Proprioception and Mindfulness courses – book now

You can book the following courses now.  Continue reading

Mindfulness in dance teaching

Dancer inclined headIn a busy world it is easy to miss things that are around us or even within us. How much time do we spend noticing what is around us, noticing our breath, noticing how we are teaching?

Creating some space within our teaching to notice things about our teaching. To be mindful of our teaching and the people we teach is what I want to explore very briefly here.  Continue reading

November Courses – book by end of October

NOVEMBER 2016 COURSES

Start date: Friday 11 November 2016
Finish date: Thursday 1 December 2016
Closing date for bookings: Monday 31 October 2016


Learning and Teaching Dance: Tension & Rigidity in Dance

Bookings for this course have closed.


Dance Teaching Ethics: an introduction

Bookings for this course have closed.


Further information
Further information about each course is available on the Short Online Courses page – once there scroll down for individual course details and links to course information sheets to download. This is also where you will find the general information about the Short Online CPD Courses for Dance Teachers.

Each course takes 10 hours of your time over a period of three weeks and only costs £55 (GBP) which is fantastic value.

If you want to take two courses at the same time (and some teachers do) please ensure that you have time to do two courses together and can teach two classes (one for each course) in week three of the courses. Please read the Short Online Courses page for further information about the courses.


Book a course now

j0308887Click here to book your place on a November short online CPD courses for dance teachers.

Please note that the closing date for the November courses is Monday 31 October 2016.

For general information about the short online CPD courses for dance teachers click here.

 


 

Past posts for dance teachers

Holding Daisies

In this post I am flagging up some previous posts that cover a variety of topics so you should find something that is useful for your dance teaching practice.

You can download a free performance booklet and read about why CPD is so much more than syllabus.

You can engage with articles published on the site by leaving comments or asking questions via the comment facility at the bottom of each post. Continue reading

January and April 2016 course dates

There are two short online CPD courses for dance teachers running in January 2016. Details and booking forms are available below.

Starting: Friday 15 January 2016

Completing: Thursday 4 February 2016

Proprioception balance on one leg

 

 

 

 

Safe Dance Teaching Practice: proprioception – NEW

This is a brand new course looking at proprioception in relation to dance teaching and learning. We will explore this ‘sixth sense’ or ‘awareness of one’s body in space’ and consider ways to develop and enhance this in the dance students you teach. We will also consider teaching techniques for dance students with reduced proprioception such as those with hypermobility syndrome. Planing and delivering a session or class focusing on developing proprioception enables an opportunity to apply this understanding in your dance teaching practice.

As with all of the Short Online CPD Courses for Dance teachers, the weekly email tutorials over the three weeks of the course are an important aspect of this CPD.

For more details about this course download the information sheet below:

Short online CPD – Proprioception

Booking form – Short Online CPD courses 2016

Closing dates for courses

Closing dates for courses have been introduced so please ensure bookings and payment are received by the closing date for the course/s you wish to take.

Please note that the closing date for bookings and payment for the January 2016 courses is: Thursday 31 December 2015

 

Relaxing

Learning and Teaching Dance: tension and rigidity in dance

This is proving to be a popular course with teachers. First we will reflect on how tension and rigidity are often taught or encouraged as a way of achieving control in dance. This might relate to a rigid and tense posture or use of tension and tightness to support the arms or perhaps tensing the feet when dancing. Then we will explore methods and approaches relating to your own dance teaching practices that should help to develop control in your students’ technique and performance without relying on tension and rigidity.

Download the course information sheet for this course:

Learning & Teaching Dance – tension & rigidity in dance

Booking form – Short Online CPD courses 2016

Closing dates for courses

Closing dates for courses have been introduced so please ensure bookings and payment are received by the closing date for the course/s you wish to take.

Please note that the closing date for bookings and payment for the January 2016 courses is: Thursday 31 December 2015

 

 

April Courses

Dates and details for courses staring in April are:

Starting: Friday 22 April 2016

Completing: Thursday 12 May 2016

ethicsdance

 

 

 

 

Dance Teaching Ethics: an introduction

Ethics and dance teaching might seem like a totally new topic for dance teachers but in reality dance teachers have been dealing with ethical dilemmas for a long time. In ethical dance teaching practice we aim to deal with such dilemmas in ways that respect the whole person. We do this through teaching methods and approaches that value dance students and dancers for what they are rather than what they can do. In other words, valuing the person they are and not just their dance abilities. This ethical or person-centred dance teaching practice considers both the physical and psychological aspects of the teaching. Ethical teaching helps student dancers and dancers to reach their fullest potential.

During this course we will explore, discuss and reflect on examples of teaching ethically and how ethical principles can be applied in dance teaching practice. We will also consider the codes, rules or standards that dance teachers often sign up to and how they work or not in practice.

For more details about this course download the information sheet below:

Short CPD- Dance teaching ethics – an introduction

Booking form – Short Online CPD courses 2016

Closing dates for courses

Closing dates for courses have been introduced so please ensure bookings and payment are received by the closing date for the course/s you wish to take.

Please note that the closing date for bookings and payment for the April 2016 courses is: Wednesday 6 April 2016

 

Front of shoulder anatomy model

Aspects of Anatomy: exploring basic shoulder anatomy and function in dance

In dance we tend to talk about placing and moving the arms and not focusing on the shoulder joint where the movement occurs. So, in this course, we will explore the basic anatomy of this vital joint and then focus on how it functions in dance. You will consider ways of incorporating teaching methods that aim to improve shoulder alignment and movement into your own teaching practice.

For more details about this course download the information sheet below:

Short CPD- Aspects of Anatomy- shoulder

Booking form – Short Online CPD courses 2016

Closing dates for courses

Closing dates for courses have been introduced so please ensure bookings and payment are received by the closing date for the course/s you wish to take.

Please note that the closing date for bookings and payment for the April 2016 courses is: Wednesday 6 April 2016

I hope to have an opportunity to work with you on one or more of the courses outlined above.

 

Highland dancers – achieving steady raised arms

Highland dancing

I remember when I was a young Highland dancing competitor that we all worked hard to have steady arms. With so much elevation and jumping going on in Highland it is not surprising that achieving steady arms is, for some, a real challenge. But does it need to be?

Continue reading

My latest book purchase

Dance Medicine in PracticeMy copy of Liane Simmel’s book ‘Dance Medicine in Practice’ (newly translated into English) and published by Routledge has just arrived. I love the anticipation of opening a brand new book. When I heard that Liane’s book was now available in I immediately ordered it and at first glance, it certainly does not disappoint.

This post is about my first impressions of this book as I have yet to read it. But flicking through the sections and pages it seems well thought out and offers a lot of useful information as one would expect from a medical doctor, osteopath and former professional dancer who specialises in dance medicine.

Continue reading

Time for teacher

Dancing in your headWith everything that dance teachers need to pay attention to today it is not surprising that it can get a bit stressful at times. In amongst making sure that students are being taught safely and effectively and risk management is in place to deal with all and sundry do we find time to look after ourselves?

Continue reading

Relaxation for Dancers – Tense and Release Technique

Relaxation

Something I have planned to do for a while is some short presentations about Relaxation for Dancers. And the first one is now available.

Continue reading

Relaxation Technique: Tense and Release

I am a great believer in the benefits of relaxation skills for dancers.  Dancing with muscles that are full of excess tension is like dancing with big heavy boots on.  And the more you do it the more your body tries to adapt to accommodate the tension.  The problem here is that you get so used to dancing with excess tension that you don’t realise that the tension is there.  So learning to recognise muscle tension is vital if you want to reduce it.

Using the tense and release relaxation technique helps you to develop awareness of varying amounts of tension in your muscles.  It is useful to practise recognising three different levels of tension:-

  • strong – this is where you tense your muscles as much as you can
  • medium – this is where you use roughly half of the available muscle tension
  • light – this is the minimal amount of tension when you are hardly tensing your muscles at all

Begin by making yourself comfortable.  This can be lying on a mat on the floor, sitting in a supportive chair or even lying in bed.  You want to feel that the floor, chair or bed is supporting you.  And give a sigh to begin the release of tension.  Before beginning the tense and release technique take a moment or two to focus on the rhythm of your breathing paying particular attention to the ‘out breath’.  Close your eyes if you wish.

You can work through the body from the head to the feet or from the feet to the head – whatever you prefer.  I am going to begin with the feet and lower legs.

Tense your right lower leg and foot by pointing your toes as strongly as you can – feel the tension then let it go.  Repeat on the same side again but this time use medium or half tension – again feel the tension then release it.  Repeat once more on the right side but use only the lightest or minimal tension that you can – feel the tension then relax and let it go.  Repeat all the above on the left side.  Remember to breathe and focus on the ‘out breath’.

Then you are ready to move to the next area – the upper legs.  Strongly tense your right thigh and buttock – feel the tension and then let it release.  Repeat on the same side with medium tension – feel the tension and then let it go.  And then repeat once more with minimal tension – feel the tension and then relax.  Repeat all three levels of tension on the left side remembering about the breathing.

Repeat this triple pattern of tension and release with the arms on one side and then the other – tensing and releasing the arm and fist.

Then move to the abdomen – tense your abdominals by drawing them backwards towards your spine, feel the tension and then let it go.  Repeat for each level of tension.

Moving to the neck and shoulders.  Tense the muscles around this area by lifting up your shoulders towards your ears (shrugging), feel the level of tension and then release it.  Repeat for each level of tension.  Continue to let the breathing help you to relax by focusing on the ‘out breath’.

The last area is the face.  Create strong tension by tightening your jaw and screwing up all the muscles in your face – feel the tension and then relax.  Repeat for medium and minimal tension.

When you have completed the tense and release technique throughout the body then focus on your breathing and enjoy the relaxation.  When you are ready, gently start to move your feet by stretching them away from you, open your eyes if they are closed.  If you want to get up then do this gradually in your own time.

Regularly practising this tense and release technique will help you to develop your awareness of the level of muscle tension when you are dancing.  And if it is too strong then you will be able to explore reducing it until you achieve optimal tension.  Once you have begun to master all three levels of tense and release you can experiment with just using one or two levels instead of always using all three.  Developing good awareness of the lightest level is particularly useful.  Some headaches develop from muscle tension and if you develop say, your awareness of excess muscle tension around your neck and shoulders then you can begin to feel this type of headache when it first starts and then use some breathing and release of tension skills to help to relieve it before it gets worse.

Another use of tense and release technique is to help to improve your quality of sleep.  The idea is not to make you fall asleep but to relax muscle tension before you go to sleep resulting in improved quality of sleep – try it really does work.  You may need to practise these skills for some time before you get most benefit but it is worth the effort.

So this technique can have positive benefits for dancers and dance teachers too.  There are ways to develop this technique for use in dance and performance and I will explore aspects of this another time.

 

 

Preparation for Performance

Prep for performance

You can download a free copy of my Preparation for Performance for Highland Dancers.  The non dance techniques introduced in this book aim to be an effective aid to enhancing performance.  If you are a dancer and want to have an edge on your fellow Highland dancing competitors then this book is for you.  If you are a teacher then encourage your dancers to learn and use these non dance techniques to help them to cope with the pressures of competition.

If you do not do or teach Highland dancing then don’t worry, these non dance technique skills and tips are easily transferrable to other dance genres.  And you can even use them in everyday life.

Topics include:-

  • Mental training skills
  • Breathing and relaxation
  • Practical exercises using balls and bands

You can go to the website to download your free copy now.