My students are young artists who receive free pre-professional dance training at our new performing arts school. Conservatory-level dance training can often be reserved for students of a certain social or economic status. At our school, students of all backgrounds receive free pre-professional arts training and a college preparatory education. My students are hard-working, curious, and hungry for information, most with dreams of dancing professionally. They travel from all over the county, some with 1-2 hour commutes. They train 3 hours a day with me, plus 2-3 more for rehearsals. My students are committed, kind, and loving, learning to stand tall, align their bodies, and move efficiently and harmoniously through space. They are artist-scholars learning to create and make sense of the world through movement.
Our dance faculty participated in a somatic movement workshop this summer and are excited to share this new information with the students. The workshop focused on a comprehensive understanding of the skeletal system and included exercises such as bone touch, bone tracing, joint mobility, embryological bone development, and proper pathways of force and weight. During the workshop, many of the exercises required props such as large and small Pilates balls and foam rollers to support the movement explorations and prompts given by the instructors. For example, small Pilates balls supported our weight as we traced the outline of our pelvis, and they also allowed our heads to be weightless as we discovered the true top of our spine. Likewise, foam rollers helped us differentiate between the three layers of bone, information that was helpful during partner work.
The requested materials will help our students gain a clearer understanding of the skeletal system - development, form, and function - which in turn will give them a more authentic and embodied sense of their dance technique.
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