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Exciting news!

Courses for March and April 2017 are available to book now.

General information is available about courses on the Short Online Courses page. The brand new course Mindfulness in Dance Teaching will have an information sheet available shortly.

 

Dance imagery

Dancing jumpingImagery was part of my dance training although I did not think of it as movement or dance imagery at the time. It was just something we incorporated into our training and performance. When I first took part in a movement/dance imagery workshop with Eric Franklin at an IADMS (International Association for Dance Medicine & Science) conference many years ago I was reminded of how important imagery is in dance learning and teaching.

Articles and books

In recent years there has been an increasing amount of articles and books promoting the positive use of imagery in training, rehearsal and performance. Although imagery has been around for a very long time it is still relatively new to some. We can learn a lot from the study and use of imagery in our teaching.

Mabel Todd’s wonderful book The Thinking Body, first published in 1937 (and still available today), tells us on page 295:  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

Physics of the hardest move in ballet

Creative people over at TED-Ed Original have produced a great educative, animation video about The physics of the ‘hardest move’ in ballet – the fouetté. If you have ever struggled with performing or teaching fouettés then this short video will interest you.

 

 

Did you enjoy the video? What did you learn from it? If you have found it useful for your performing or teaching then please leave a comment below that others might find helpful.

 

 

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

Teaching older people to dance – last day for bookings

SendIf you are considering booking on the Learning and Teaching Dance: Teaching dance to older people Short Online CPD Course for Dance Teachers then today is the last day for bookings. So you still have time if you can get your booking and payment completed today – Monday 25 April 2016.

If you want to pay online please email me your completed booking form and I will send you an invoice with the payment link so you can pay either via Paypal or by card. For a BACS (bank) transfer the details are on the booking form.

I am delighted at the interest in this course and looking forward to exploring this new topic with you, if you are joining me in May.

 

 

Dance and older people

New pathToday older people enjoy a whole range of dance activities. Older adult classes are increasingly available with more dance teachers realising that there are lots of older people who want to dance and be active.

There are differences between teaching say, children’s ballet and teaching ballet to older adults. Equally, with other dance genres such as tap, Jazz dance and the other theatre styles there are adjustments to be made to suit the needs of the people you teach. Social dance genres such as ballroom, Latin, sequence, Salsa and so on have been offering dance classes for older adults for many decades but even these genres need to consider the needs of their participants when choosing appropriate dances and dance content for them.

Another social dance genre that many older adults enjoy is Line dancing and just as with all the other dance genres, it is vital to consider the needs and abilities of those you are teaching when choosing dance content, pace of teaching, tempo of music and so on. Making dance classes for older people inclusive and not exclusive is important to avoid them feeling that they cannot join in. As our older adults getting older, their needs and abilities change and if we respond to these changes by adapting how we teach and the dance content we give them we can help our older dancers to enjoy and get the benefits of dancing for longer.

I like to think about the health and social benefits of teaching dance to older people and we will explore these benefits and much more during my short online CPD course for dance teachers – Learning and Teaching Dance: teaching dance to older people. The closing date for booking this course is Monday 25 April 2016 and the course begins on Friday 6 May 2016. Don’t forget you can pay online now so easier to pay for your course especially if you are outside of the UK.

Why not join me in exploring this exciting area of dance teaching?

 

Dancing to keep young

Sea & skyDriving home this evening I heard on the radio that Journalist, Angela Rippon has a new, two part show being aired on Thursdays 7 and 14 April 2016 on BBC 1, 9pm.

She spoke about dance being scientifically good for us because it ticks all the boxes such as, fitness, flexibility, core stability, socialisation and keeps the brain active remembering all those steps and dances. She spoke passionately about older people dancing and how good it is for people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Having taught ladies and gents of 80 plus and even on or two of 90 plus I can confirm how well they respond to dancing as long as it is taught and danced at a pace they can cope with.

The first of Angela Rippon’s programmes is apparently about keeping the body young and the second one is about keeping the brain (or mind) young. They seem worth watching if you can.

It is always good to hear someone speak passionately about older people dancing. I think the genres she mentioned specifically are ballet, Line dancing and belly dancing. So quite a range and why not? Dancing is not just for the young. It has so much to offer people of all ages.

If you are interested in teaching older people to dance or already teach classes for older people then why not take the short online CPD course starting in May: Learning and Teaching Dance: teaching dance to older people?

And don’t forget you can now pay for your courses online via Paypal and credit cards.

 

 

What is your teaching goal?

Depending on the sort of dance teaching you are involved with do you set an overall goal for each class or group of classes that you teach? What I mean is do you have an overall focus of learning and development beyond the specific content for one class?

Ballerinas' Legs in a RowAn example of this could be in say a ballet class where you are teaching some dance technique aspects of the syllabus. The focus of the session is to develop the technique but what about a more general or overall focus that you can transport from one session to another? What about the bigger picture? An overall focus might be to add to each student’s understanding of safe dance practice (SDP). When you reflect on the class you would be able to identify not only how you introduced the technique but also how the class helped to develop the student’s understanding of safe dance practice. You can use this overall focus for a number of weeks, terms or determined length.

In an older adult class you might have set dance pieces that you want to teach or review and in addition to these you may also have an overall focus of encouraging participants to interact with each other. So in this situation the dance class has dance content goals but there is also an overall focus of increasing socialisation within the class. Over several classes there may be different dance content goals but the overall goal for the classes might be to promote wellbeing through increasing socialisation.

ShouldersIn a Highland class you may be working on say, the sword dance but an overall goal for the class might be to improve the use of the shoulder joint for improved carriage of the arms and upper body throughout all the Highland dances. And you bring this focus into whatever aspect of the sword dance that you are teaching. Or it may be that you want an overall focus of improving breathing and stamina. Again something that can be a focus in your Highland classes no matter what dance or steps you are teaching at individual classes.

A beginner ballroom class may being introduced to basics from the various dances but could an overall goal perhaps be for the dancers to become comfortable dancing as a couple no matter which dance they are dancing?

I am sure you get the picture whichever dance genres you teach. What are your overall goals for the learning and development of your dancers/students in addition to specific dance goals at each class or session?

 

 

Dancing in my head again

jazz silhouette

Dancing in my head was the topic of a post I wrote back in 2012 and I thought it is time to say something more about this exciting topic.

What I refer to as, dancing in my head, is often called mental practise or mental rehearsal. In dance this mental practise involves imagining that one is in the dance environment performing the desired dance task or tasks. One aspect that I find works really well for me when dancing in my head, is rhythm. Going through the step or movement in rhythm in my head helps me to get the right feel of the dance, step or movement. Feeling the rhythm in my head is the same as feeling it in my feet or body when I dance it or teach it.

Mental rehearsal is a good way to get steps, movements or a dance clear in your head before you physically perform them.. Take Highland dancing for example, dancing a new step or a new link from one movement to another, in your head reduces the amount of energy needed and hopping that needs to be done. In fact, Highland is a dance genre where teaching your students about mental rehearsal or dancing in their head can really benefit their performance. Competitive Highland dancers and other competitive dancers of course, can gain from ‘dancing in their head’ as part of their training regime for competitions.

I like to explore using a variety of ways to achieve the end goal and mental rehearsal is one that you might find helps your dancers to focus on how to practise and get the most from that practise.

Whatever dance genre/s you teach why not consider encouraging ‘dancing in your head’ for your students and see what they make of doing regular, mental practise?

Remember to read my previous post on this topic for more information.

 

 

Dates for new short online course – teaching dance to older people

Learning and Teaching Dance: teaching dance to older people

Thank you for the interest already shown in my new course. This confirms how teaching dance to older people is becoming more popular in UK and around the world. As a dance teacher you can tap into this area if you are not already. If you are currently teaching older people dance then you may want to explore or review some of the key areas that you should have an understanding of when teaching this amazing population.

This course will be of interest to dance teachers in all dance genres wanting to teach dance to older people. So if you teach, ballet, ballroom, Line dancing, tap, Jazz, swing, modern, Latin, Salsa, national or any other dance genre then take a look at the details of this course below.

Download the information sheet and booking form below:

Short CPD- Learning & Teaching Dance – teaching dance to older people

Booking form

Course cost:

As usual this short online CPD course for dance teachers is only £49 (Sterling). This is terrific value and includes the three, email tutorials with your course tutor.

You can now pay online:

You now have more choices of how to pay for your short online courses. As well as via BACS or Sterling cheque you can pay online with Paypal or credit card. Ask for online payment when booking course and an invoice with the online payment link will be emailed to you.

Course dates:

The course starts on Friday 6 May 2016 and finishes on Thursday 26 May 2016.

Closing date for this course is Monday 25 April 2016.

 

 

Reflecting on previous posts

Sea & sky

 

 

 

I was reminded this week that it is useful to highlight previous posts because they will be new to some of you. If you have not seen these posts before, I hope you find them useful and maybe even interesting. If you have seen them before I hope you will  have another look and reflect on them again.

 

What teacher does in class

Ethics and dance thesis

Teaching with mirrors in dance class

Highland Dancing competitors – are we expecting too much?

Valuing dancers for what they are and not just for what they can do

When can I start pointe work?

Helping dancers thrive and feel motivated

If you want to start a discussion or interact with fellow dance teachers about one or more of these topics why not leave a comment in the box below.