Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Waking me up…

Posted: March 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

I love dancing.  One of the reasons that I love dancing so much is the fact that it has the ability to wake you up and invigorate your body and mind.  After every dance class, no matter how hard or easy, I feel so full of life.  In addition, I find dance class makes you feel more self confident.  Just the other day, I woke up early Sunday morning to go to class.  I was tired like most people would be early Sunday morning, but I found that my dance class woke me up!  In fact, it invigorated me so much that I felt motivated to go home and finish my homework (no I am not just making this up).  I wrote 2 essays that day…

In the end, I think a little physical activity can go a long way.  Whether it is dance or another form, being physical is beneficial to the body, mind, soul, and potentially your school grades as well.

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Where’s all the boys?…

Posted: March 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

Having danced for as long as I have, I have seen a big change in dance class participation and attitudes.  Although dance has of course always been dominantly female, I have recently seen a consistent decrease in not only the interest of males in dance class, but a lack of participation and dedication of the males that are already involved.  Why is this?  Now it would be easy to blame the parents.  Parents do seem to appreciate and prefer sports over arts, but these are not just young boys I am talking about; the males I am referring to are grown men (well almost-ages 16 to 30).  Now I understand being busy and having many other things to have to focus on, but being extremely busy myself and still being fully committed to dance class, I tend not to have very much sympathy nor understanding.  I found that boys tend to value things a little differently than girls.  Moreover, their values and priorities change regularly.  This often puts dance, or any other kind of commitment on the back burner.  So how can we get boys interested in dance?  I have a few suggestions:

  1. Start your students dancing when they are young.  Children at younger ages have zero inhibitions.  In this way, they will try anything without worrying about what they look like.  If you are able to hook boys early and teach them dance is for them too, they will develop a sense of appreciation for dance and its benefits as the years pass.
  2. Have your dance class in a neutral setting.  Do not have it in a room with pink walls and pictures of ballet everywhere.  This tends to immediately turn boys off from participating.
  3. Have dance classes that are geared toward boys and the things that boys are interested in.  Creating movements based on a popular movie or comic book are good ideas that encourage boys to try.  In addition, using music and rhythms that are exciting and engaging to boys also helps.
  4. Constantly remind boys that dance is a physical and athletic activity.  Challenge their abilities and make them tired!  This way they will really understand how active dance can really be.

So, can we get boys interested in dance?

    1. Dance education aids the development of kinesthetic intelligence.

    2. Dance education creates opportunities for self-expression and communication within the constraints of the medium of the body.

    3. Dance, whether representational, thematic, or abstract, is a repository of civilization that changes through time.

    4. Dance education teaches the values and skills of creativity, problem solving, risk taking, making judgments in the absence of rules, and higher-order thinking skills.

    5. Dance provides an opportunity for students to recognize that there are multiple solutions to problems.

    6. The study of dance fosters an individual’s ability to better interpret interpersonal nonverbal communication.

    7. Dance education provides a strong base from which to analyze and make informed judgments about corporeal images.

    8. Learning the dances of other cultures helps students to develop an understanding and respect for them.

    9. Through stimulating all the senses, dance goes beyond verbal language in engaging dancers and promoting the development of multisensory beings.

    10. Dance provides options to destructive alternatives in a world that is unpredictable and unsafe for children.

    11. Dance education prepares people for careers in dance and other fields.

    12. Dance enhances an individual’s lifelong quality of life.

    13. Participation in dance benefits our communities economically.

    14. Dance education helps students develop physical fitness, appreciation of the body, concern for sound health practices, and effective stress management approaches.

    Video resources…

    Posted: February 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

    I found a few really fantastic videos online demonstrating fun and easy dance warm-ups and activities.  The videos are only a few minutes long, easy to watch, and provide great ideas for any dance class!

    Dance Lesson Planning Pack

    Two sides of the same coin…

    Posted: February 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

    In the world of physical education, I have found that the focus usually falls solely on sports.  This leaves dance on the bottom of the physical education hierarchy and, as a result, is often forgotten or ignored.

    “Dance is an art, not a sport”  This is often what I find people think about dance.  Through this type of mentally, dance is often left to the art education instructors to teach.  In reality, dance is an art; but it is also a physical activity.  This means that there are two sides of dance that need to be shown through these two related, but very different subjects.

    In the world of art, dance takes a more artistic form.  Educators should focus on the creation and performing of dance, as well as interpreting and responding to pieces seen.

    However, if physical education is the focus, the emphasis changes from dance creation to dance and its benefits toward our health.

    This is not to say that physical education should not be creative and that art class cannot promote health, because the two are very closely linked, but depending on the focus and goal of your course, subject area, or study the type of dance activities you use will change.

    Night owl…

    Posted: February 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

    Just had another dance class.  My Wednesday and Friday classes are always at night.  The Wednesday class in particular goes quite late.  Normally this would not be a problem for me, but I find that my dance class invigorates me so much that when I get home at 10:30-11:00 pm that I not tired AT ALL.  Dancing is slowly turning me into a night owl…

    Importance of a warm-up…

    Posted: February 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

    Going to dance practice in the winter is difficult.  It is kind of like trying to go to the gym in the winter; you first have to find the motivation to get all bundled up and travel to the destination.  Then once you arrive, your body is cold and your muscles are tight and you wish you were in snuggled in a warm bed instead.  It is days like this that remind me how important warming up your body is for any physical activity.  Some people think warming up means stretching; others think that it is about getting your blood pumping.  In reality, it is both.  A good warm-up warms your muscles up slowly with activities involving both stretching and contracting of the muscles.  The purpose of a warm-up is to get your body moving, begin raising your body temperature, stretch your muscles, move your joints, and get the energy pathways working so that the proper fuel is getting to your muscles. A proper warm-up will prepare your body for the activity, and will make the work feel easier than it would if you started out cold. When I dance, one way I accomplish a good warm-up is through a traditional ballet barre where all the parts of your body is stretched and gradually worked harder and harder.  This idea of a warm-up is an important idea to keep in mind especially when thinking about teaching any sort of physical activity to students.  Not only does warming up help to get the body ready to move (which prevents injuries), but I find it also allows the students to prepare mentally to begin to work.

    Here is a video of a basic ballet barre.  This is the type of warm-up that I do every dance class.  It really helps to get your muscles and body ready for more strenuous activity.