We want to (re)introduce you to all of the wonderful people who together make Inner-City Arts a magical organization! Our Staff Spotlights help recognize and celebrate our team members and the amazing work that they do.
Meet one of our dance teaching artists, Ernest Baker! Ernest describes himself as "a storyteller using dance and film to reveal truth" and has been teaching at Inner-City Arts since 2022.
Find out more about him and his journey as an artist and educator below!
What does creativity mean to you?
The mindset or practice of bringing something into existence from nothing or with limited resources.
What are three traits that describe you?
Spiritual, creative, and passionate.
What led you to be a teaching artist?
The desire to positively affect one student at a time. Through educating students on black dance/hip hop history and the interdisciplinary arts, I hope to explore how it may be applied to their current artistic practice or daily life.
What would you most like to tell yourself at your students’ age?
Take risks and explore new creative possibilities through improvisation.
What do you hope for your students to learn through their artistic and creative experiences?
Don't be afraid to be different. Self-expression requires you to be vulnerable despite what others may think of you.
What is something you learned through challenges (that you are especially proud of)? Reflect on a challenging experience which you have proudly overcome using art/creativity.
When I was younger, I realized I wasn't as in-tune with the latest and trendy social dances as my teen students were. Since the origins of hip hop and youth culture have been primarily responsible for pushing the form forward, I quickly realized I needed to change my teaching approach. Instead of teaching more recent social dances to them, I began focusing on fundamentals such as the rock, grooves, weight shifting, time, space, and dynamics; this allowed my students to choreograph their own dances to teach one another.
What do you believe to be your greatest strength in your personal life and/or the arts?
I am able to lead and communicate effectively with people of various backgrounds in order to help bring the best creative and efficient solutions possible.
What keeps you creatively inspired? How does art and creativity inspire your life?
Creating and experiencing artwork helps me to remain creatively inspired to teach as well as to live in my purpose.