Always Be Dancing Expressive Arts

Yoga and Flamenco for Every/body


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Mindful Book Reviews by Eve: Nutcracker Mice by Kristin Kladstrup; Illustrations by Brett Helquist

IMG_0548Just in time for the holiday season, comes a soon-to-be classic retelling of the Nutcracker. In this version, the mice live their animated lives right along side the humans at the Marinsky Theater, the historic theatre of opera and ballet in Saint Petersburg, Russia, living in the walls, scavenging for food and dancing ballet. Author Kristin Kladstrup has created an enchanting version of the Nutcracker from the mice’s point of view, bringing the mice to the forefront, and switching around the roles within the story so that mice are the heroes of main characters.

Fun mouse facts are included: Mice do not like peppermint. Mice have fun names such as: Herr Drosselmouse, Esmerelda and Maksim– so much fun to say out loud, as they tickle your tongue and your ear with the sounds of foreign lands. The accompanying drawings by Brett Helquist are wonderfully expressive and reminiscent of other children’s classics such as Charlotte’s Webb and Harriet The Spy0763685194.int.1

This is an instant holiday classic and with the included mouse-centric script at the back of the book, will be great for the young balletomane’s collection (I can imagine it being used by budding choreographers.)

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy of this delightful book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Balletomane

Dimensional paper are by my mother, Amelia Robin Gloss of the  infanta from Pavo and The Princess by  Evaline Ness.

 

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Dance In The Schools 2016: Baldwin School Wrap-Up

Cue in Dance In The Schools 2016!

I had the ultimate pleasure of working again with the Maria Baldwin School in Cambridge for this year’s Dance In The Schools Month. I began forging a relationship with the second grade teacher’s 6 years ago and it only keeps getting better each year I go back. This year I had the extra enjoyment of bringing not only my yoga program but I also brought flamenco to the music classes. Together these two classes make up the basis for Always Be Dancing Mindful Movement. This opened up a whole new angle to me for bringing mindfulness into this school. Pairing me up with the music teacher only enriched my musical knowledge, so it was truly a win-win situation for all! The second graders received a veritable cornucopia of mindfulness through dancing, Yoga posing, breathing, and meditating.The positive responses I gathered from the students and the teachers were full of positive remarks and full of enjoyment.

Please comment on what worked regarding the content of this program, e.g., use of theme, connection of movement/dance to curriculum, etc. Did you or the Classroom Teacher notice any changes in any of the students’ behavior, focus, ability to do whatever you were teaching? Please describe if possible.

The kids were all so connected to learning-it is a great environment. The staff and kids are very engaged and even the few children who are on the spectrum or emotionally developing interact with the group and learn alongside their peers. I often work with special needs and other high risk populations and I have developed a compassionate and effective way of bringing what I am teaching to these groups. I appreciated that every student tried what I offered to them. The music students learned about the history of flamenco and the gypsies, styles of flamenco, the emotional content of flamenco, the art of clapping, singing, dancing rhythmically and also rhythmic footwork.  In yoga, we used the basics of yoga, breath-work, poses and meditation, to reinforce emotional control. In the end, they students created a book for me which reinforced their engagement with both my yoga and flamenco classes.

Did you share any materials, resources, music, ideas, props with the Classroom Teacher so they could continue after your last session? If so, what?

MUSIC: I sent a musical link and we made a video of our dance. I also created a special document that gave the history of flamenco and wrote out a simplified version of the choreography for reference.

Here is the document I created for music: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gpZnnLeYRu33aZqIooSvV5tm7mTxjAdOMu_qOCr_HEo/edit?usp=sharing

YOGA: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IKRDDtAAfwcO4vL3EmU381SCi8YEGRAY0g2X2FOlk0o/edit?usp=sharing

Describe the nature of your collaboration with your Classroom Teacher – before your sessions (interaction with teacher, co–planning of materials, other), during your sessions (co-teaching, assessing the process, altering plans), after you finished (examples of follow-up lessons created by you and/or the Classroom Teacher, other)

MUSIC: After reaching out to the music teacher, he sent me some ideas for how we could collaborate his music and my dance class, which really helped me to mold my program.

We came up with:

*Phrase *Form *Different rhythmic values *Dynamics (volume) *Improvisation/Composition

 We worked with each throughout the classes, him adding in his teaching methodology (using the Takadimi system) which opened my eyes to new ways of being able to teach ideas and my own creative style of teaching which only enhanced his system. 

YOGA: I was in contact with the two second grade teachers prior to my visit. They asked me to work with their students on  Socio-Emotional learning and the executive functions, to enable a string and fruitful learning environment for all. I mapped out 4 programs that I would use as the basis of the 4 sessions.

Eve’s Awesome Yoga Day one was about using yoga to calm the body, mind and energy and playing with the differences between silence and non-silence, which can mean vocally, mentally and physically. Here I also taught about the brain and the concept of neuro-plasticity; Day two,  healthy eating; Day three, Rhythm and movement; Day four, Cooperation. 

Do you feel/think you were effective? Why/why not? What did you learn? What challenges did you face? (This is a food for thought question, not judging or criticizing you.

MUSIC: This was extremely effective. Every time I came into the room, the kids all brightened up and beamed, totally ready to dance/do yoga. I could see in their faces their joy! I loved learning about Takadimi as it brings in a Kathak element to my Flamenco teaching, as Kathak is seen as one of the roots of Flamenco.

YOGA: The kids learn in a very short amount of time about how they can control their brains, that brains change, how to be strong, focused and self-effective. How to work by themselves and cooperate in a group. How to be still and to move; to be quiet and loud; to be fast and slow. They learn about emotional control and how they can learn in a different environment than they are usually presented with.


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Book Review: Stomp The Ground Build A Home by Susan Daniel Fayad

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Book Review: Stomp The ground Build A Home by Susan Daniel Fayad with Illustrations by Jayamini Attanayake

This book is a beautiful representation of the intangible cultural heritage inherent to Lebanon in the form of the dance, the dabke. Through bright, exciting illustrations and positive affirmations, this book teaches you to love yourself, to love your community and to be proud of your roots. I appreciate so much the showing of how an extended family takes care to raise the children and how the wisdom of elders can be made into the future. We can all learn something from the beautiful message of compassion and love.  “Al-Awneh,” (let’s go and help)- we can all learn to dance the dabke!

How To Dabke

Full Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of Stomp The Ground Build A Home to review. All opinions expressed are my own.

 


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Eve’s Awesome Yoga comes to Mini Miracles Child Care Center, Framingham, MA

I was so happy with the successful launch of Always Be Dancing Mindful Movement at Mini Miracles Child Care Center, Natick. The students range from 15 month to 5.5 years and I was immediately charmed by each and everyone of them. The support staff is awesome. They are engaged and engaging as are the kids. I feel so fortunate to be creating this partnership with Mini Miracles Child Care Center and RCS Learning Center. I look forward to cultivating this wonderful friendship!

The launch of the Little Yogi Yoga program had us learning the differences between relaxed and active states in our breath, bodies and minds through songs, games, stories, dancing, moving and sitting still.

Things we learned (note: this is a grouping of all the things we did, through the breadth of all the classes. Everything was offered in an age appropriate manner. All concepts and exercises fit each age group. Modifications were applied) :

The Chimepp347: Ring the chime and still and quiet with listening ears, to hear the reverberation, the echo, of the bell and just breath. We don’t even have to think of how to breath, because we all breath naturally. We are breathing and we are alive. But now I am asking you to really notice that you breathing. Think about breathing in, filling yourself up like a balloon, and feel yourself breathing out, feeling relaxed, and calm and focused. Let students try ringing the chime. One of the things often noted was how surprised the kids were at how heavy the chimes are.

Hoberman Sphere: This is a specialty item. It is an isokinetic structure that resembles a geodesic dome but is capable of folding down to a fraction of its normal size by the scissor-like action of its joints (the geodesic dome was created by Buckminster Fuller and I had the ultimate enjoyment of having one in my bedroom while I was growing up. All I had in my room was a bed, a bureau, a blackboard, a wooden stove and sink and the while center of the room was taken up by a wooden geodesic dome, with a rope and a circular wooden swing strung down the center on which I could swing round and round inside the arc of the jungle gym. We used to cover the whole thing with blankets and pretend it was a cave). It resembles the action of the belly in deep belly breathing, a very calming and relaxing way to breath. Inhale as you gently expand the sphere, exhale as you gently descend the sphere. Let the kids open and close once and then pass to the next person. Reminding them that it is a gently toy and that we want to breath slowly like a turtle.

Deep Belly Breathing: Place your hands on your belly. Breath in: Feel how your belly fills up like a beabdominal-breathingach ball; breath out, feel your belly soften. Gently close your eyes. I will add next time, having the kids lie down and place a bean bag on their belly and have them lift and drop it along with their breath. This can also be done with a rubber duck, and they can pretend it is riding the waves.

Blowing Pom-Poms: At first I tried this with small straws, but I found them to be a distraction. We just lay on our bellies and blew on the pom-poms (each student had their own), trying to send them sailing across the floor. Lots of laughs, slithering, crawling, breathing going on!

Fly Like a Butterfly: Butterfly Pose with song & movements. color-3B-butterfly%2872%29[1]

Yogini Went To Sea: Tapping energy points on the forehead, arm, knee, belly and coordinating them all.

Clapping Name Game: Opening circle game that uses rhythm, counting, patterning, sequencing, socializing within a group, taking turns, listening, and creative thinking. Clap the number of syllables in my name, each child’s name and any support staff present. Help the children count how many syllables in their won name. At the end of class ask, who had the least? The most? What one was most common?

I Am Happy Meditation: Sitting, criss-cross yoga sauce. Pointer fingers stretched out and using thumb to hold other fingers curled
I am happy; I am good. I am happy; I am good (Shake pointer fingers)
A-E-I-O (finger tips together at the belly button) ; A-E-I-O (finger tips together by the heart) ; A-E-I-O (finger tips together by the forehead); U (hands reaching up to sky).
Ha-ha-ha-ha (finger tips together by the forehead) ; He-he-he-he (finger tips together by the heart) ; Ho-ho-ho-ho (finger together at the belly button) ;Hooooooo (pronounced “who” hands reaching our by the knees). I have finger tips join as a brain gym activity.

Little White DLittle-White-Duck-9780316733977uck song & movements: Rendering of the version that Raffi sings, along with the board book. As we read, we added movements to the story.

Pose Series: **The accompanying yoga cards are from the Yoga Education Resources: Creative Yoga Games sets 1 & 2, by Edna Reinhardt 

Final Rest Pose: This is the classic last pose of every yoga class. The idea is to lie perfectly still, legs slightly apart, feet dropping open, arms slightly away from the body, palms facing up the ceiling. You then follow the breath in and out for anywhere from 1 minute up to…..well in a “perfect” world that is what rest pose looks like, but that is not the reality of a children’s class. I gently remind stillness, focus, calmness, relaxation….

Namaste: Thank you!

Eve

 


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It’s never to early to eat ice cream!

My favorite quote about living life to its fullest comes from my student Farrah..

“It’s never to early to eat ice cream”

Farrah

It’s never too early to eat ice cream!


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Youth Flamenco, Inclusion Yoga and Tween/Teen Yoga with Eve Costarelli 2014-2015

Lola's Fandango
Youth Flamenco on Wednesdays; Classes start Wednesday September 10th, 2014
@ The Dance Complex, 536 Mass Ave., Cambridge, MA

Youth Flamenco 1 (ages 5-10); 4:00PM The class is designed for children aged 5 to 11 with zero to 1 year of flamenco dance experience. This class includes basic technique of flamenco dance to include correct posture, hand, arm, and foot placement. The student will become familiar with basic flamenco vocabulary. The course will include exercises that will develop the clarity of the students’ footwork, develop their upper-body to lower-body coordination. Basic castanet playing exercises are practiced. Repertoire will be taught. Required attire: leotard or fitted top, castanets, flamenco shoes and skirt for girls. Castanets and flamenco boots for boys. Pre-Registration for Fall-Winter 2014 session, as well as Winter-Spring 2015, contact Eve Costarelli AdamAnt_Eve@hotmail.com for more information. No drop-ins.

Youth Flamenco 2 (ages 9-16); 5:00PM Two years of dance experience required. This class offers Flamenco technique to improve posture, hand, arm, and foot placement. Exercises that will improve clarity of the students’ footwork, upper-body to lower-body coordination as well as stamina and endurance are included. Medium to complex footwork and choreographic variations are taught. Required Attire: Flamenco shoes, flamenco skirt, leotard or fitted top, castanets. Other dance accessories may be required such as Spanish hat, mantón and fan, when necessary. Pre-Registration for this Fall-Winter 2014 session, as well as Winter-Spring 2015, contact Eve Costarelli AdamAnt_Eve@hotmail.com for more information. No drop-ins.

Inclusion Yoga
Inclusion Yoga (ages 6-10) and Tween/Teen Yoga on Thursdays: Classes start Thursday October 2nd, 2014
@ Open Spirit Center, 39 Edwards St., Framingham, MA

Inclusion Yoga (ages 6-10); 3:45-4:35PM This inclusion class will help children with Autism, special needs, and typical learners to feel comfortable with all people, noting that everyone is different and that’s OK. The class combines breath work, movement, guided meditations and a deep relaxation period to help children learn to be aware of their thoughts, emotions and what their bodies say. This specialized program is designed for typically developing children, and children with special needs, including but not limited to; Autism, ADD/ADHD, OCD, Anxiety, PDD, Sensory Processing Dysfunction, PTSD, CP and DS. Students must be able to take verbal instructions and follow along in a group setting with support. Pre-Registration for this Fall session, as well as other sessions throughout the year, are availablehttp://www.openspiritcenter.org/. Led by Eve Costarelli. $90 for the Fall session, no drop-ins.

Tween/Teen Girls Yoga (ages 11-18); 4:45-6:00PM This class brings older tweens and teens together to explore how yoga can help them better understand and appreciate their changing bodies, relationships, and lives. Yoga can help tweens/ teens move through these often-challenging years and emerge with healthy ways to address stress and find balance. Classes will help empower teens and inspire self-awareness and body confidence, and are fun, upbeat, and non-competitive. Yoga poses, philosophy, breath work, meditation and journaling will be explored. This class also presents a wonderful opportunity for tweens/ teens to come together, laugh, and build friendships within the Open Spirit community. Pre-Registration for this Fall session, as well as other sessions throughout the year, are availablehttp://www.openspiritcenter.org/. Led by Eve Costarelli. $90 for the Fall session, no drop-ins.

Privates are available, slots are filling quickly.
Flamenco and Yoga parties available for children and adults. Yoga Classes & The Common Core, Weddings and Corporate events available. Please inquire.

Eve’s other projects include:

Nourishing Teachers, Strengthening Classrooms Project @ the Framingham Public Schools; Framingham, MA

The Birth of Flamenco @ Young Audiences of Massachusetts; Greater New England

Yoga in the Park @ Ivy Child International; Worcester, MA

Core Yoga In Schools @ Brighton High School; Brighton, MA

Yoga Reaches Out: Kid’s Yogathon; Natick, MA

Smell The Roses Flyer


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Flamenco & Yoga: Summer 2013: Northeast Youth Ballet, Reading, MA.

Flamenco & Yoga: Summer 2013: Northeast Youth Ballet, Reading, MA.



This summer, for my 12 consecutive year, I joined the staff at Northeast Youth Ballet for six weeks of flamenco and yoga classes. To say that teaching at this school is an absolute pleasure would be an understatement. This is an amazing dance school. The dedication of the owners and the teachers to the students is unparalleled. You can tell this from the moment you walk in the door. The total vibe of the place is one of harmony, cooperation, focus and positivity. I am so fortunate to be part of it all!


The last four weeks have been dedicated to the intermediate and advanced students. Having them both for flamenco and yoga has really upped my game. I can work theories of physical and energetic movement throughout flamenco class, using the pulsations of the specific rhythm they are working on and then bring those same energetic movements back in during yoga class. I am so satisfied being able to combine these two art forms. This is where my heart lies.


At the beginning of each class, I would lead a flamenco centering exercise to get them in the mindset for flamenco. I needed them to connect to the songs they would be dancing too and to soak their minds and bodies with the rhythms. Most of the time, we started lying on the floor. After an initial breathing exercise, we would listen to the song to ingest it. I would talk about the essence of the song, how it’s particular rhythm would motivate the movement and allow your soul to show through while you danced it. I would talk about grounding, being able to hold the song in the heart, almost being able to grasp it with their hands.

The intermediate students and I worked on the fourth Sevillanas. Now it is true, that you would normally learn them in order -1, 2, 3, 4- but I chose just to work number four with this group. It is full of -step, ball change- which I knew would be a motor skill they already possessed and by working on only one Sevillanas, we would have time to do it in partners and in a circle formation. For the demonstration, they are dancing it four times. Firstly they will do it facing the audience; second, they find their partners; third, still in same partnerships; and the fourth time, they move into two circles, one inside the other, and then those two circles partner each other. It reminds me of Bugsby Berkeley’s choreography from the 1920’s (stylistically, my favorite era).

The advanced students took on a Tangos de Triana ( I was so motivated by my workshop with La Lupi to explore the rhythm and movement of this song style. It is really snarky (from the Urban Dictionary “A witty mannerism, personality, or behavior that is a combination of sarcasm and cynicism. Usually accepted as a complimentary term”) and full of bravada and fun. The attitude just jumps right out of my heart. I tell them it feels like hip hop danced on the street-an expression of the creators, the gypsies in Andalucia, fighting persecution, like the blues. We worked tirelessly on giving the dance the right attitude and grounded-ness







I cannot wait for tomorrow’s performance to see these students dance. To see them perform my flamenco but also to see them dance ballet, character, modern and musical theater. I adore seeing them in all these different elements and how each of their souls comes out. It just is so revitalizing!


Teaching yoga after a full day of flamenco is idyllic. My dream job. I love to use energetic movement, from inside the body, the subtle body’s movement, to heighten the yoga experience. This is a perfect age group for this as it allows them to drop down and totally relax, take notice of their breath and how their bodies are feeling, and then begin movement from a place of presence. I find a good combination of activities in a youth yoga class, keeps the kids present and fully engaged. Some of the things I like to include are meditation, breath-work, poses, games and open discussions about principles such as Ahimsa (a principle of yoga that means to do not harm), karma , practicing yoga off the mat.




Karma class. Karma is defined as an action or a deed; a result of an action; destiny or fate, following as effect from cause. Synonyms are fortune, fate, destiny. Karma yoga is the yoga of selfless service (altruism= one acts without being attached to the fruits of one’s deeds).


Kinder people live longer lives; people who volunteer experience fewer aches and pains. We feel good when we give because we experience the “giver’s lift”, a distinct physical sensation from helping. Kindness makes us happy. It reduces depression, lowers anxiety and builds our self esteem.


How to you practice Karma? One way is with Random Acts of Kindness (RAK). It is stated that one RAK a day keeps self-centeredness away! As Aesop said “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”


I read to the class-I love reading stories out loud to kids of all ages-The Three Questions (Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy) written and illustrated by Jon J. Muth. It is a wonderful story about Nikolai who wants to “be a good person” and so proposes three questions to his friends: When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do? They never answer him directly, but by the end of the story, Nikolai has answered the questions for himself. I had them contemplate kindness and the ways they are already kind and the ways they might like to add more kindness into their lives. I gave each of them two pieces of paper and a crayon and they wrote two examples of how they are and how they want to be kind. The recurring themes were of helping out family members, giving attention to those around them, and being positive, friendly, loving people. We left our slips of paper in a vase soother people could read our notes and feel connected.


We then stood and did some fun flows to different songs on my play list: Jamaica Resting by The Pool; Give Me The Sunshine by Leo’s Sunshipp; The Sun Can’t Compare by Larry Heard presenting Mr. White.


Taking a cue from one of my mentors, Shakta Khalsa, I taught them the “Detective” game (from the Radiant Child Yoga’s teacher’s manual). Dividing the the girls into smaller groups, I had them sit in circles. One person, the “detective”, would leave the room. The group them decides who will be the secret leader. The leader makes different motions such as leg taps, hand claps, eye blinks, small quiet movements or loud fast movements and everyone else follows as immediately as possible, trying to accomplish this seamlessly as to not give away the “it” person. The detective then returns to the scene and tries to determine who is it. This game develops powers of observation and the ability to be subtle, focused and alert. The game was a huge success and the smaller groups allowed for each girl to take a turn.


I wandered around the room listening into their giggles and relaxed chatter.  We gathered into one large circle, held hands, breathed in and then lay back (usually we play the hand squeeze game here, but today I just had them relax).



These students have been the most willing participants in everything I have given them this summer. They have expanded their repertoires, their presence, and their characters. They have expanded mine. 

Ole Namaste!

Eve Costarelli