Dance + children + creativity

Posted October 2009 by Judy Lasko

What is the Big Difference between Judy Lasko’s Dance Classes and those offered in other dance schools? CREATIVITY!

In addition to teaching dance technique, as all dance schools do, I provide an opportunity for the dancers to improvise or choreograph their own dances in every class. Sometimes the children help create the dance sequence we learn in class. Sometimes they choreograph a short dance in small groups, based on the theme of the day.

As our schools become more programmed and scripted, there is less and less opportunity for children to come up with their own ideas, to think outside the box. In my dance classes, original thinking is valued and supported. So much self-esteem, enthusiasm and JOY bubble up when children and teens have the opportunity (and learn the skills) to create their own dances. I am so glad to facilitate that learning and delight!

Dance and the music connection

Posted November 2009 by Judy Lasko

What else is different about Judy Lasko’s Dance Classes from other dance classes? The music piece.

First, all the classes have a talented and experienced musician who accompanies our movements, and who creates music for the children’s own dances.

Second, I realized a long long time ago that using a song as a structure for choreography – either mine or the children’s or a combination of those – was a much more child-appropriate way of setting timing than counting. Therefore, many of the dance sequences I teach are set to songs. Often the children and I choreograph the chorus collaboratively. Then, in small groups, the children make dances to the verses.

(It is this integration of singing and moving which eventually led me to the Orff music training. For the last fifteen years I have taught music teachers how to incorporate movement into their music classes.) Of course, the young dancers are also taught how to hear music phrases and how to count.

I also use songs for body warm-ups, for practicing different kinds of traveling, and for exploring the form of a round or canon.

The opportunity to join dance with singing is a special “extra” for the children – and it works so well for teaching/ learning dance!

Building a connected and supportive community of dancers

Posted February 2010 by Judy Lasko

“My goal is to offer the highest quality dance training in a joyous, age-appropriate setting;…to create a connected and supportive community of dancers.”

Important as dance is to me, even more important is being able to help children develop into compassionate, collaborative people. The celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday reminds me, each year, to recommit to teaching these values which he worked so diligently to make a reality.

The areas of dance and music -where people learn and create together – provide a rich opportunity for practicing communication, mutual respect and support, and joy in being part of a community. I consciously build occasions to practice these skills into all my classes. Children often work as partners in technique-building exercises and in dance sequences. I often say, “Please pick a partner you don’t usually work with.”  Almost all choreography is done collaboratively. Part of what I hope the children learn in class are the skills of listening respectfully to each other, compromising, and including everyone’s ideas. It is a great joy to see children  spontaneously help and encourage each other.

Since many students continue in my classes for years, firm friendships are formed here. The parent of one student told me she didn’t know how her daughter would have survived middle school if she hadn’t had the connection with her longtime community of Dance Family. I am proud and grateful to build a “connected and supportive community of dancers”, in addition to offering quality dance instruction.