Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I love summers! They offer me the opportunity to go into suburban dance schools and ply my flamenco dance trade. Most of these students are being introduced to flamenco for the very first time and have spent anywhere from 3-5-10 years studying ballet. There in lies the challenge. Do I just come in and teach them a piece of choreography, which I know they can memorize, but will have no flamenco integrity, or do I lay it all down on the line and teach them: the flamenco body, braceo (the arms), floreo (the hands), tacaneo (the feet), rhythm (compás), the heart (duende)....well of course that is the path I choose and so begins a new summer delving into concept of teaching the soul of flamenco in about 6 hours to kids ages 8-18!
Just coming hot off teaching gigs at Southshore Ballet Theatre directed by Mathavan McKeon in Hanover, MA, and Sereda DanceWorks directed by Carol Schneider-Sereda in Natick, MA, I started my 9th summer at Northeast School of Ballet directed by Denise Cecere (formerly directed by her mother Sandra McNaught) in Melrose, MA. This summer we are housed on the beautiful memorial Hall in Melrose center and I have a gorgeous, vaulted ceiling room full of light and great student energy!
I feel the progression of myself as a teacher. Every time I approach a teaching job, I feel the tweeking and refining of myself as a teacher. I am so proud to be able to reach so many youth (my dear friend Pam Raff imbued in me the use of the word "youth" rather than children or kids when speaking about working with the young and it has stuck with me 20 years later). 20 years of teaching youth and every day I feel like it is a new beginning. It makes me feel young and creative and flexible. I love it!
I am starting each class with the students lying on the floor, just feeling their breath. One hand on the chest, one hand on the belly. I talk about chest breathing and then gently guide them into focusing their breath into their bellies, calming them, opening the up to their intelligence and energizing them. I then lead them through a simple circular breathing exercise where I have them imagine their inhale entering through the sole of their left foot, up the left side of the body, to the left side of the head and then on the exhale, down the right side of the head, the right side of the body and out the sole of the right foot. The I lead the the opposite way starting with the right foot, back and forth a few time and end coming out the left sole. Curling up on their right sides for a moment, allowing freedom of breath in the right nostril (The left nostril connects to right side of the brain, which induces relaxation while the right nostril is connected to the left side of the brain; the more energizing side), I have them sit up for a right brain/left brain game called The Nose Knows (slap legs two times, clap two times, grab nose with right hand reach across with left and hold right ear; slap legs two times, clap two times, grab the nose with the left hand and reach across with the right hold the left ear. Repeat trying to get faster and faster-a great brain balancing game). At the end of the game I explain about the two sides of the brain, how the left side is the mathematical, analytical side and the right side is rhythmic and creative and how as a dancer, one needs a balance of the two to learn choreography, learn technique and also understand the depth of the movement within the rhythmic landscape.
The advanced class is learning Bulerías and the intermediate class is learning Garrotín. I am looking forward to next week!
Today's yoga class will be about balance. I realized after my 3 day Core Yoga In-Schools teaching workshop that the concept of balance is so far reaching. I was imbued with so many new ideas for classes after working in that great supportive environment and feel a bubbling over of creativity to get my yoga to the kids.
We will start lying down (I wish we had mats for this class). I created a great restorative back bend in the workshop where we just by rolled up our mats and used them as bolsters, placed right below the shoulder blades. The students did not struggle with the depth of the back bend as it was minimal and I had them drape over it like a piece of cloth. Unbeknownst to them, the subtle act of the relaxation and the gentle heart opening generated energy and acceptance in them to hear my words (about Bramacharya-self-control) and to do a fun flow to music. It was just thrilling to see the students transformation from tired to happy and energized.
But no mats here, so instead we will just lie on the floor and start with a 2-3 minute total stillness, total silence. Next I will lead them in an alternate side of the body breath flow and then a time for them to just notice their breath and to allow it to focus more in the belly than the chest. We will sit up and do a game called The Nose Knows (slap legs two times, clap two times, grab nose with right hand reach across with left and hold right ear; slap legs two times, clap two times, grab the nose with the left hand and reach across with the right hold the left ear. Repeat trying to get faster and faster-a great brain balancing game). At the end of the game I explain about the two sides of the brain, how the left side is the mathematical, analytical side and the right side is rhythmic and creative and how as a dancer, you need a balance of the two to learn choreography, learn technique and also understand the depth of the movement within the rhythmic landscape of the music.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
2011-2012 Dance Classes with Eve Agush
Classes begin the week of September 12-16, 2011
· Mondays @ Sereda DanceWorks, 89H Washington Ave., Natick, MA.
Youth Tap Dance Level 1 3:30-4:30 (ages 7-10); Youth Tap Dance Level 2 4:30-5:30PM (ages 11+); Adult Beginner Tap Dance 6:00-7:00PM
· Wednesdays @ The Dance Complex, 536 Mass Ave., Cambridge, MA
4:00-5:00PM Youth Flamenco Level One for ages 6-10
5:00-6:00PM Youth Tap Dance Level 2 (ages 10+): This is not a beginner level class; all students should have at least a year of tap dance and understand the basics of tap dance.
· Thursday @ Sereda DanceWorks, 89H Washington Ave., Natick, MA
11:00-12:00PM Adult Flamenco L:evel 1
· Thursday @ 258 Mt. Vernon Street, Newton, MA
5:00-6:00PM Youth Flamenco Level 2 for ages 8-15
Eve is also a gifted individual instructor for adults, teens and children. Contact Eve to schedule a private flamenco, tap or yoga session. Eve also presents flamenco and yoga birthday parties.
Friday, July 8, 2011
This is a summer full of yoga and flamenco teaching for me (and of course some tap dancing too). There is nothing I like more than working with groups of young people and the summer opens so many doors for me. This summer I am working at Southshore Ballet Theater in Hanover, MA, The Northeast School of Ballet in Melrose, MA and Sereda Danceworks in Natick, MA. Each opportunity allows a new group of youth (ages 8-18) to explore the characterful dance of flamenco, the soulful rhythms of tap and the inner peace of yoga.
I have been especially happy teaching in Hanover as I am hired to teach both flamenco and yoga and I so strongly believe there is a connection between the two that this affords me the opportunity to infuse my flamenco classes with yogic teachings and visa versa.
Yesterday we explored the flamenco body with the attention on the internal circular motions from lower back, to pelvic floor and then through the abdomen and fro the romboids pulling down, the arm pit rib muscles pulling up and the high beams on the collar bones shining up.
In yoga class, we talked about the concept of force. Using the ground as a jumping off point by pushing into it so we can rise up with the help of the floor pushing us. Think abut that when you raise and lower your arms. With breath, breathing in we lift up but yet we push deeper into the ground, with a breath out, we root down, yet we also feel a rising out of the ground. When we lift our arms and that pulls us up, we should root deeper into the ground. As we lower our arms, rooting us down, we should also feel a pulling up of our energy.