A breath in dance

Dancing in your head anywhereAs a young dancer I was encouraged to breathe when I danced. I am not talking about making a huge thing about breathing. Rather it was about taking a breath to enhance the step or movement I was about to perform and also to assist in making hard work in dance look reasonably calm or easy. There was no point in performing a beautiful dance but then looking as if you were about to expire from not being able to catch your breath. So breathing was part of my training and I think in many ways this training was ahead of its time in its thinking and approach.

Stamina demanding dance

Take the demands of Highland dancing as one example – a very stamina demanding form of dance. When constantly hopping and springing throughout a whole dance it is easy for the dancer to begin to look tired and out of breath. Paying attention to the breathing can help with pacing the dancer as well as stamina. If a dancer loses all of his or her breath each times she lands from a hop, spring or jump then he or she will very quickly be out of puff and this will quickly show in the carriage and poise of the dancer. Breathing well in dance will enhance good stamina rather than reducing it. Having good stamina and good breathing is a terrific combination.

As breathing was part of my training it felt natural to breath well and use the breath to enhance whatever dance genre I was performing. I found that taking a breath at the right time for me in dance made a difference to how I felt and also how the movement looked. Getting the breathing right can help to make a performance appear light, airy and effortless instead of heavy and full of effort.

Working with the breath, to me, is a vital part of dance. If you have downloaded and read my booklet Preparation for Performance then you will know that teaching breathing in dance is something I have been involved with from way back in the 1970s.

Relaxation

In addition to using breathing techniques in dance I have also been involved in teaching relaxation techniques to dancers of all ages for many years including teaching relaxation techniques in the workplace, within wellbeing workshops and stress management courses. I guess it is not surprising that my journey of the breath has taken me into mindfulness and the mindful breath too. Learning about and practising mindful breath offers yet another aspect of how the breath and the body work together.

Breathe and focus

In dance, breathing can be a good way to begin releasing tension in the body. I find that taking time to breathe (a few deep breaths in and out) before starting teaching a class or taking part in a class is a great way to focus and prepare your mind for what you are about to do. Being present in the moment when teaching and participating is a different experience to teaching whilst being distracted by something else or dancing whilst thinking of something else. Why not try, taking a few breaths to focus on what you are doing right now and see how it feels? Does it feel feel different to be fully present in the moment?

Currently my Tension & Rigidity course is running and another course that is relevant to this post is my Mindfulness in Dance Teaching. You can find out about all the short online CPD courses that I do for dance teachers by clicking here.

There are also earlier posts that you might want to read such as: Mindfulness in Dance Teaching and Highland Dancers Achieving Steady Raised Arms and Relaxation Technique. Breathing is a great topic to explore for dancers and dance teachers. It has a lot to offer for your own wellbeing as well as that of your dancers. I hope you will take a look at it in more depth and see what it has to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courses

Sample certificate

If you want to take either of the two courses starting this Friday (14 September 2018) then you can as long as you book today – Monday 10 September. And then in three weeks time, once you have completed your course, you will receive a Certificate of Competition that shows course hours and completion date – you may want to show this to your teaching organisation as evidence of taking some external CPD.

You can find information about all the short online CPD courses that I offer here.

 

 

 

Courses starting soon

j0308887

Two courses are available to book now. Online payment by card or Paypal.

Do you want or need to do some CPD? This is a great opportunity to take some CPD that is personalised to your own dance teaching practice.

Dance teachers from all dance genres are welcome to take these courses. Trainee dance teachers can also take them. Dance teachers from around the world have successfully completed short online CPD courses for dance teachers gaining a Certificate of Completion for each course completed.

Details of all courses are available here plus downloadable information sheets for each course.

 

 

Mindful moments

With the current Mindfulness in Dance Teaching course underway I have been reflecting on  a personal retreat I spent recently at Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and Centre for World Peace and Health on the banks of the river Esk in Scotland. Although this is a Buddhist Monastery, it is not necessary to be Buddhist or even religious in order to visit or stay at this peaceful place. I loved being close to the water and this lovely little beach with its colourful pebbles.

The photographs in this article are ones I took during my retreat. Although it was still quite wintry weather there were some dry and bright patches of weather too. You can see from the photos that there is still some snow lying on the banks of the river and pond beneath the bridge.

During my retreat I spent time joining silent meditations as well as spending time by the river enjoying some mindful moments doing mindful breathing and movement. Breathing in fresh, clean air and doing some early morning mindful movement is a great way to start the day.

Several times during my retreat I walked across the wooden bridge to the river where I spent a little time sitting on a stone enjoying a mindful moment or two in meditation. Even just a few mindful moments here and there offers benefits. I certainly felt it was beneficial doing some little and often meditation.

 

Doing little and often mindfulness is something that we can do as dance teachers for our own wellbeing. Most dance teachers are very busy people so it is not always easy finding time to switch off and relax. But once you are into the habit of spending some mindful moments for you then you should feel the benefit. In the Mindfulness in Dance Teaching course we explore ways of bringing some principles of mindfulness into our dance teaching practice. This course is not a strictly mindfulness course. Instead it explores ways of teaching dance that incorporate aspects of mindfulness such as noticing, non-judgemental observing and mindfulness in action. Exploring non-judgemental observing can be challenging for dance teachers as a lot of dance teaching can be about being judgemental. Teachers who have already taken this course report finding this aspect particularly challenging but also a very useful addition to their dance teaching toolkit.

You can read more about Mindfulness in Dance Teaching in an article posted earlier on this site. Meanwhile I am looking forward to another stay at Samye Ling’s in the not too distant future.

 

 

 

 

April Courses available to book now

 

dancing

There are three short online CPD courses available to book now. Check them out on the Book a Course page.

These short online courses are increasing in popularity with dance teachers around the world. A growing number of teachers are returning to take further courses. You can read about the course details on the Short Online Courses page and download a course information sheet there for each course too.

If you are considering taking one or more of these courses please make sure that you book by the closing date.

 

 

CPD course bookings close Thursday

_MG_8936

 

You still have time to book one or more of the short online CPD courses for dance teachers, starting later this month. Bookings for these courses close on Thursday 18 January 2018 (UK time).

If you want to fit some CPD in around your existing home and work commitments then take a look at the list of January starting courses and book now.

 

 

NEW YEAR COURSES SAVINGS

As a special New Year offer you can save money by booking one or more course/s by this Friday, 5 January 2018. So don’t delay book today.

The first group of short online CPD courses for this year is now available to book on the Book a Course page. Included is the brand new course Teaching the Adolescent Dancer. Why not take advantage of the New Year offer and save when you book?

Full details of all the short online CPD courses for dance teachers are available on the Short Online Courses page.

Warm wishes to dance teachers everywhere

Whether you celebrate Christmas or just enjoy the festivities at this time of year, warmest wishes to you.

Thank you for your support and interest in my short online CPD for dance teachers courses in 2017. A brand new year is just around the corner and I look forward to working with many of you during 2018.

Courses list for the first part of 2018 will be posted shortly after Christmas on the Book a Course page.

 

 

 

Posted in CPD

Teaching the Adolescent Dancer – new course coming soon

Do you find adolescent dancers challenging to teach? Do your adolescent students struggle with how to cope with the changes they face at this time of physical and emotional change? Do you want to understand more about teaching adolescent dancers? Then the new short online CPD course that I am currently preparing will interest you. Teaching the Adolescent Dancer will be a brand new course exploring key issues relating to teaching adolescent dance learners.

I will release full details of Teaching the Adolescent Dancer shortly and the dates for the first course which will be later this month. If you want to take this course then keep checking the site for news of how to book and when the course will start. Alternately, you can sign up for free to receive an email each time something new is published here on the site. This way you won’t miss new articles and information about courses. You can sign up via the link in the sidebar to the right of the page.

You can read some information about my short online CPD courses for dance teachers here.

 

 

November courses – have you booked your place?

LogoThis is a quick reminder to say that bookings for the November courses close tomorrow, 31 October. If you are thinking of joining us for Mindfulness in Dance Teaching or the Proprioception course then you still have time to book your place online by the end of 31 October 2017 (UK time).

These short online CPD courses only take 10 hours of your time over the three weeks of the course. Completition certifcates include the number of hours and date of competition (the last date of  your course). Dance teachers from around the world have successfully completed a variety of short online CPD courses with me since I introduced them in April 2015. During this short period of time course participants have included dance teachers just starting out, through to very highly experienced teachers who have been working in the dance industry for decades. As the weekly email tutorials enable the course to be personalised and tailored to suit your specific dance teaching practice, they are meaningful for your practice and not just in a general way.

If you are new to these courses why not take one in November and see how you can enhance your knowledge, skills and understanding in topics that you might be revising or are new to, and want to explore and find out how to incorporate them into your teaching.

If you have already taken one or more of my short online CPD courses then are you ready to take another course?

Thank you for considering these courses. If you are taking one or both of the November courses then I look forward to working with you then.

 

 

 

Closing date 31 October 2017

You still have time to book your place on a short online course. The closing date is the end of the month, 31 October 2017 and you can book online.

If you need some CPD or just want to enhance your knowledge, skills and understanding then why not book your place today?

You can read previous posts below about the topics of the two courses coming up.

Mindfulness in dance teaching

Proprioception

Want to know about a course?  You can download information sheets about all of the short online courses here.

 

 

 

New dates – courses available to book NOW

I am running two short online CPD courses for dance teachers starting on Friday 10 November 2017. Details and booking at Book a Course.

Teachers often ask if they can take two courses at the same time and my answer is yes, of course, as long as you have sufficient time available to fit in both courses and also teach the class for each course in week three. The class for each course needs to focus on what we explore about the topic on that course so if you do take two courses then you will need to teach two classes in the final week of the course. As long as you can do this then you are welcome to take two courses together. Teachers who have taken two courses at the same time have reported many benefits as topics always have connections with each other. After all they are all about enhancing our knowledge, skills and understanding of how we teach.

You can find out more about the courses available to book and all the courses that we offer at Short Online Courses. And you can book current courses at Book a Course.

Why don’t you join me on a short online CPD course for dance teachers in November?