Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello Lexington!

I just got back from a trip to the east coast...Virginia, DC, New York, and Ohio. First stop: Lexington, VA to teach ballet for two weeks for my friend Chanel who was doing an internship in Europe working with some dancers and artists in Germany.
She called me this summer and asked, so I worked it out with my day job and before I knew it, I was on a plane to Dulles airport to meet Nancy Saylor, Lexington, and the students at Halestone Dance Studio.
I taught most of the ballet classes, ages ranged from 3rd grade to 18 and it was fantastic! The students, working with Nancy Saylor, and just being there was an experience I will always remember.
Picture above is the "dancer house" where Chanel lives and where I stayed. A woman in town donated this for Nancy's use for visiting artists, dancers, etc.

Brix is the tapas restaurant Nancy took me to when we arrived in town. We walk in and Nancy knows the chef and waitress...everybody knows everyone, gotta love the small town. :)

My luggage didn't arrive with me in Dulles because I had a short transfer. And to spare some hassle, I checked my carry-on, so I arrived with nothing but my ballet music and laptop. Nop problem, this is why we dancers take classes in improvisation, for situations like this.

The next day was Sunday, not prepared for fast sunday, so I stopped at McDonalds on my way to church in my jeans. Good thing it's not about what we wear...:)The picture above is the Halestone "Loft" where I taught all my classes. The studio is right through those double green doors and up the stairs.
Picture below is my feet from my ballet shoes after teaching for a few hours, wow, I actually miss my feet looking like this.

Nancy Saylor, director and owner of Halestone Dance, and female extraordinaire! This woman oozes grace, talent, and wonderfulness. So fun to work with her, observe her teaching, and see what she is creating with dance in the Lexington community.
The studios.
Nancy teaching the Ballet 1 class about alignment with a model of a spine. These girls are in 3rd grade and totally understand alignment and keeping their spine healthy-something I didn't learn til later in my dancing career. Nancy is a master teacher, it was phenomenal to observe her.
The main drag in town. One way streets and "No (right) turn on Red" signs everywhere. Charming town.

The Halestone "cottage" where Halestone Dance was started, now houses yoga and other dance conditioning classes.

The Loft is on Nelson and the Cottage is on Randolph. So this was my home base for two weeks.
Treated myself to the fine dining in town at the Red Hen. Butternut squash soup and the fish entree with gnocchi and radishes. Amazing and such a fun place.
On one of my last days in Lexington I got a reflexology session at the local reflexologist. Fantastic. The session was a glorified deep tissue massage on the feet, but it also came with a toe reading and a little bit of energy work. So cool. Never done reflexology before.
On fridays Nancy is involved with the "Moving Arts Initiative", which is a program she created to bring dance in to the public school. She works with the 6th graders at Lylburn Downing Middle School for 3 hours on Fridays doing movement and dance that is tied in with their language arts curriculum. Nancy teaches dance theory, puts together 20 minute productions, and involves them in journaling about the experience. It is incredible to watch her do this. This is all stuff we talk about in my classes, but seeing it is inspiring. Nancy donates her time and energy in to this for the sake of giving these kids the experience and building the reputation for dance in schools.
Imaginary tug o' war game, learning how to give the visual to the audience without an actual rope and work as a team. They also did DNA spiraling, lifting, dancing, and bunch of other creative stuff.
One of the valuable things for me on this trip was watching my growth as a teacher, with the small classes, I was pushed to focus on the individual students more and this was so good for me. Instead of overlaying a generic ballet class, I zeroed in on the students, focused on a couple of key principles for the two weeks, and taught them as individuals, connecting with them more one on one. I found it more satisfying for me and the students, and not as exhausting.

1 comment:

evieperkins said...

The idea of connecting dance to language arts is awesome! And I'm glad you had fun. :)