Teacher Takeover – Music to Memories

dance domain teacher takeover

At Dance Domain we love our team of talented, creative, and unique teachers. What makes the DD team tick? Find out in our Teacher Takeover series.

In this edition, Sally takes us on a journey that’s all about the powerful connection between music and memory.

‘music to memories’ – sally reay

A few weeks ago I was a dancing at a Footloose-themed 40th birthday function. It was a great night, and I probably enjoyed dressing up in 80s prom style a little more than necessary.

When it came time for speeches, I wasn’t expecting be particularly interested, as I didn’t know this lovely woman at all. However, I was soon totally drawn in. And the reason? Music.

image source: http://ew.com/music/2017/06/02/whitney-houston-songs-ranked/

Instead of a bunch of in-jokes and had-to-be-there stories only relevant to a few people in the room, this speech was all about the music that had defined various moments in this woman’s life (complete with corresponding photos and album covers!). Everybody was intrigued, laughing, and loving it – even total strangers like me.

Music has such universal power and can evoke such strong responses, whether you’re a die-hard fan, an occasional radio listener, or a dancer who uses it in class every week. That’s why this speech was instantly so relatable – as she told us what she was going through when she bought that New Kids On The Block album, we all had our own memories associated with those songs. Her story about hearing Prince for the first time also brought back a flood of stories for everybody else. When she went through her Kate Bush phase, others reminisced about theirs.

image source: https://www.amazon.com/End-Road-Collection-Boyz-Men

I love how music becomes this backdrop for such a huge range of experiences. And how our associations with certain songs can change over time, as we make new memories and move on to different seasons. As a dance teacher, I love that music plays such a huge part in my life, not only in terms of enjoyment but also for ‘work’. We discover new music together, songs that our students hear for the first time in Term 1 become favourites a few months later, and of course concert songs will have lasting memories for years to come. Who knows, maybe some music you’ve been dancing to lately will make it into a speech at your 40th birthday!

Let’s get some tunes on…

image course: http://www.bubblegumdancer.com/2-aqua/project/

The DD SRC's next event is the DD AMAZING RACE

The latest AMAZING event from the DD SRC!

the latest amazing event from the dd src!

Fresh off the success of last term’s event, DD Up Late!, the DD SRC have wasted no time in scheming up an AMAZING new event for term 3…

Do you love a challenge and working in a team? Get your sense of adventure ready and your thinking caps on… this event is one you won’t want to miss!

Get ready to run, get ready to think, get ready to have some major fun…

Wait for it…

 

it’s the DD amazing race!!

SUNDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER

3PM @ SYDNEY PARK 

In an afternoon of clue cracking, you’ll complete a series of challenges with your team in a race around Sydney Park.

But who will be the first to cross the finish line and win the DD Amazing Race?

The DD Amazing Race is open to current Dance Domain students and their siblings, but you’ll need to register first by clicking here.

You can enter in teams of 3-5 people, but everyone will need to register as an individual.

Got a team together? Come up with a cool team name and let us know on the registration form. Don’t worry if you don’t already have a team, put your name down and we’ll match you up with a group of other awesome DD students on the day!

Once our awesome teams have completed the DD Amazing Race course, we’ll head over to the Darley St Bistro for a little dinner and catch up session. Family and friends are welcome. We’d love to share a lovely Sunday spring afternoon with you all! So we can book a table, be sure to RSVP for the dinner and drinks on the registration form.

REGISTER FOR THE DD AMAZING RACE!

 

The DD SRC's next event is the DD AMAZING RACE

We’re so excited for this event. Our DD SRC reps for 2017 have come up with an awesome course of challenges that will take you on an awesome adventure through Sydney Park, and Sally has been smashing out the clues and challenge prep ready for the most amazing event ever!

We can’t wait to see you there!

Ready…. set… RACE!

Bangarra's Bennelong

Dance Domain Out on the Town – Our trip to see ‘Bennelong’

Dance domain out on the town!

Last Saturday night, Dance Domain students and families went on an excursion to see Bangarra’s latest work, Bennelong. Find out more about Dance Domain’s Bangarra excursion to the Sydney Opera House!

Bangarra's Bennelong

Image source: Edward Mulvihill www.bangarra.com.au

Dance domain’s bangarra excursion

This is only the second time we’ve done this “watching dance” excursion with the Dance Domain community, but it has quickly become a tradition. Last year we had the pleasure of watching OUR Land, People, Stories. I was mesmerised during the entire show and long after I left the theatre. This year was no different, except for the fact that it moved me to tears on more than one occasion.

There’s nothing quite like seeing Bangarra take the stage. They’re one of my favourite Australian dance companies, and they never disappoint. From the stunning dancers and clever choreography to the exquisite costumes and impeccable music, every show is perfectly crafted from start to finish.

But most of all, taking our students to watch Bangarra is educational. Every time I watch them, I’m transported into narratives of a history that have otherwise been obscured by the mainstream. This mission is something we strongly support in the Dance Domain community. Each time I walk away from a Bangarra show, I walk away with a little more insight into a culture and a history I ashamedly do not know enough about.

As a teacher and studio director, my aim for these excursions is to give my students the opportunity to learn more about the stories of our nation’s first people. The fact that this happens through an engaging and familiar form is a bonus.

I love being able to discuss the show, its message, and its artistic features with our students and families, and I can’t wait to see many more works from Bangarra in the future!

Dance Domain students watch Bangarra's Bennelong

What did our students think of bennelong?

So what was the verdict? We asked our students and families who joined us on Dance Domain’s Bangarra excursion what they thought of the show, the experience, and the excursion!

Dom

I think the show was amazing and it’s important because we can learn a lot from watching other people perform. Also, it told us a lot about the history of our country and particularly indigenous stories. It was also heaps of fun to hang out with everyone for a bit!

Natalie

The show was incredible. They showed us the story of Bennelong in a way that we have never seen before and they performed it beautifully! My favourite part was definitely the small pox scene – it was done with so much emotion. Seeing this performance with my friends was an added bonus and was heaps of fun!!

(…that smallpox scene that Natalie mentioned – that was one of the moments that brought me to tears. So incredibly powerful.)

dance domain students in the audience before Bangarra's show starts!

Natalie & Emily in the audience pre-show!

Nina

I thought that the show was so good. I loved the bit with the one girl dancer and the numbers (I think they were 178 ?). I loved the story it told and it really showed us how our face and body can tell an amazing story that needs to be spread and acknowledged. I love the DD excursions because we get to spend time with each other outside of dance and chat without disrupting a class

(the dance teacher in me has gotta love that last part!)

Dance pic fails at Dance Domain's Bangarra Excursion

This is what we let loose in Sydney…

While Bennelong is now closed in Sydney, you can find out more about Bangarra and their upcoming works by visiting their site here.

We can’t wait till the next DD Excursion 🙂

The Dance Domain clothes swap shop in action!

DD Brag Book #2: Mirabel’s War on Waste!

At Dance Domain, we’re all about giving our student’s the opportunity to create, lead and inspire others, and today’s Brag Book focuses on one particular student who has done just that… and all at the ripe old age of 10! In this edition, you’ll find out how one student decided to lead her own #waronwaste by creating the first ever DD Clothes Swap!

Prepare to be stunned people – this is the story of an unstoppable young girl with the vision and drive to be the change she wants to see in the world.

Meet Mirabel

Meet Mirabel_Dance Domain Brag Book

She’s 10 years old and has been part of the DD community for 3 years now. The story begins 2 months ago, when I noticed a post from Mirabel’s mum on a local Facebook page discussing Mirabel’s interest in holding a clothes swap. She had seen the fast fashion episode of War on Waste, and was appalled by the negative impact fast fashion had on the environment. I thought the clothes swap idea was awesome, so I volunteered the studio space as a place for their swap.

…Little did I know that Mirabel was about to pull on her super stylish, social entrepreneur pants and spring into action!

A few days later, Mirabel arrived for her class with the best suggestion ever – “Why don’t we hold a clothes swap at the upcoming studio event, ‘DD Up Late!’ ?”

DD Up Late!

It was simple.

It was genius.

We already had a large number of students attending a movie night at the studio, so why not add in a spot of sustainable shopping too??

I was on board in an instant, but I gave Mirabel a challenge: go home and think about how it would run. It’s your idea, so you tell me how you see it working. How would we collect donations? How would we organise the swap? Could everyone pick? Or only people who had donated? Have a think about those questions and then email me with what you think.

Well… I’d like to say that I wasn’t surprised at all by what happened next, but that would be a lie. I was totally in awe when the very next day I received and email from Mirabel with her event plan.

Mirabel's Plan for the DD Clothes Swap

Mirabel had thought of it all – how it would run, how we’d prepare for it, how to keep it inclusive. What a little dynamo!

Dance Domain’s #waronwaste begins!

We got the word out to the DD family ASAP and everyone jumped on board in an instant!

Dance Domain's War on Waste! Getting the word out

Getting the word out about Mirabel’s #waronwaste

With only a week till the event, we started collecting donations ASAP. This time I wasn’t surprised when Mirabel turned up to her class with a big plastic tub to collect clothes donations. When I suggested we should make a sign so people know where to put their donations, she pulled out signage she had already created… because of course, she’d already thought of it! Duh. Silly me.

Over the next week, the donations flooded in. Jackets, dresses, shoes, shorts, dancewear, hats… everything!

By the time it came to the day of the event, the tub was overflowing! Mirabel and her mum came to class early that day, and before her class started they got busy hanging the items up for display. And the DD Clothes Swap Shop was born!

Setting up the DD Clothes Swap Shop!

The DD Clothes Swap Shop!

When people arrived for the event, the donations kept rolling in – we had to pull costumes off hangers from our costume storage in order to keep up with hanger demand! It was incredible to see the collection grow and watch students eye off which items they were keen on. The DD Clothes Swap was a total success.

The Dance Domain clothes swap shop in action!

The DD Clothes Swap in full swing!

And what I love the most (apart from the fact that Mirabel is an absolute legend and a change-maker) is that the DD Clothes Swap has totally lived on!

The DD Clothes Swap Shop has lived at the studio for the weeks since the event, and people have been adding and taking from the collection. I think we might need to get a small shop space set up!  … hmmm now to find the space for it!?

The DD Clothes Swap Lives on!

Elena’s boyfriend’s contributions to the swap were snapped up too!

The DD Clothes Swap was such an incredible addition to our event and really showcased what can happen when you act on an idea. In a perfect enactment of “Think Global, Act Local”, Mirabel has been able to engage a community of students, parents, and teachers, into thinking about the long-term environmental impact of everyday choices.

I’m so blown away by Mirabel’s initiative and leadership. Moreover, I’m absolutely stunned by the absolute ownership she demonstrated. Everything that happened was totally designed and implemented by Mirabel – an absolute testament to the power and potential of youth.

If you think you’re too young to make a difference, or you’re just one person, then think again. It’s time to take action.

We asked Mirabel some questions about how she came up with the idea and her advice for other students (or even adults!) who might be inspired to take on something big, so read on below to hear from DD’s very own sustainable style queen!

What was the clothes swap about?

A chance to trade in clothes you don’t fit for a new outfit, save some money and stop some clothes waste.

How did you come up with the idea?

When I saw ‘war on waste’ I was really surprised by how many clothes are thrown away and I liked how they had the girls do a clothes swap. When ‘DD Up Late!’ came up I thought it would be the perfect place to have a swap.

What was the hardest part?

It was all pretty easy! I talked to Miss Elena and we sent some emails working out the details. Miss Elena shared it and everyone jumped on board.

How did you get into thinking about sustainability and the environment?

When I learnt about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch it made me start thinking about recycling and started doing more at home. The more you do it the easier it becomes. I’ve learnt so much about how to recycle different things, for example, you can recycle chip packets at Coles!

What advice would you give to someone else who wants to make positive changes for the environment?

Just start, do something small like your lunch box, and talk about it with your friends, family & teachers.

 

Let’s give Mirabel a massive round of applause for being a leader and change-maker. With kids like Mirabel out there, the future is looking bright!

Oh… and that photo of Mirabel at the start of this post? That’s her showing off the cool outfit she picked up at the swap!

Want to learn more? You can find out more about the #waronwaste here!

 

 

handstand competitions at our jiu jitsu lesson!

ACTIVE ARTS: SPOTLIGHT ON… JIU JITSU

ACTIVE ARTS: SPOTLIGHT ON…JIU JITSU

Animal races, break falls, handstand competitions, and the circle game…sound mysterious??? It’s all part of the super cool jiu jitsu lesson that awaits our Active Arts workshoppers!

handstand competitions at our jiu jitsu lesson!

 

Jiu jitsu gives our workshoppers the chance to learn the basics of self-defence and build their confidence as they work in pairs and groups on new moves and a range of fun games.

My personal favourite activity in this session is “Animal Races”. It sounds sweet, but this game really works up a sweat!  Students have to move from one side of the delightfully squishy mats to the other moving as a particular animal One minute they’re scuttling like crabs, the next minute they’re crawling like crocodiles, and then they’re head over heels tumbling like a crazy frog!

Fabio, the super-talented professor at Gracie Barra St Peters, is SO good at working with our workshoppers, encouraging those that are ready to tumble down the room, and giving extra guidance and support to those who have never done a forward roll before.

 

Next up, our students team up and work in pairs as they perfect their break falls. Break falls are a special move that teaches us how to fall safely. The workshoppers love this as part of the move involves giving the bright, blue mats a big, loud slap! The big bangs from each break fall echoes through the jiu jitsu school and they get such a rush from it!

Here’s one of our littlest Active Arts workshoppers giving one of the jiu jitsu instructors a run for their money and making them bust out a break fall!

In their pairs they also have a go at different defensive tactics, like blocking and getting out of a hold. Students love taking turns at being the “blocker” and the “blocked”!

The session is always different. Fabio is always coming up with new moves and manoeuvres to teach our workshoppers, and new games to put a fun little twist on self-defence movement principles and training.

 

The circle game is always a hit with our students – they have to put their new jiu jitsu skills to the test to try and get another student out of the circle. We personally love watching our workshoppers smash it out in a wall-handstand competition (what Elena affectionately calls “upsidedown bear!”).

Handstand competitions at Jiu Jitsu!

We just love that our workshoppers get a chance to learn from Fabio. He expertly crafts the history and philosophy of jiu jitsu and gives expert advice on how to confidently deal with issues like bullying. The session does more than build the physical strength as students walk away with increased self-confidence and respect for themselves and others.

We can’t wait to see what’s coming up at our next jiu jitsu session!

Not long to go now till our Winter Active Arts Holiday Workshop. Click here to find out more!

Want to learn more about what Gracie Barra in St Peters have to offer your child (or even you!?). Watch this awesome video that perfectly sums up what Fabio and the crew at GBJJ St Peters are all about!

ACTIVE ARTS: SPOTLIGHT ON… ART!

ACTIVE ARTS: SPOTLIGHT ON…ART!

It wouldn’t be an Active Arts Holiday Workshop if there wasn’t a chance for our kids to leave their mark. We’re all about fostering creativity and self-expression in a positive environment, and this free-form art session with a twist never disappoints!

ACTIVE ARTS FOCUS_FB_ART

 

This graffiti session is just one component of our busy 4-day schedule that includes rock climbing, trapeze, jiujitsu, dance, drama, outdoor sports, games and more! We love this activity because it allows our workshoppers a little bit of down time from all the super energetic activities and a chance to explore their arty side.

Paint palettes are filled with a range of colours that are bright and bold – just like our students! They’re then given free reign to paint what their heart desires – whether it be an intricate portrait, geometric patterns, a nature-inspired picture, or, my personal favourite, this piece of art that shows the support, community and equality of our awesome students.

 

Active Arts Workshop painting_marriage equality

Painting by Ruby O. (Active Arts January 2017 workshop)

 

Our workshop leaders and assistants help out by refreshing water and giving guidance where needed – oh, and cleaning up the occasional paint splosh on the floor 😉 I’m always so impressed by how considerate and collaborative our workshoppers are as they help each other mix the perfect colour, or work together on creating their next masterpiece.

Our art session is a great chance for our busy workshoppers to express themselves, chill out, build friendships, and groove to some music in between!

And best of all, they get a lasting memory of their time at the workshop and this beautiful moment in their life. Our students love looking back on their paintings from a few years back and seeing how far they’ve come, and I love the energy that this communal art work brings to our studio space.

Of course, after a while we run out of space and have to start over. You can read about the first time we had to repaint our wall here.  It was a bittersweet moment – losing all the paintings from our earlier years, but knowing that it was creating space for next generation of expression and creativity.

I can’t wait till our next workshop to see what gets added next. Either way, I know it will be totally unique, and oh-so us!

If you’ve got a budding artist that’s looking to upsize their canvas, you can learn more about our next Active Arts Holiday workshop here!

DD BRAG BOOK #1 – ORLANDO THE BAKING GENIUS

DD BRAG BOOK #1: ORLANDO THE BAKING GENIUS!

Here at DD we know we’ve got some pretty amazing and creative students. So we thought it would be pretty cool to showcase their awesome talents and show how diverse and dedicated a DD kid is. I think you’ll be pretty blown away what these kids can do, and we’re going to start off this series with a bang!

Meet Orlando – 13yrs old and a part of the DD community since day dot.

So let me give you a bit of background on how this post came about. On Thursday afternoon last week, I got a message from Orlando saying he couldn’t come to hip hop on Thursday night because “My brother’s 21st birthday party is on Saturday and I am making a big cake wiht lots of stuff on it so I need to start making it on Thursday”…….. okkkkk…

I always say “Family comes first” so I let our hip hop guru, Sally know, and we both went merrily on about our weeks.

Well… Saturday evening comes around, and I get an update from Orlando…

“I finished the cake!”

Dance Domain_brag book_cake master

 

Oh.. my…

I didn’t have words. How could- But- Oh my…

 

Dance Domain_brag book_cake messages

I’ve seen and tasted some of Orlando’s baking successes before, but this is literally next level. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Masterchef, move over… this is something else!

For those that are playing at home, Orlando is 13…. 13!!!! Last week I literally cooked myself boiled pasta with olive oil and pepper for dinner… and he made this! I couldn’t be more impressed or more proud of his awesome talents so I just had to tell the world about it!

Here’s what DD’s King of Baking had to say..

How long did it take?
Well, I started on Friday afternoon after school and finished it at 5:30 the next day, so around 18 hours.

Dance Domain_brag blog_piping

What was the hardest part?
I found the cake batter and the macarons the hardest part because the cake had to be for 80 people so there was lots of flour and sugar which was heavy💪🏼  and the macarons because I’ve only ever made them once before so it was hard to remember all the little tips and tricks.

Dance Domain_brag book_macarons

 

What is it made of?

The cake is a chocolate mud cake with a cherry filling covered in vanilla buttercream. The drips down the side are chocolate ganache. There is raspberry macarons, mini meringues, shards of chocolate, honeycomb and lots of chopped up chocolate bars.

Dance Domain_brag blog_decorating

How long have you been cooking and creating in the kitchen?

I’m not exactly sure but I’ve always loved helping my parents in the kitchen since I was little. I only started baking bigger and more sophisticated dessert around 5 years ago. But by far this cake is the best one I’ve ever made!

Dance Domain_brag book_ready to party

 

I think I’m not the only one who will be totally blown away by Orlando’s talents. I just had to show Miss Sal just as real validation for his class absence… she was equally gobsmacked. And suggested he should have an instagram account for his baking and start taking orders. Oh, hang on, he’s already got a website!!!

If you’re keen to know more about Orlando’s baking, or maybe even put an order in, you should head over and support this ridiculously talented young entrepreneur in the making.

 

Dance Domain_brag book_ Orlandos Sweets website

Orlando’s Sweets

 

Watch out Zumbo – Orlando is gonna take over the world!

Keep an eye out for the next instalment in our Student Brag Book series!

Want to submit yourself for a Brag Book post? Then get in touch by filling out the form below and tell us what you’re passionate about!

ACTIVE ARTS: SPOTLIGHT ON… ROCKCLIMBING!

Active Arts: Spotlight on… Rockclimbing!

Kids driving you up the walls in the holidays? Leave it to us – we’ll get it out of their systems for you! Find out how in this series that puts the spotlight on our visits to the Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym.

ACTIVE ARTS FOCUS_FB_ROCKCLIMBING

Rockclimbing has always been one of our workshop favourites here at Active Arts. Whether your child is a fearless spider-monkey, or afraid of heights, all of our students walk away with a massive sense of accomplishment… and a little exhausted!

Unlike other vacation care programs that place students in large groups of climbers with only one belayer, here at Active Arts we like kids to be moving, not waiting. Our workshoppers form teams of 2-3 students with their very own belayer, and they get to spend their 2-hour session roaming the Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym and selecting the next wall to conquer.

Rockclimbing at Active Arts_small groups

The smaller teams give students a chance to climb more, but it also allows us to cater to the individual needs of each student. While one student may feel like dangling 12ft in the air off a stalactite, another may feel like a more gentle climb on the butterfly wall. The small team system means kids can work at their own pace in a supportive environment that promotes encouraging others and teamwork.

Butterfly wall_rockclimbing_Active Arts Workshop

Towards the end of our session, all of our teams meet together in the front room where we take off our harnesses (yay!) and have a chance to wind our bodies down. But now, it wouldn’t be Active Arts if there wasn’t a little twist!

Students are free to break into two groups and either try to balance on the tightwire, or for the more adventurous, go caving in the dark and mysterious cave system built into the climbing gym’s walls!

 

Tightwire teamwork at Active Arts Workshops_rockclimbing.png

Loving the teamwork of these two awesome Active Arts workshoppers!

 

There are three caves to chose from, and students work together to make their way through the tunnels and obstacles and emerge triumphantly. Our fearless students get a chance to build leadership skills as they guide the group towards the end of the cave, and students who may have been nervous to go at it alone get to conquer their fears with the help of a supportive group of peers. And of course, for those who can’t stop flipping and tumbling, there are super soft crash mats to practice walkovers too!

Active Arts Workshop_walkovers

We just love visiting the Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym and seeing our workshoppers climb higher than they did last time. And secretly, we love the arm workout that we get while belaying too! 😉

If you have kids that are driving you up the walls in the holidays, this is a sure fire way to get it out of their system! 😉

You can find out more and secure a spot in our next workshop here!

 

 

Pilates Principles for Dance Teaching – Breathing

Pilates Principles for Dance Teaching – Breathing

Tips for enriching your dance classes

Anyone who knows me would know that I’m an absolute Pilates convert. I’m a woman obsessed. And it’s no wonder why. There’s no other system out there quite like it, and its benefits for dancers are off the charts.

I take two Pilates studio sessions a week (I’d do more if I could squeeze them in!) and they are absolutely non-negotiable…I think I’ve missed maybe 5 classes in the space of 3 years! Pilates studio sessions incorporate specialised equipment like the trap table, the barrel, the reformer, and my personal fav and the Wunda chair. It also involves mat-based work, sometimes with smaller equipment like balls, magic circles and Therabands.

I’ve always learned so much about the movement potential of our bodies from my sessions with my instructors, Rachael and Emily. I’m constantly finding new little strengthening and lengthening techniques to adapt and work into my classes. But it isn’t just about the movement potential of pilates. A good pilates instructor is able to cue the correct movement through careful selection of words, imagery and tactile cues (tapping or placing a hand on a certain part of the body to bring awareness to that area).

With this in mind, Dance Domain recently teamed up with the incredible Rachael Sheridan, from Room For Movement in Annandale, for our latest Professional Development session. During this session, the DD teaching team were given a seminar and practical class that introduced us to fundamental principles of pilates.

 

This new blog series outlines some practical ways you can enrich your dance teaching practices by incorporating some techniques from the field of pilates.

Breathing

Step one – breathing. When we’re moving our bodies about in new ways and trying to remember 17 different things at once, often the thing we forget to do is the most basic – breathing!

Who hasn’t finished an exercise at the barre only to take a massive breath and realise, “oh my gosh, I’d held my breath that whole time!?!” We’ve all done it, and we all see it in our students all the time.

During our session, Rachael introduced us to some basic principles of breathing, beginning with different types of breathing. This includes breathing into your tummy, your chest, and sideways into your ribs…even breathing to expand only one side of your ribs!

Best of all were tips on how breathing can affect the quality or execution of movement, like,

  • Breathing in allows the body to find more mobility in extension – think arabesques!
  • Breathing out allows the body to find more mobility in flexion – think contractions!

Conversely, by breathing out during an extension, we’re able to provide the body with more strength and stability. Try it for yourself! Lay on your tummy on the floor with your hands underneath your shoulders and press into a back extension. Do it a few times breathing in on the upward phase, then swap over to breathing out on the upward phase. Feel the difference?

We tried different breathing patterns for a whole range of movement – kicks, turns, contractions, roll downs, reaching to the side. We even began to think about how we can apply breathing to help negotiate particular pathologies: if a student has tight hamstrings and they tuck their pelvis under when doing kicks across the floor, ask them to breathe in as they kick the leg up to help lengthen their spine. Genius!

You can also apply breathing techniques to achieve particular movement qualities, such as a movement that is more lengthened and smooth or a move that is sharper. We tried throwing one arm up into the air above our head whilst quickly breathing in (the shoulder lifts as the ribcage expands from the breath in and the movement looks and feels longer) and then again while quickly breathing out (the shoulder stays down as the ribcage contracts and the movement looks and feels stronger and sharper). Such a useful little tool to remember when polishing dances and trying to elicit a similar movement quality from a group of dancers.

As teachers, we all know how important breathing is, but a session like this really brought awareness back to breathing in a whole new way. Being able to cue breath patterns in our students, something that is so accessible to students of all ages, we can work on getting bodies moving to their full potential in the safest way.

So the next time you’re dancing or teaching, or even polishing a dance, think about your breathing and try different patterns.

Pilates for dance teaching_Dance Domain_mat class

 


Stay tuned for the next post in our Pilates Principles for Dance Teaching series!

In the Inner West and looking for a Pilates instructor?

Contact Rachael at Room For Movement in Annandale. She’s an absolute magician!

 

room-for-movement

 

 

Adventures of an Active Arts Kid! – April 2017

Adventures of an Active Arts Kid! – April 2017

It’s been another whirlwind week of creativity and energy at our latest Active Arts Holiday Workshop!

We’ve had the pleasure of playing host to the most imaginative, polite, and caring students for the last 4 days. Read on to find out more about their fun-filled workshop adventures!

Active Arts Workshop Kids always begin the day with a few fun and energetic games to get them going! The classic “River, bank, bridge” and “Not the floor!” are some of our favourites. We love adding our own twist to these games too. They’re a fab way to get students focused and build listening and teamwork skills.

Here’s a little time-lapse video of our fav game “Not the Floor!” – love how our Assistant Leaders get into it and help the younger ones stay off the floor!

After our warm-up games, we get into an uplifting stretch and strength session. I personally love watching our students improve each day, either reaching further to their toes or holding that balance for 5 seconds longer!

After a short little recess break (all that running around, game-playing, and stretching is thirsty work!) our students head to their next activity! From jiujitsu to outdoor sports, painting to drama, we feel that variety makes a workshop SO much cooler!

Active Arts Holiday Workshop_painting

Active Arts Workshop_JiuJitsu

Fabio at Gracie Barra Jiujitsu St Peters is ridiculously awesome at catering lessons to a range of kids. They begin with a few exercises that build listening skills as well as strength! Then, it’s time for my favourite… ANIMAL WALKS! Now this may sound super tame, but let me tell you, it’s totally wild! Students move from one side of the room to the other mimicking different types of animals – from crocodiles to gorillas, and crazy frogs! The kids love it!

After animal walks, Fabio takes them through a series of different tactics of self-defense. These are always supported by wonderful mentoring about self-esteem, confidence and being respectful. Best of all is when they pick our tiniest workshopper to help demonstrate! Nothing like feeling 5 feet taller than you are!

Next up is a lunch break where we rest and refuel, ready for an afternoon filled with awesome!

Depending on the day, our students might be climbing up the walls at the Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym, or learning how to fly at the Sydney Trapeze School!

During our climbing sessions, our workshop leaders and assistant leaders flex their arm muscles and belay our awesome workshoppers as they scramble up the walls and reach new heights.

Active Arts Holiday Workshops_mini climb

Students team up with a belayer in small groups of 2 or 3 and are free to climb and explore the walls of the gym as they please. Whether they want to climb the butterfly wall or try to master the super tricky stalactite, we love to see students challenge themselves in their own way.

Active Arts Holiday Wokrshop_climbing kids

When our arms and legs are officially dead, we head over to the caves! For the super adventurous ones, they get to spend some time navigating their way through the pitch black tunnel system built into the walls at the climbing gym! Students head in equipped with a small flashlight and a sense of adventure, and emerge triumphantly! For anyone who thinks the idea of a small, dark space is a nightmare (myself included!) there’s a tightwire for students to walk across… and also some crash mats for flipping and tumbling!… and photos 😉

 

At the Sydney Trapeze School our workshoppers get a 2hr session filled with everything circus! The first half of their session is filled with a variety of circus arts, and something different everytime. This time around, we got the Static Trapeze and the Silks…two of our favourites by far!

Active Arts Workshop_static trapeze

On the static trapeze, workshoppers learn how to flip upside down and hang like a monkey, or stand up and pose like we’re centre stage in the big top! On the silks, students get to practice different climbs, and wrap themselves up in a cocoon of fabric and go for a spin.

Active Arts Workshops_Silks Stag

 

After the silks, students harness up and get ready to fly! They get to practice the hold they’ll be working on that day then take turns climbing up the ladder, inch their toes over the edge to grab hold of the trapeze, and before they know it, they’re flying!

What I love about the Sydney Trapeze School is that there’s always something new to work on. Our regular Active Arts Workshop kids get to try harder and more daring versions. Watching them achieve their newest trapeze hold is the coolest!

Active Arts Holiday Workshop_Flying Trapeze

 

High-flying action isn’t for everyone, and the crew at STS are always so accommodating and encouraging. We love them! Students who nail their first few swings get to try a catch! This is where an instructor swings opposite them and they catch them as the fling themselves off their trapeze!!! SO COOL! This time we had two students make their first ever catches! Woohoo!

At the end of the day, we return to the studio and do a few more games to cool down. A little stretch always helps relax our muscles ready for the next day of Active Arts!

 

Think your kids would LOVE to get in on the action?

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