Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Welcome to the wonderful world of  Dance from the Heart In this program your dancer will gain solid technique at age appropriate levels. 
My technical background is steeped in Limon, Graham and Evans. My philosophy follows the Lewitski & Bill Evans traditions in honoring the body and not damaging it for the sake of a performance, a cheated extension or trick.

Dance Attire

4 to 7
Hair pulled back in a bun or pony tail 
Pink leotard and pink tights 
Pink ballet shoes 
Black tap shoes 

7 to 11
Hair pulled back in a bun or pony tail 
Black leotard and black tights  or dance pants
Pink ballet shoes 
Edgar Degas, The Dance Class (La classe de danse)c.1873-1876


In the late 1800s most ballerinas started their training before the age of six. Known as the "rats" of the Opera, they came to the Opera House early every morning, practicing all day under the strict tutelage of the dance master. They had no time for school. 

When the dancers matured and perfected their movements, they joined the corps de ballet, dancing in the evening ballet sequences that were part of every opera.

Dance can be a life long pursuit that stimulates us intellectually, emotionally and creatively. I am looking forward to the journey ahead with my new students!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Music & Movement Focus for Today: BEAT!

Our classes focus on beat, movement, and singing. We also weave in creative play that incorporates music, rhythm, movement,humor, role-playing, and props.
Children also benefit from our movement choices that include daily-life connection, humor, exaggerated contrast and problem solving .

Focus for Today: BEAT!

We know it is very important to keep a steady beat so that the children recognize the beat. Students clap, pat, shake, walk, march, dance, run, jump, to the beat.
Beat is primal.
Rare is the child who does not respond to it. Maybe the appeal derives from hearing Mom's steady heartbeat in the womb. But! The heart is not the only bodily function that has a beat. The breath has one. Walking has one. Even talking.

Research indicates that synchronizing movement to a beat improves attention, concentration, motor skills, planning and executing actions, as well as controlling aggression, and improving academic performance.

Also, by encouraging children to move to a beat, we give them a vehicle for expression. Moving to a beat is cathartic. There is also an emotional benefit in moving to a beat.

Try incorporating "BEAT awareness" at home, too. Your children will love it!
Help them notice and participate in rhythms:
  • the windshield wipers   
  • the turn signal
  • the sound of grating cheese
  • tapping a foot
  • banging on a drum
  • skipping
  • brushing the dog
  • clapping to a song
  • rocking in a rocking chair
  • kneading bread
Here is a painting called Rhythm of Colors. (artist: Padma Prasad) Ask your child to draw what he thinks rhythm might look like.
Talk about it with them and listen carefully. :-) All children are artists with amazing imaginations!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Dance from the Heart - week 9

MONDAY 11-12-07
What a fun day we had today!

1) We added a second verse to our ballet basics warm up song. here is the whole song - (with details in red) :
This is sung to the tune of Shalom, my Good Friends

Plie, my good friends (portabras a la second)
Tendue, my good friends (one tendue right foot)
Releve, up high! (portabra en lair)

Plie, my good friends (portabras a la second)
Tendue, my good friends (one tendue left foot)
Bourre, 1 time! (portabra en lair)

(2nd verse)
Plie, my good friends (portabras a la second)
Tendue, my good friends (tendue front right then left)
Releve, up high! (portabra en lair)
Plie, my good friends (portabras a la second)

Tendue, my good friends (tendue side right then left)Pivot turn, Pivot turn (step right pivot, step right pivot)

2) Next the students all took turns walking across the balance beam.
Then! We did pivot turns on the beam!

3) Monster feet came out next. 
All of my dancers did a great job walking on their monster feet!
Monster feet are stilt like platforms that students walk with in order to practice balance and coordination -- the base is 4 inches high & broader than their feet so it is a safe endeavor!

4) Our next activity was to rehearse our dance to "Mary Said Yes to God"

5) Last, but not least, we practiced our tap basics. Our music (The B I B L E) is an up beat little ditty that goes perfectly with our movement vocabulary!  

Toe touches, Marches, & Digs

6) Each of my dancers took home a heart bracelet that will, hopefully, remind them to Dance from the Heart!

Here is a picture tutorial so that you and your dancer can make a heart bracelet for someone special!

Dance from the Heart - week 8

MONDAY 11-5-07

We had a delightful class today. Everyone remembered our ballet basics song. The dancers remembered not just the song's words but all the correct portabra placement, tendues, releves and bourees!
All the dancers traveled across the balance beam twice with beautiful a la second portabras (carraige of the arms gracefully out to the side of the body)

Our dancers rehearsed their special *choreography to the song, "Mary said Yes to God."

We played 2 dance games today:
  1. Little Red Caboose
  2. Pink Dice (for tendues and jump practice)
Our tap portion of class was wonderful. The students' rhythm skills are very good. We practiced, toe taps, digs and shuffles. The students are learning to listen carefully to know when to begin their movements.

* Special Choreography word cues:

Mary said yes to GOD one day,
GOD = Portabra en lair (ballet arms up)
Mary said ye-es to God = Bouree 1X

She said YES I will be what you want me to be
YES = Step right and arms extend up to right diagonal

Mary said Lord be it done unto me
Mary = Step left and arms extend up to left diagonal
Mary said yes to GOD one dayGOD = Portabra en lair (ballet arms up)
I will be part of your plan = Bouree 1X

And in the meantime
= Step right and arms extend up to right diagonal

And in between time
= Step left and arms extend up to left diagonal

I'll do the best that I can
= curtsy

Thank you! = prayer hands (face front)

I'll do the best that I can
= curtsy

END WITH: prayer hands (face front)

Dance From the Heart - week 7

MONDAY 10-29-07

Our class was wonderful today! Our new space is so pretty, with new curtains and dividers and dancers' names on the floor!!

Today the students started with Ballet Basics and then had a special treat!
Students practiced balance work on a real balance beam. 

Thank you, Mr. Cortez, for making us one!

Tap was great -
- almost everyone remembered the pattern of taps, marches and now -- DIGS!!

Students had one more new experience during class. They practiced their locomoter skill of leaping. . . . . through a ribbon!

This was fun AND it helped all of the students with timing and depth perception.

Dance From the Heart - week 6

MONDAY 10-22-07
What a wonderful class we had today!
We practiced our ballet basics and sang our ballet song to help us remember all the new French words.

Plie means to bend
Tendue means to stretch
Releve – up high!
Bouree my good friends
Bourree my good friends
Plie . . .  Releve
(Tune: Shalom, my Good Friends!)
Our Creative Movement and Dance Games are always fun!
We practiced “Little Red Caboose” . . . listening skills & musicality is improving!!
We danced to "Roller Coaster" for the 2nd time today!
Our big surprise today was a balloon dance...AND we got to keep our balloons! :-)

Dance From the Heart - week 5

MONDAY 10-15-07
Today your dancer
  1. Started class with ballet stretches
  2. Then we all reviewed Ballet Basics:
We learned a ballet song 
(Tune: Shalom, my Good Friends!)
Plie means to bend
Tendue means to stretch
Releve – up high!
Bouree my good friends
Bourree my good friends
Plie . . . Releve

We put on our tap shoes next and we practiced
4 Toe touches / touch, 2, 3, &back
7 Marches / clap 8
Our Creative Movement and Dance Games are always fun!
We are practicing “Little Red Caboose” these days . . . there are many layers of listening involved in this creative movement choreography!
We danced to "Rollar Coaster" for the first time today!