Fall

 

fall-ballet

The curtain is coming down on Summer.

Always kind of a sad time…but exciting too.

New school year starting. New dance classes. New students. New competition season.

There is a lot to look forward to in the Fall and I will look back on Summer with happiness. Summer is always a time for adventure.

This Summer we touched elephants and fed goats. We swam in wave pools and climbed on rocks. We went to baseball games and swam at the beach. There was ice cream and froyo and Pittsburgh and climbing the Toronto sign. Museums and carousels, horses and scooters in the rain. Summer means nature and fun and trying new things. Summer means I don’t have to drive back and forth to school everyday. Summer means I don’t have to pack lunch bags.Summer means soft, healthy looking skin….kissed by the sun….ahhhhhh! Why does Summer have to end?! WHY??!!

Ok. I’ll stop.

Fall is good too.

I look forward to the upcoming Fall dancified season!

I hope to see new dancers in the studio, trying new things. Old dancers in the studio, retrying old things. Haa! I look forward to dancing and laughing and having tons of fun!

Fitness becomes even more important as the weather gets colder. We are out walking less and moving less…we are covered up with sweaters and caring less about the state of our abs. The sun, swimming, running and climbing turn into Hot Chocolate, blankets, movies and fireplaces. (all amazing too…but we still have to move!)

This Fall I will teach some Jazz, some Hip-Hop, Ballet, Barre, Lyrical…some Modern and Contemporary…

We will work on jumps and turns. Kicking with straight legs and perfecting the body roll. Some will work on jetes and some will work on sail turns. Maybe this is the year that you get your fouette turns?! Maybe this is the year that you get your triple pirouette?! Whatever your goals are for this dancified Fall. Be brave and bold. Try everything! Dance with your heart and soul and never forget to have fun! Keep smiling when it’s hard. Laugh when you fall. Always get up and try again…

Break a leg boys and girls…and grown-ups!

Here’s to a very dancified Autumn!

 

 

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wabi-sabi

 

There is a Japanese theory called Wabi-sabi, where things are considered most beautiful when they have a flaw or are broken. A vase with a chip in it or a plate with a crack do not necessarily need to be thrown away, but they can be appreciated as objects that wear badges of time well spent and of being a well loved, used and enjoyed item. So is the dancer’s broken toe or pulled muscle Wabi-sabi? The blisters on their feet… Is that a beautiful sign of authenticity, use, love and being of service? Totally Wabi-sabi.

Wabi-sabi is saying that imperfection adds to beauty. It is a concept that seems so opposite from everything being told to us in the world today. Maybe that is why I like it so much. But it is so true. Nothing can actually be perfect. What perfect even means would be different for everyone.  For example, I like a small, old house with a porch. My daughter likes box houses with giant windows. My son would say condo or farm. There is no right or wrong. Every one of us sees perfection through different eyes. But we are also all very much the same. No body is unbreakable. No dancer does not stumble and fall. I prefer an old scuffed up teapot to a new shiny one. I like objects that have character. Same with dancers. It is hard to apply Wabi-sabi to ballet in particular. It is all about precision. However, I can see the character and authenticity…the naturalness and raw quality when they are at the barre. The dancer may be striving for strong, physical exactness but they are wearing shabby leg warmers, ripped tights and shoes with holes to do it. They are letting their Wabi-sabi shine through.

The dancers we love to watch the most, have spirit and emotion. Emotions are messy and genuine. Wabi-sabi. We see the heart break, the joy, the fear or the confusion. That extra dimension of naturalness and authenticity creates the balance with the pretty perfection and endears us to it more deeply. We all like things that are a little damaged. Like people…no one gets through life without a scar or two. A bruise, a chip, a fall or a break.

Wabi-sabi teaches us to embrace the imperfect. It teaches us to see the beauty of the cracked, broken or fleeting. In the dance studio or out in the real world it would serve all of us well to appreciate and see a little more of the beauty in our flaws and imperfections. Which aren’t really flaws at all…

dancified year one!


Ilovedancing

live_love_laugh_dance_tote_bag

It has been exactly one year since I put on the tights and taught a dance class again. After a long absence to have kids and be a full time Mommy, I decided to start dancified dance classes for grown-ups. I set out to see if I could get some other adults back into the dance studio with me and I set out to see if I still knew what I was doing. (Haa!)

I am happy and grateful to report that I am pleased with the results of both these goals.

Without much advertising at all, dancers have found dancified and made their way to the studio! Some great dancers too!!!! These dancified dancers love to move and to challenge themselves. They know how to work hard but they also know how to laugh. It is a pleasure to choreograph for them and they make me smile.

I have had the privilege of meeting and dancing with some very interesting and amazing people. Truly. On that basis alone, I consider this first year to be a huge success.

A frequent comment I hear from the adults is that they notice changes in their brain after they have been back in a dance class for a while. The speed at which they pick up the steps and their memory improves greatly. Dance class keeps your mind sharp and quick. As much as, or even more so, than dance affects the body, it seems that the dancers are extremely impressed with the results for their minds.

Doing the splits or the highest jump is not as important to us anymore but the overall feeling of being strong and fit is what we are enjoying. In addition to the physical benefits and the mental benefits, the feeling of freedom and elation that dancing can give, goes far to relieve stress and bring happiness to the dancers. (and their teacher!)

I can see the improvements in the adults that dance regularly and I can feel the year of work on my own body.

A year of stretching and bending and balancing again. A year of spinning and jumping and kicking again. It does make you feel younger. It does make you feel healthier. I can’t recommend enough the importance of staying bendy! You will have less groaning when you get up out of a chair or out of a bend. More range of motion and ease of movement while doing…anything…will make you feel better and your life more enjoyable.

I have had a year of doing ballet again, and jazz and hip-hop…other styles too…

I GET TO (not have to) go to a dance studio each week and listen to amazing music. I can jump and spin and wear leg warmers. I can laugh and sing, even at the barre. I am getting a work out and doing something amazing for my body mind and spirit. My muscles are worked. My brain is used. My artistic expression is shared and my creativity fulfilled.

I have no complaints about this first dancified year. I have learned a lot and look forward to learning more. Adults should be taught differently than children or teens and I am enjoying every hour of that process. When a grown-up who hasn’t danced in years makes their return to dancing, nothing beats the look of joy I see on their face!

I am so thankful I have this opportunity and l am excited to keep growing the classes and the program for many more years to come.

But my favourite part of it all, for sure, has been meeting the dancers.

Thank you to all of you who have come to get dancified!

You are all positive, brave, fun, funny, strong, awesome, fit, smart, beautiful, energetic, talented…and, of course, extremely worthy of the title…dancified!

falling on your butt…

falling   bowphoto_fitness_hiphopwatching

You risk falling when you try a big jump. You risk being dropped by your partner while doing a lift. You risk feeling silly trying new moves and when you put your body and soul out in front of audiences and adjudicators, sometimes receiving a negative response. The whole dance thing can be a risk taking adventure. But is that a bad thing? No. It’s not. It’s great. Taking a risk is a really good thing for you to do.

After falling a few times you then accomplish the tricky jump. You get to soar through the air feeling amazing and looking spectacular. You master the difficult lift impressing yourself and the audience. You and your partner find the rhythm, timing and connection needed and you no longer worry but start dancing beautiful duets.

If you didn’t take the risk in the first place you would never find the joy and success on the other side.

Going to dance class can seem scary for those who have never tried it before and even for those who go regularly. Each class is different so you don’t know completely what to expect. You don’t know ahead of time what the choreography will be. What if it’s hard? What if I can’t do it? What if I don’t do it as well as everybody else? There can be a lot of worry going to any dance or fitness class because you are putting yourself out there and moving your body and learning, in front of other people.

Here is a secret though…

The other students are NOT watching you. They are not. Not really. Obviously people in the same room notice each other, but especially with adult, non-competitive dancers, people are more focused on themselves. When you start doing the dance combination you are concentrating on yourself, not on the people around you. Everyone is watching THEMSELF in the mirror. Not you. So don’t be nervous and judge yourself harshly. Just have fun and learn. Give yourself time to get used to it. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and feel silly. Give yourself a break. Everybody makes mistakes and feels silly sometimes, even the professionals.

Some people go into a class knowing the moves already and some people don’t. Some are more flexible than the others. There are students who like to stand right in the front of the class and have confidence even if they are not doing everything exactly right. There are students who hide in the back even though they know exactly what they’re doing. Whether you have the dancified risk taking gene or not, on behalf of all dance instructors out there, (well, maybe not ALL, but many…) I feel that I can say, we want you to come to dance class and feel like it is a place of happiness, health and learning. We want you to dance full out and take the risk of falling flat on your butt!

The big fall flat on your butt move is not a result of bad dancing…it is a sign of a great dancer! You are a dance class participant who put their ALL into trying the steps. It is evidence that you are a risk taker and for that I will always applaud you.

Take a risk and then take your bow.