It’s September 11, 2021 and the world appears to be re-emerging, re-engaging, and — perhaps–reconsidering. I have spent much of the past two years teaching on Zoom. When this all began, and I set up classes and online sessions, it seemed we could learn a lot about teaching, learning, supporting, healing, and more from the online interactions, and that has proven to be true, at least, for me. Some important things I have come to understand:
- One cannot MODEL movement online, but we can invite explorations of technical ideas
- One cannot use guiding touch, but we can invite students to guide themselves through anatomical and kinesiological imagery, vocabulary, and movement explorations.
- One cannot offer corrections to the students; I CAN notice when certain challenges (especially balance, breath support,) appear and can offer suggestions.
- Rather than my GIVING a class, we explore together and discuss what insights pop up.
- The structure of a class can be as simple as: Relax/Breathe, Shift/Move, Connect/Interact, all via dancing.
- The very concept of taking attendance in the Zoom universe is fraught with challenges. We need to give it up. When noticing continuing absences, I needed to reach out and check in with each person, individually.
- The social neuroscience of Zoom movement classes requires thoughtful adaptations; just because we cannot be in the same room together does not mean we cannot connect, listen to each other, create together, build communities of diverse people.
I recently started in-person sessions of Enhance Through Dance, at the Old School in Musquodoboit Harbour (Fridays 11-noon), focusing on addressing challenges of physiomotor, cognitive, social concerns. Everything I have listed above has, thus far, proven to add to the practices.
In addition, over the past two years, a few pieces of research have demonstrated the specific value of dance to challenges such as Parkinson’s. Here are two:
If you are interested in such a class, I am still leading online classes on Tuesdays and Saturdays, or if you are in the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia region, on Friday mornings.