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?
A link to this interesting article dropped into my inbox the other day. Older people and dance is something I have been interested in for a long time. I have taught a variety of different dance genres to older people and saw the positive impact learning and enjoying dance can have on this dance population.
It is good to read about the positive outcomes for older people who are given new challenges in the dance class each week. The constantly changing patterns of steps, movements, arm positions or patterns are thought to account for the difference in balance displayed by the dance group in the study. This certainly reflects my own experience of teaching older people dance. After just a few weeks I often noticed improvements in balance and of course maintaining good balance abilities is good in helping to reduce trips and falls. As well as improvement to balance I also noticed how much confidence the older people would gain when they could remember and perform their dance sequences or short dances without depending on cues from me, their teacher.
Below are some of the earlier articles that I have written here about older people and dance that you might want to read:
Imagery 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 →
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.
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.
Today 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.
Driving 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.
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?
An 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.
In 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?