Anytime I meet someone new, the subject of dance always comes up. It's no surprise, dance has been the longest and strongest influence in my life for over 30 years! Inevitably, many will scoff and joke that they are the most uncoordinated person they know or that they have 2 left feet. Challenge accepted! I invite every uncoordinated human with 2 left feet to try my creative dance class and experience the freedom and joy that comes from dancing!
So, what does creative dance look like?
You may be thinking that creative dance might look like the scene out of White Christmas, where Danny Kaye pokes fun at "choreography". Or what about the complex sequences in the latest Broadway show like Hamilton? Some people even think that in a creative dance class, there is little structure at all and the dancers just undulate and fling their bodies about; guided only by the way the music makes them feel. You may be intimidated by the thought - I would be, too! So then, what is creative dance?
Creative dance is a dance form that combines personal mastery of skill with the artistry of expression. During each one-hour Dance Wise class, we alternate between structured and free movement exercises designed to master skills as well as develop personal artistry. The skills in Dance Wise classes include vocabulary from classical ballet as well as modern, jazz and even tap dance. The exploratory dance activities draw from a vocabulary of dance concepts like Energy: smooth and sharp or Levels: low/middle/high. There is a solid structure for every class that supports different learning styles and that we build upon week after week. Even a brand new student can join at any point during the year and begin experiencing the benefits and joy that creative dance can inspire.
So, forget about the time when someone laughed or commented unkindly when you threw caution to the wind and danced like no one was watching! Come learn about the interesting and meaningful dance concepts that underlie all our most basic and complex movements. Experience the satisfaction of mastering dance skills you thought you could only watch as an audience member. And read about what Dance Wise dancers have to say about their experiences in the Dance Wise for Parkinson's Program. Then sign up to attend a class!
If you ask my mom, I never walked anywhere as a child. I always danced! It was considered “old” when I (finally) began ballet lessons at the age of 13. But I absolutely loved everything about dancing and all the different styles just lit me up. Though I started “late”, I was born to dance (in actuality, we all are!) and am incredibly fortunate to have had a wonderful and full career as a professional ballet dancer. Even though I don’t take ballet classes anymore and haven’t been onstage in quite a few years, I still find myself leaning into all the regular habits that helped me become the dancer and person that I am.
For most of my career, my body was a finely tuned instrument, doing just what I asked of it. There were, however, days when my muscles and joints felt sore or stiff. Days when my mind felt foggy and my body was sluggish. Those were the days when my mindset was put to the test and I developed ways to cope, both physically and emotionally, and ultimately thrive into my “Act 2” as a retired professional dancer, dance teacher, mom, and entrepreneur!
Our bodies feel different each day - stronger, weaker, disconnected, coordinated, clumsy or graceful. Emotionally, we have highs and lows. And we move through it all with active muscles, keen body awareness, resilience, fortitude, and joy thanks to the time we spend each week dancing together.
Elena Diehl is a dancer, dance educator, and dance enthusiast sharing her passion with you in the studio every week! Stop by the blog to get a sneak peek into each week's dance concept.