Shabari Rao

Shabari Rao

Many people ask me what an education at CFL has meant for me. The short answer is – it defines who I am, more than any other single thing.

The longer answer is….

I studied at CFL for 9 years (1990 – 1999) and it took the next ten years to process the education I got there! I was one of the first students at CFL (the third to be precise!) and my relationship with the place and people is very special and important to me. Many of my dearest friends are from there.
An education at CFL is a very intense experience – to put it mildly! It took me ten years of being out and about doing many things, meeting different people and living in many places to put this education into context and understand just how much it shapes my life everyday. The choices I make in terms of work, personal life, money and a lot more is informed by an approach to life that was introduced at CFL.

After school I went on to study dance – an undergraduate degree in Choreography and a professional diploma in contemporary dance studies. I worked with a performing company for 5 years and then decided to focus on dance and education. As part of my work I teach in schools and community settings, work with teachers and teacher educators, get dancers to use pedagogical understanding in their teaching, and write curricula for the performing arts in schools. My work in education is also greatly informed by my experiences at CFL. I went back to teach at CFL for two years (2008 – 2010) which was fantastic both personally and professionally! Personally I got to see the school from a totally different perspective, and this made my appreciation and respect for the education there far deeper. Professionally, being at CFL as a teacher helped me to clarify and articulate my approach to arts education.

Now I’m off again; plans to pursue an MA in arts education will take me far away from CFL, but the learning that started there keeps me interested and excited about life!