The Awakening of Mental Health in Dance
In the last few years, awareness of mental health has increased considerably. However, there are many environments, like the dance world for example, where there is still much work to be done in order to access psychological support. Schools and dance companies have slowly started focusing on improving their structures and physical conditions, however they are forgetting to implement one of the most essential factors that sustain and hold people together. For years they have pushed people to remain silent while keeping their productivity, not focusing on their mental and emotional balance and well-being. For years these institutions have instilled a culture of silence and complacency within the dance world with the intention of improving the productivity of their dancers, however they have been neglecting the emotional and psychological cost of this culture and have offered little to no support for the artist’s well-being or emotional balance. It seems that to feel weak, bad or low emotionally is something to hide and feel ashamed of. Mental health support is not only essential to our development as people and our ability to function in society, but also the most important factor in our personal and professional performance. Our bodies respond and react to the way we think, feel and act, creating a deep connection between body and mind that is hard to separate. If the mind is one of the most valuable parts of our being, why is it that it is something we are scared to talk openly about? The situation and reality we currently live and work in have shown us that there is far more that we must advocate for and how important it is to cultivate and protect our well-being to keep ourselves together and to move forward healthily and constructively in all the areas we find ourselves in. In the last decade, athletes and sports teams have started opening up about how psychologists and health counsellors have helped them improve their professional performance and personal life. Why are we in the dance industry still so far behind? It is time to give mental health the place it deserves in the dance world by speaking out about it, and not being ashamed to be struggling with our thoughts, emotions, and feelings. It is time to find new ways to prioritize our mental health by involving professionals in our schools and companies who can help us in this field. Key points of the lecture: - Introduction to mental health in dance What is mental health and why it is important Stigma Performance and health variables - What can affect mental health - Signs of mental health issues - Road to better mental health - The role of psychologists and health counselors in dance - How to reach out for professional help - Q&A
Perfectionism Self Reflection
This workshop is centered around thriving while striving for perfection. In the pursuit of excellence in dance, dancers can experience healthy and unhealthy perfectionism as well as perfectionism that can be constructive or counterproductive. Throughout the workshop, we will examine the difference between these types of perfectionism, discuss the expectations and stressors that bring on perfectionism, and how to navigate them for a happier healthier approach to working towards subjective ideals in dance.
Presented by Shelby Williams
The Gyrokinesis® Method belongs to the Gyrotonic® Expansion system of movement developed by Juliu Horvath. The method was developed to address the body as a holistical system by creating vitality and balance within the body. The movement is flowing through in special sequences and brings more range of motion and functional strength. By stimulating the nervous system, it opens the energy pathways of the body and brings greater clarity and balance on both physical and mental levels. The method can be adapted to people from all walks of life and even so is very suitable for dancers, as it was originally developed as Yoga for dancers. The Method is practiced without any special equipment and one only needs a chair and a mat. Therefore, it can be practiced anywhere and as it depends on participant's own proprioceptive feedback which is very valuable for dancers as a supplementary training.
Taught by Anna Merkulova
Emotions & Communication: How to deal with emotions and how we can enhance our communication skills
Being a dancer means to embody emotions through movements on stage. But what are emotions and how can we deal with them offstage? In this workshop, we will discuss the definition of emotions and the importance of their regulation in the daily life as a dancer. We will exchange about their impact on our choices, our performance, and our behavior. How should we talk about emotions and how should with deal with them when being surrounded by others? Through several role playing exercises we will practice some communication skills and discuss how to apply them.
On the third day of the intensive a special guest speaker will be giving a presentation.
Functional Range Conditioning®
Functional Range Conditioning®, or FRC® is a comprehensive joint training system based on scientific principles and research developed by world-renowned musculoskeletal expert Dr. Andreo Spina. In my FRC® class, you will be walking away with practical and effective tools to develop greater ranges of motion in any joint in your body, strengthen your joints in these ranges, and to increase your motor learning capacity and thus your body’s ability to acquire movement faster and more effectively. FRC® is an essential strength and mobility system for any dancer because it will teach you how to mitigate injuries as well as improve flexibility and strengthen the flexibility that you already possess. From your toes to the base of your skull, you will be gaining an extensive new understanding of body mechanics and a lens through which to assess the movement capacities of your joints, the weak-points in your ranges of motion, and achieve your mobility goals. For those of you that are overly flexible, or have a high degree of passive flexibility and are prone to injuries, you will learn how to gain control of your passive ranges of motion and mitigate those recurring injuries. And for those of you that have a hard time gaining mobility no matter how hard you stretch, you will learn how to create lasting changes in your mobility that are usable and effective. Movement is generated by the joints, so targeting your joints directly will increase your capacity to move more safely and effectively.
Taught by James Potter
Self-awareness as a tool for personal and career growth
Our understanding of ourselves is an important aspect of our personal progression in life. Learning about who we are and how we work internally can bring positive changes to how we live our life and can help us on the way of career development. Personal observation and reflection can help us to navigate not only our internal system but can also give clarity on how to interact with the world around us in positive and healthy ways. Understanding and accepting our personal weaknesses and triggers might be a hard task, but in the end it is very beneficial to our personal growth. This kind of deep connection with ourselves is not something that just happens over night, or even in the course of a week. It is an ongoing life-long journey that can greatly assist and be extremely helpful in our lives as dancers. It requires us to discard our judgmental gaze at ourselves and replace it with a sense of curious introspection. When combined with support of different modalities and tools, accompanied with self-compassion and curiosity, it can give us tremendous support that we all need. In this workshop we will talk about why it is important to develop a deep sense of self awareness and you will be given practical tools and modalities for how to develop a greater sense of self awareness in your life and career through guided group and personal exercises.
Presented by Anna Merkulova
Movement Awareness Class
"To move with a somatic purpose is to move with an aesthetic purpose, or affectively with a focus on feeling. Somatic experience is affective experience, and structuring situations for somatic experience to occur is an art, if not a fine art, at least an artful activity in kinesthetic communication. Just as we aim for transformation through art, we also seek transformative somatic experiences." Sondra Fraleigh, 2015 While today's dancers have to be prepared for different choreographic signatures and have to be highly versatile, the proposal is to implement their knowledge in the somatic experience, facilitating the fine-tuning of their technique and artistry. Somatic awareness is a means for change. It helps to improve functionality, sense of perception, sense of self, and the ability to relate to the world in different ways. My Movement Awareness Class is a convergence of different somatic experiences including the Feldenkrais Method and Ilan Lev Method. The sessions start on the ground to allow for the reduction of the implications on the nervous system of gravitational forces and the consequent decrease of muscular resistance. The emphasis is on the observation of perceived differences and the ability to finely discriminate one action from another. The aim of the class is to initiate a self-interrogative and self-regulating learning process of movement and to stimulate a sensory and functional pathway oriented towards self-awareness. Furthermore, the differences in musculoskeletal configuration should offer to dancers a new perspective in the perception of the basic steps of dance technique.