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.

 

 

 

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