What's That Dance
By Jackielou Perez
Most kids who start dancing at an early age (we’re talking young dancers under the age of seven) don’t usually begin with ballet or jazz or tap from the get-go. Instead, they are placed in creative movement classes to learn how to communicate, to develop physical skills and rhythm, to simulate imagination and above all, to understand the idea of movement.
“Creative movement is not very different from ballet in many ways except generally we have bare feet and we explore movement, just the elements of movement,” says Mary Ann Lee, director of the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program at the University of Utah
in Salt Lake City. “We train the body in the same way but usually in a very creative way and we explore the elements of dance, space, time, energy just as you would in any dance form or dance genre.”
Mary Ann was in Toronto for a Teacher Training Workshop at Canada’s National Ballet School
in October and took the time to chat with wanttodance.ca
about creative movement.
She offers FIVE TIPS for teachers on how to work with dancers at a very young age.
1. You have to remember what is appropriate for each age level
2. Ask yourself, what is the amazing imagery that will engage children beyond anything else?
3. You have to be very patient because they are very little.
4. You have to remember they’re two or three or four or five and they’re really just beginning, but you are still lifting the bar, you’re still asking them to work on technique, in creative ideas, and even in performance at this very young age.
5. Primarily, it’s about finding something so irresistible for the children that they can’t, not dance.