What do you know about your teachers? Sure, you know that they’re good at math, or English, or basketball or whatever they’re teaching you, but is that it? Are all teachers really just the mysterious trolls that sleep at school that we take them for, with nothing to their lives but a certificate and a bloody meter stick? Not so, says Eva Stone, the Contemporary Dance instructor at Bellevue College. Stone is a lively woman who teaches with both passion and humility. But there is much more to her then her recent activities.
She is a teacher by heart, and a dancer by her cells. For more than 25 years, she has taught everything from the proper way to bend your feet to the inner purpose of dance (which is to communicate, if you ever have her class and want to impress her). In 1993, she started the Stone Dance Collective in Paris, which, though put on temporary hiatus for the birthing and rearing of her children, now regularly performs in the Chop Shop, a dance festival which Eva has been the executive producer for 6 years. Many of her students from past jobs choose to continue working under her with the Dance Collective.
Of her achievements, there are her children, and those students who walk away understanding her and her art, to see “that light bulb go off”. “All movement communicates,” she says like a prayer, knowing that some will listen and understand her movement. She has also ridden 60 miles on a bike from London to Brighton, England, for the BBC’s Children in Need, alongside a man riding a penny-farthing, one of those wonky tiny wheel big wheel bikes that one pictures underneath men with top hats.
More personally, I would recommend you don’t get into a car with her if you want to listen to any popular music from the late 70s to the early 90s, because she knows every word and she shows it. She’s a big fan of modern art, finding it both fascinating and “hilarious”. And, if you ever dance with her professionally and you feel underpaid, suck it up, she’ll feed you cake when curtains close.
Eva is the only teacher I have ever met that is comfortable admitting that their subject is not the most important lesson one could learn. She will be the first to admit that, in the end, dancing doesn’t matter. There are wars, there are plagues, and where there is suffering, dancing can never be the most important thing in the world. But she does not need some sort of heavenly mandate to dance; the art is purposeful in its own right. It is a balance of mind and body, a form of communication, and to Mr. Stone, as fluid and meaningful as speech.