• Body Activation

    Michele Kadison is one of my favorite dance teachers! I had the pleasure in taking her contemporary jazz class in Florida. Not only was it exhilarating, she knew body alignment down to a science. As picky as I am in choosing a dance or fitness class just right for me, Michele is one of those teachers where I relish taking her class.

    Her latest venture is Body Activation.

    Why Body Activation?
    I created Body Activation from my dance warm up, which was a part of a contemporary Jazz class that I taught for over 30 years. I noticed that dancers who took classes with me were able to heal their injuries while strengthening their core muscles and thus were becoming much more efficient in their use of movement. I realized that this would be a perfect fitness protocol for anyone wishing to maximize their movement potential, whether for performance, sports, or for simple daily motion.

    Body Activation is designed for the body in motion, helping people achieve a sense of ease as they discover a greater range of movement. The technique helps people develop healthier physical habits through exercises that yield deep and immediate results. Through releasing tension and unblocking stressed areas in the body, my students feel refreshed, lengthened, toned, mentally sharpened, and full of revitalizing energy.

    Can Body Activation benefit a non-dancer? If so, how?
    Body Activation is designed for the non-dancer, as well as anyone who wishes to heighten and maximize their physical potential. The technique is easy to follow and includes many exercises that repeat in order to create a type of biofeedback, whereby the body remembers the movements and positions in its quest to feel better. Because every exercise is designed to affect the body on a deep level, students feel immediate results: core muscles strengthen, the lower back and hips become more flexible, joints become more supple. And because circulation increases due to creating more room inside the body, there is an immediate sense of well-being, inner balance, and mental clarity.

    There are many fitness fads with fancy marketing. What advice would you give someone to cut through all that noise?
    No matter which fitness protocol attracts you, make sure that the teacher has experience working with the body. S/he should have a quantifiable background in fitness, dance, or yoga, with a deep understanding of how the body functions anatomically.

    As this person will be responsible for making sure you get fit with great results and no injuries.

    With so many teacher-training classes out there, it is easy for a person to pay the required fee, put in the time, and emerge with a certificate. This does not mean that s/he has the experience and intuitive qualification to care for you properly. Like you would with a doctor or lawyer, look at the credentials!

    A woman with tattoos on her back is stretching with arms overhead.

    Photo Credit: Yingli Xu

    What is your goal with Body Activation?
    My goal is to create global awareness about the efficacy and beauty of this technique. Once someone has taken even one class, s/he is usually convinced of Body Activation’s power to uplift and heal the body, and how this in turn affects the mind and spirit.

    I hope to develop teacher training classes for seasoned and experienced dancers and fitness practitioners who wish to teach Body Activation. My ultimate desire is to create a franchise so that Body Activation classes can be available to people around the world.

    What inspires you to keep dancing?
    I was born with dancing in my blood. It is my lifeline and my joy. When I dance it is a form of making love, connecting with the music, connecting with the universe … an ecstasy I give to myself and share with others. Body Activation is an extension of this joy.

    Michelle Kadison is smiling in front a white wall.

    Photo Credit: Malik Meuthen

     

    For information on booking Body Activation for a workshop or other event, you can contact Michele at: info@bodyactivation.net

    What is your fitness regimen?

     

    Featured image by Francesca Mey.

  • Teaching Toddlers To Dance

    Teaching toddlers to dance is fun, challenging, amazing and exhausting all wrapped into one. I have taught toddlers in various classes. Whether it’s called creative movement, baby ballet or tutu-time, there are key factors in adjusting to various personalities.

    I’m overly and excessively picky when it comes to picking the right class and teacher for my workouts. Therefore, I structure my student’s class the way I would want my own class to be. At certain studios, toddlers usually start taking dance classes as young as 2. I have always taught toddlers ages 3-5 and I keep no more than 8 students in a class. Believe me, it’s best to keep it small.

    When choosing a class for your child, keep these tips in mind. First off, make sure the instructor LOVES kids. You can pretty much tell if they don’t.  Again, this is what I do and what I’ve done over 15 years and have learned from other instructors who are very conscious on not only teaching a toddler but leave them wanting to dance even more!  This post can be directed to moms looking to enroll his or her child into a ballet class. And this post can be for someone thinking of teaching little ones in the dance world. These are tips on what you should look for.

    1. Start the students in a circle and engage in conversation. What’s your name? What’s your favorite color? Why do you like dancing?

    2. Music should be played softly so they can hear instruction.

    3. Be mindful of what they can or can’t do. Always use praise. Never yell. Whispering to them can actually have them turn down the noise level.

    4. Encourage them to do shapes with their arms. This is a great way to teach them circles, triangles, or squares.

    5. Pretend land. Give them a scenario such as being in a forest, castle or an island. What do they see? This will spark their creativity.

    Little girl touching her head with her toes.

    6. Across the floor. Have 2-3 dancers go at a time. They can pretend to be butterflies and walk across the floor on their tippy toes or walk like flamingos. This will increase flexibility in their legs.

    7. Barre work. Give them exercises such as tendu, passe, arabesque, and chaine turns. Even if it’s not perfect, always compliment their hard work.

    8. Almost to the end of class, sit them down and test them. Ask, “Who can show me butterflies?” This is a good way to know if they’re retaining information and if you’re teaching methods are done correctly.

    9. Closing the class. Play their favorite song and have them free dance! Let them dance however their little heart pleases. It helps to be confident and simply have fun.

    10. Award every child with a sticker, smile and lots of praise. They will leave feeling incredible and that’s the most important goal of the class.

     

     

  • 3 Ballet Moves For All Levels

    Last night while the watching Victoria’s Secret Fashion show, I was glad to see a small segment on ballet’s inspiration for Karlie Kloss. It’s known that some of the models such as Doutzen Kroes, Alessandra Ambroiso, and Candice Swanepoel turned to ballet to get runway ready for the show.

    As a dance instructor, I always feel that any form of dance is really the best form of fitness. Of course, I’m being biased as I’ve been a dance enthusiast all my life!

    Dancing for me has never been an outlet for looking good.  When I step into a dance studio and switch on the music and feel the vibrations; I’m in another world.

    The movement section of this blog is to help others choose a form of exercise that leaves you feeling amazing! It’s not about looking good.

    Now, you’re probably wondering, umm, but I want to LOOK like good!

    I want you to focus on feeling good in terms of balance, strength and posture. As a result, your physical looks will come. I promise!

    I teach the following techniques to my students ranging 10 – adult. These ballet sequences can be done at a bar in a studio or with a chair at home. These variations work your core (if you engage) and the legs. Keep in mind to breathe in and out, push shoulders down, and hold chest up to maintain posture. 

    Dancer facing a ballet barre doing an exercise. Dancer facing a ballet barre doing an exercise.
    Variation 1: Coupé, relevé, attitude.
    Place right leg to the ankle (coupé) then lift same leg to the an attitude position. Feel free to keep the left foot flat or to challenge yourself, relevé, or rise, on the left foot. Repeat 10 sets on each leg.

     

    Image-1 (9Dancer facing a ballet barre doing a demi plie. Dancer facing a ballet barre doing a releve.

    Variation 2: Plié, relevés.
    Start in first position and rise as if you’re wearing high heels (think Victoria’s Secret high pumps). Repeat 20 sets.

     

    Dancer facing a ballet barre doing a plie in second position. Dancer facing the ballet barre doing a passe in releve.

    Variation 3: Plié, passé.
    Start in second position, keeping in mind to push the knees back. Push the right leg to a passé position. The foot should press lightly in front of the left knee. Repeat 10 sets on each leg.

     

    Remember that you’re perfect just the way you are.

    Choose a fitness that leaves you euphoric.

     

    Which variation leaves you with feel-good-burning thighs?