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.



Thoughts about Line dancing and teacher CPD

Older social dance groupLine dancing has evolved so much over the past 20 years or so. Back then grapevines, hitches and struts could be found in lots of Line dances of all levels. Coaster steps and sailor shuffles were among the steps that Line dance teachers had to spend some time teaching to help their dancers grasp the shape or pattern of the steps as well as the rhythm. Apple jacks were a real challenge for many and I recall with affection the times I spent breaking down and building up apple jacks when teaching them to Line dancers eager to master this flashy step. Done well apple jacks could create a lot of admiration from fellow dancers back then. Today they have got lost (or maybe just hidden) in the huge melting pot of Line dance steps or is it that apple jacks come under the steps that take a little bit too long to teach? In a world where everything is so instant do Line dancers just want instant Line dancing too?

Line dancing, other dance genres and teacher education

For a while a few years ago there was a huge amount of borrowing from other dance genres happening in Line dance choreography. Movements and steps were being introduced on a relentless scale. From rondés to arabesques and everything in between, they were all popping up in Line dances (this still happens but perhaps not on such a vast scale). What is wrong with this, I hear some think? Well nothing as long as the steps or movements are taught safely so that dancers are not put at risk because of not knowing how to do the step or what the step actually is. What would help is better education (and more interest in Line dance teacher education) so that Line dance teachers learn more about how to do and teach these new steps and movements so they can teach them safely to their dancers. This takes us back to the debates that have been around for years popping up from time to time about whether or not deviating so far from the roots of Line dancing through the introduction of more and more complex steps from other dance genres makes Line dancing exclusive instead of inclusive for participants. This got me thinking about a couple of issues that I would have on my wish list for Line dancing.

Beginners and older Line dancers

Dancing in your headHigh on my Line dance wish list would have to be a Line dance world that paid more attention to beginners and older Line dancers.

I noticed during the lengthy period of change in Line dancing that these two groups of Line dancers were not catered for in the way that say, the intermediate dancers or even improver dancers were and are today. It seems that less attention is paid to the needs of beginners and older Line dancers when dances are choreographed. A lot of new Line dances appear to target younger, improver or intermediate dancers and not older dancers who might prefer to do dances at a pace that is comfortable rather than trying to keep up with dancing at a very brisk tempo and dancing endless turns. Of course there are some older Line dancers who can dance fast dances with lots of turns but many cannot and these are the ones I would love to see catered for more on my wish list.

Absolute beginners and beginners are the other group of dancers on this wish list of mine. I love beginners. They are such a vital group of people in Line dancing and any social dance genre. Line dancing, as with any social dance form, needs regular, new blood coming in to learn and enjoy it so that get hooked and want to continue with their new hobby for a long time to come. Introducing Line dancing to new beginners is such a joy and a privilege for teachers. The foundation that beginners learn when starting out helps them throughout their Line dancing journey. And this is why the other huge wish on my list has to be encouraging more Line dance teachers to take part in workshops or courses that help to enhance teaching.

CPD and Line dance teaching

I find that Line dance teachers are often reluctant to take part in teacher training or CPD and to me this is sad but also a missed opportunity to enhance skills and become better at what we do. When I have had the pleasure of leading workshops and courses for Line dance teachers it is usual to have a lot of fun as well as all the learning, thinking and sharing that goes on at these sessions. Teachers often share teaching concerns and there have been more than a few lightbulb moments at these sessions as nuggets of knowledge and understanding help to resolve long-standing teaching issues for some of the teachers.

It is a dear wish of mine that more Line dance teachers will take part in some sort of dance teacher development be that with me or someone else. Doing some updating of skills not only helps you to be a better Line dance teacher but it also gives you, as the teacher, new ideas and new ways to think about your teaching. And I often find that when you look with fresh eyes at something you have done for some time you can find new motivation and energy in what you do.

If you teach Line dancing then it would be lovely to have an opportunity to work with you on one of my short online CPD courses for dance teachers. Each course takes 10 hours of your time over a three-week period and only costs £49 (GBP) plus you get a completion certificate when you complete the course. All of the courses are open to dance teachers from all dance genres but a course specifically for social or leisure dance teachers is planned for a little later this year. If you want to find out more about my short online courses for dance teachers then please get in touch. Information about the current courses on offer are available here.


Line dance improvers

Improvers level in Line dancing appeared as an in-between level for dancers moving from Beginners to Intermediates. Some called this level Easy Intermediate but today it is a separate level.

Why do we need Improvers in Line dancing?

I believe that Improvers came into being because Intermediate dances got more complex and faster. The mix of these two things means it is difficult for a beginner to make the leap from Beginner straight to Intermediate.

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