and celebration. I am particularly drawn to this form as a path for individuals to gain courage and a sense of community, process personal issues, and articulate new forms of self-expression.
My Unity Dance & Drum classes and performances provide continuous profound artistic challenges, as well as opportunities for innovation in choreography, costumes, transitions, and coordination of musicians with dancers. As a director, and choreographer I must extend my boundaries constantly by exploring fresh material and concepts, as well as teaching new dances, songs, and rhythms. Much of my artistic innovation extends to my community projects and classes with summer art programs, K-12 schools, differently-abled people, at-risk youth, and my community and University of Montana African Dance classes. I am able to bring this music and dance, these stories and masks and costumes into classrooms, performance halls, healing centers, and community centers throughout Montana.
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION // residency, workshops, teacher training
GRADE LEVELS // PreK-12
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CREDITS // Dance Integration Specialist, Kennedy Center Defining Arts Integration
BADGES EARNED //
The Kennedy Center Foundation in Arts Integration: 2015
The Kennedy Center Foundation in Arts Integration: 2016
Artists As Educators: Refining Your Practice
Embracing Differences to Make a Difference: Professional Development Training: September 2018