Always Be Dancing Expressive Arts

Yoga and Flamenco for Every/body


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Book Reviews by Eve: Boys Dancing by George Ancona & Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle

Book Reviews by Eve: Two books from Candlewick Press that highlight dance and rhythm are Boys Dancing by George Ancona & Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle.

IMG_9070Boys Dancing by George Ancona is the second book I know by the author, the first being ¡Olé! Flamenco, which is another great non-fiction book about dance. Both books include fun photo illustrations that really highlight the story. In Boys Dancing, I like the foot step pattern that leads you through the pages of the book. These kids faces really tell the whole story. They are so engaging and engaged. You can see form their faces their focus, determination and joy at dancing. The instructor is equally connected and together they learn about dancing with their bodies, minds and energies. This story shows the dedicated dancers and teachers and how a whole production comes together, from school gym to studio to stage. Dance is for boys. It is community building and the story shows how hard work is fun and rewarding. ¡Olé!

IMG_9068Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle lives up to its name as a great choice of onomatopoeia for a rain storm. The delightful illustrations by G. Brian Karas are a cross between photo realism and sweet cartoonish images. The reader not only looks at the scenes, but also up and down and from within them. You feel like one of the pack of people escaping the rain storm! This is a very engaging and entertaining story that promotes community, friendship and the love of a good rain storm!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me these books. All opinions are my own.


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Dance In The Schools- Day One: What is yoga?

Dance In The Schools- Day One: What is yoga?

Dance In The Schools- Day One: What is yoga?

(Included at the end is a classroom/home assignment: How to make a Happiness Collector)

Funded by both Dance In the Schools and Friends of Baldwin, I am thrilled to be back for my sixth year at the Maria Baldwin Elementary School, Cambridge, MA, teaching my own Always Be Dancing Adaptive Movement program with their amazing second grade classrooms. This year, they have three second-grade classrooms and I am able to see each group 5 times. Having this opportunity to grow each year with the students and staff is priceless. Also, I love seeing the past participants who are now in third, fourth or fifth grade. Whenever they see me, they jump into tree pose or even strike a flamenco pose (as I also integrate my program with flamenco). This school has great community spirit and I love the diversity and how it is celebrated.

Good Behavior In Yoga:

Good Behavior In Yoga Class:

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I deliver the rules verbally, also pointing out that they can read along that there is a picture for each rule that shows what I am asking them to do. That way there are many ways to help them remember the rules.

  1. I stay on my mat. This is so each child has personal space. We take a moment to look at our mats, the size, the color… I asked them to think of a color that makes them feel happy. Holding an imaginary Hula Hoop, we then cover our whole mat, including ourselves, with a bubble of this color. Inside our bubble we feel happy, good and safe.

  2. I listen with my ears. That way they can hear the directions that are being given

  3. I watch what my yoga teacher is doing. I remind them that I will most likely being doing what I am asking them to do, so if they watch me, they will always know what is being asked of them.

  4. I try my best to do each yoga activity. Yoga is about trying, noticing, feeling. Just give things a try and if you need help…

  5. If I need help, I can ask my yoga teacher. If one child needs an adaptation of an activity, we all do it. Its just something else to try!

  6. If I need a break, I can take Child’s Pose or I can sit quietly on my mat. OK…a big one. I stop everything here and I go through and teach what I call the “three resting poses” First, I teach Child’s Pose, have everyone take a breath or two to feel this pose in their bodies. Then we roll forward onto our bellies, for Crocodile Pose, everyone needs belly-time! Once again a few breaths to feel the pose. Then we flip over onto our backs, and I teach Gingerbread Man Cookie Pose. This is the traditional savasana pose. Take our breaths. When we all sit back up, I ask them to think about which pose was the most restful for them because I will ask them later during class to do that pose.

  7. I use a quiet voice. Enough said!

  8. I keep my hands to myself. (OK this one should really be up by “staying on your mat” That will be on the updated poster!) Here I bring back the color bubble. Keep your hands to yourself. Do not pop anyone’s bubble….img_6145

After the rules (I only do this one time but I bring the board each week as a reminder, classes started with belly breathing. A great way to begin! I am a strong believer of breathing in and out through the nose, as an exhale with the mouth actually feels like a balloon that is losing air too fast (insert “balloon deflating too rapidly” sound here….FFFRRRAAPFT). I encourage breathing in through the nose, as if you are smelling a lovely flower and then letting the air gently leave through the nose on the exhale. It is more calming this way. Of course, there are two exceptions. If you have a cold/allergy or if you feel nervous and it makes you uncomfortable to breath that way.

One reason I bring yoga into classrooms is to help students and teachers that yoga is an accessible safe choice towards embodying self-control. Yoga is all about the self. Yoga is all about what it feels like inside your body. Only the individual knows what is feel like because no one else is inside another person’s being. The individual knows what is safe, what makes them feel good and how to calm themselves down. With increased self control, classrooms can flow more smoothly and teachers do not have to be noise/distraction monitors. For sure, yoga is not a cure-all, but it is one very accessible, adaptable and enjoyable tool for a person’s emotional intelligence tool kit.

Class begins with the ringing of the chime. Sometimes the best way to start class is form a relaxed and calm position to pave the way for better focused minds, bodies and energy. We inhale on the ring and allow the slow breath to release as we listen to the echo of the sound. Each child gets a turn. And with each chime, we focus our attention on the sound and on our breathing.

I will continue to use the bell as a way to bring back focus to the class. I want them to understand the difference between silent and noisy and stillness and movement. We all get a bit noisy, making silly sounds, talking, wiggling and then suddenly I ring the bell. The room quiets down. Of course, I made need to ring it again, but usually one ring is enough. Sometimes I play with the level intensity at which I ring the chime (loud vs soft), so they really have to be alert for its sound.

What is yoga?

Group 1

  • stretching

  • feeling relaxed

  • relaxing moves

  • movement

  • flexible

Group 2

  • calm down

  • stretching

  • getting flexible*

Group 3

  • relaxed & feeling good

  • stretch to become flexible

  • breathing to calm

  • de-stress

  • peaceful

  • floating

Each class came up with similar responses, but the one I really liked was “getting flexible”. I love how it implies an opportunity for growth, for change. Just what yoga is about!

Jumping right into a short sequence:

Cow/Cat (adding moos and meows)

Downward Facing Dog (with barks)

Cobra (with hisses)

Child’s Pose (giving hand options to help the children figure out what feels best for them: under the forehead, fist-on-fist or hands by feet, palms up)

Now asking the students if doing  that little bit of yoga make them feel calm/good/happy or like they were getting more flexible? I refer back to the word list they created and use them. I often throw in the question, “Is being able to touch your toes or do a backbend the only way to show that you are flexible? You might need to direct them away from more physical action descriptions for flexibility then someone can come up with alternative ways to be flexible (i.e. mind, energy)

One of my favorite yoga books and the one I have been using the longest is My Daddy Is a Pretzel by Baron Baptiste. It is a great kicking off point for basic yoga poses.

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The kids think the title is hysterical and I immediately tell them to create their own version of a pretzel yoga pose: tie yourself up, twist and curl any which way.

What I have found is that the real focus of the book is in the varied types of jobs the children in the story say that their parents do each day. There is a gardener (tree), vet (downward facing dog), architect, (triangle), pilot (airplane), builder (bridge), farmer (plow), marine biologist (fish), works in Africa (lion), baker (pretzel). These jobs open up our ability to talk about what these job’s actually mean you do and kids either know or can piece together these answers by looking at the accompanying pictures. To make my teaching fully inclusive and to make sure I can make any adaptation necessary, I teach going into and out of poses my own way, so I do not use the accompanying pose descriptions. That way I can adapt and grow each pose organically with the group, rather than follow a set path. At the end, of course, we get to try another “make-your-own” pretzel pose. Lots of laughs and then I offer up the resting pose choice. We take a short resting moment.

One of my favorite moving meditations is “Yogini Went To Sea” by Shakta Kaur Khalsa (for only $9.99 you can buy the album Happy through iTunes). Shakta is the first children’s yoga teacher I studied with and she taught me the invaluable lesson of allowing your self to grow with each experience and also, she recorded the only recorded yoga songs that I use in my classes! 

Classroom/Home Assignment: Create a Happiness Collector.

A Happiness Collector is a jar, bucket, basket or any other receptacle you choose where you put in small piece of paper that have on them written or drawn things that make you happy. These things can be anything that make you happy. They can be something that you did, that you saw or that you had done to you.

  1. Choose your Happiness Collector

  2. Every day take a moment to remember something that made you happy.

  3. Write it down or draw it on a small piece of paper. Fold the paper.

  4. Put it into your Happiness Collector.

  5. Messages can be read whenever a bit of sunshine is needed, at the end of a week etc…

Children can be prompted with a phrase such as “I feel happy when I _________.

Thank you!

Ole! Namaste!


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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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Dance In The Schools 2015: Life Cycle of the Yoga Butterfly

Waiting For Wings by Lois Ehlert

Today was the final day of Dance In The Schools 2015 at the Baldwin School, Cambridge. My classes were based on the life cycle of the butterfly (current with the 2nd grade science curriculum) and the concepts of senses we know (touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste) and then the ones we don’t know as much about (proprioception= an awareness of our bodies in space and the vestibular system=balance, gravity and movement information though our inner ear).

The best thing about yoga is that it allows for a sensory experience in a safe/non-competitive environment. You can manipulate your body in space, using poses, breath and meditation to clear pathways to achieve balance.

Breathing Sticks (once again, I noted to them to practice their breathing once they got their sticks)

Sa-Ta-Na-Ma meditation

Waiting for Wings/They have eggs to lay...What is the Butterfly Life Cycle?

Egg (usually laid on a leaf)

Larva/Caterpillar (eats leaves to grow)

Pupa/Chrysalis/Cocoon

Adult butterfly/moth

What is metamorphosis?

Interesting facts:

  1. Butterflies are active during the day feeding on flowers. They suck up the sweet nectar with their long, curly tongues. That is because butterflies cannot bite or chew.
  2. There are about 150,000 kinds of butterflies and they and their caterpillars come in all sorts of colors and sizes.
  3. Butterflies Like all insects, they have six jointed legs, 3 body parts, a pair of antennae, compound eyes, and an exoskeleton. The three body parts are the head, thorax (the chest), and abdomen (the tail end). Most have four wings. The wings of butterflies are covered with tiny scales that seem to shimmer in the daylight. Some of them are brightly colored. Others have bold patterns or scary eye-spots. When a butterfly flashes its wings at its enemies, it confuses them, and gives itself time to escape the danger that they might be in.
  4. Butterflies and moth belong to the order Lepidoptera. Lepidos is Greek for “scales” and ptera means “wing”. Monarch visiting Mums

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert

Out in the fields, eggs are hidden from view. Child’s pose

clinging to leaves with butterfly glue. Stretching child’s pose. Fingers crawl to the left and right to stretch sides.

Soon caterpillars hatch. They creep and they chew. Creep forward into inchworm.

Each one knows what it must do. Press up to cobra. Add hissing and snaking back up and down.

Find a place where winds don;t blow, Locust.

then make a case in which to grow. Bow.

Caterpillar changes now begin– Rock and roll on belly, release. Rise up to standing position.

body and wings take shape within. Tapping.

When it’s time, each case is torn– Willow tree and joy breath.

wings unfold; new butterflies are born! Star Pose.

They pump their wings, get ready to fly, Add cross body kicks.

then hungry butterflies head for the sky. Yoga Jumping Jacks.

Looking for flowers with nectar to eat, Standing flower pose (tree)

they catch a whiff of something sweet.: Join a partner for partner tree/or group tree

They follow that fragrant scent of perfume, Melt to the floor. breathing in and smelling the delicious odor of fresh flowers 3x.

until they find our garden bloom.: Seated flower

We’ve been waiting for wings! Seated bat (opening flower)

We watch them circle, land on their feet, Lay on back and hug knees to chest. Legs up towards ceiling, as if walking on ceiling. Foot circles, both directions. Point and flex and then walk on ceiling and then bicycle.

unroll their tongues, and begin to eat.: Rock and roll. Grab feet, happy baby.

They dip and sip, Feet down. Simple lying twist.

then fly away, back home to the fields… Full body stretch-like a gingerbread man.

They have eggs to lay.: Savasana

Song (sung to the tune of Pop Goes The Weasel)…I tried!

I spin and spin my chrysalis

I stay inside to rest

When I come out….Metamorphosis!

Pop! Goes the butterfly.

Of course we then did a rousing version of Yogini Went to Sea and then the Downward Dog Crawl Tunnel. Not taking into account the size of the room, proved to be a stumper for a moment. But I offered up the challenge to the class and we  were able to create a circle, which worked very well! I so appreciated the first groups problem solving ability!

Please enjoy the wonderful gift I received:

IMG_3897 IMG_3898 IMG_3903 IMG_3899 IMG_3900 IMG_3901 IMG_3902 IMG_3904 IMG_3905 IMG_3906 IMG_3907 IMG_3908 IMG_3909 IMG_3910 IMG_3911 IMG_3912 IMG_3913 IMG_3915 IMG_3916 IMG_3917 IMG_3918 IMG_3919 IMG_3920 IMG_3921 IMG_3922 IMG_3923 IMG_3924 IMG_3925 IMG_3926 IMG_3927 IMG_3928 IMG_3929 IMG_3930 IMG_3931 IMG_3932 IMG_3933 IMG_3934 IMG_3935 IMG_3936

Ole! Namaste!


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Day One Dance in the School 2015: What is mindfulness and how does it fit into the school day?

Day One Dance in the School 2015: 8b8b9-img_0747

What is mindfulness and how does it fit into the school day?

Maria Baldwin School, Cambridge, MA

Megan Powers & Karma Paoletti’s 2nd grade classrooms

A great opening for my in-school yoga and mindfulness program is to take the school’s core values or credo and work it into the mindfulness theme.

The Maria L. Baldwin’s CORE VALUES

We, the students of the Maria L. Baldwin School:

• Always give our best effort. (determination-a great word that self implies action rather than stagnation)

• Stand up for ourselves and others. (loving-kindness, compassion, empathy and peace. See the four abodes of yoga)

• Are kind, positive and safe. (Ahimsa *see Yamas)

• Treat others the way we want to be treated. (Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, Aparigraha* See the Yamas)

• Work together to make a fun learning community. (loving-kindness, compassion, empathy and peace. See the four abodes of yoga)

love-compassion-joy-peaceMindfulness teaches loving-kindness, compassion, empathy and peace (Calmness and levelheadedness) and those are the foundation of a strong school community where teachers are nourished and classrooms are strengthened.

Today’s class started with the making of Breathing Sticks (When I teach a math based yoga curriculum, I bring in my abacus and show the kids how to use it. Also, for those classes, I call the sticks Breathing Abacuses) Here you use a large pipe cleaner, knot one end, slide on 5 beads and then knot the other end. This is a great visual for the students to use to follow for 5-deep, relaxing breaths. Using a nice slow, but steady inhale through the nose, slide the bead ½ way down the pipe cleaner as you are breathing; then a nice and easy exhale through the nose as it completes its journey to the other side. I usually lead the process one full-time through and then ask for a “turtle breath” leader and the group then focuses its attention on that person. Each student moves the beads on their own stick while following the leader. This great exercise was taught to me by Elizabeth Goranson of Stretch What Matters and I think it fits beautifully into a classroom based program and can easily be implemented by the regular classroom teacher.

Mindfulness is something that can be practiced every day throughout the day. Using mindfulness as a strategy to ease transitions works for all students and faculty alike. The sticks are a great resource because even if they are not available for use, their image can be called up in the mind and still be used as a focal point. At any point, such as the start of the day, the start of a class, the end of a class, have your students stop what they are doing, sit up with a straight spine, although not too straight to be rigid, but up right and awake, close their eyes or not, and take five breaths. Have them become aware of the breath, such as how it feels (It is cool as it enters and warm as it exits. Is it in the belly or the chest? Is it deep or shallow). Doing this will help both you and them anchor yourselves into the present moment…to be in the NOW. These few breaths will help you become aware of your body (notice tension, ease, tightness, calmness), your emotional state (frustrated, bored, excited, joyful, angry), your energetic state (tired, on edge, energetic…) and what is going on in your mind (busy, clam, cloudy, clear….). There are no right or wrong answers, this is just a time to notice and it only takes about 3 minutes. Just starting your day with these 3 minutes will actually allow you to have more productive time in your classroom; it will not be time wasted.Eve's _IMG_0799

After completing our breath work, I like to check-in with the students to see how they are feeling. They usually like to share their emotional, energetic or physical energy. I also ask, What is yoga? And get answers such as exercise, stretching, it calms you down, and What is meditation? Sitting quietly and not talking, Sitting like this (and they show a mudra), relaxing your mind….

Today I taught the Sa-Ta-Na-Ma meditation. The moving of the fingers and the repetitive chant is a great way to put thought out of the mind with little effort. I always follow Shakta Kaur Khalsa of Radiant Child Yoga‘s suggestion of the sequence: out loud, in whisper, in head with hand movements only, in whisper and then out loud again. With this age group I generally have them it 8x in each sequential stage.

Warm-Up:

seated easy twist (can be with or without partners)

cow and cat (meow) to ½ scorpion balance to pointer dog balance to one-legged bow pose (both sides)

child’s pose

Downward Dog to 3-legged dog (wag leg like a tail woof woof) to bend knees, look at hands, jump forward to hands

Stand Up

Sun salute-full body warm up, a great way to wake your body up for the day

Mountain-to up mountain to chair pose to ski racer pose to standing child pose to lifted chest, knees bent to forward fold (2x)

On second time send right leg back for high lunge (float hands) to low lunge (arms up and head up-look at hands) to moving forward, put weight on front foot and float back leg up (standing split)-float one hand at a time, then try both step into plank press to downward dog-jump through and repeat sun salutation, then lunges on left side. After 2nd plank, float slowly to the floor and then rest in crocodile pose.

Locust

Tree Series

Yogini Went To Sea (end by floating to floor)*Moving meditation that stimulates meridians taught to me by Shakta Kaur Khalsa of radiant Child Yoga

Lie on back, hug knees into chest

Stretch legs to ceiling (this is the version of candle stick pose I use in a classroom situation-no trauma for the necks and backs and it gets the legs over the heart), roll ankles, point and flex feet

Lay out on backs, prepare for relaxation

Deep relaxation exercise:

DSC3899The Post Card Rack of Happy Memories (Adapted from an exercise taught to me by Peter DiMuro).

Lets start by taking in a few deep breaths together. Allow yourself to feel your breath coming in and out. Focus your breath into your belly. Let yourself go and allow yourself to rest calmly. Imagine a post card rack in front of you, like when you go on vacation and you are looking to send cards to someone, but on this rack, are postcards with pictures of you having happy times. These happy times can be with your family, with friends, by yourself, with an animal, they can be from actual vacations, or just a good time at home, they can be of your favorite place to read, to relax, they can be indoors or outdoors….). Now settle your eyes on one card, it does not have to be your favorite one just anyone your eyes rest on. Think about this happy time…how old were you? What’s the temperature? The smell? The colors? Let your self be wrapped up by all the sensations of this moment. You are safe, loved and relaxed.

I then initiate savasana with a ring of the chimes. I try to give these kids a 5 minute savasana. Three chimes to end.

Explanation of Namaste– the light inside of me, shines to the light inside of you. And by yu saying this, you are saying the same to me. This ultimately means, thank you!

Namaste


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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

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Youth Yoga Ties Into the Common Core Curriculum: Liquids, Solids, Gases

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The first of a four week stint of Yoga-Snacks for Dance Month in Cambridge has me combining the Cambridge Public Schools Common Core Science curriculum for the second grade level science with yoga.  At the Maria Baldwin School, I started the unit off with viscosity. In the coming weeks, we will continue to explore the connection of yoga’s kinetic energy (i.e., energy of motion)  with the amount of kinetic energy  the molecules of a substance has which then determines whether the substance is a solid, liquid or gas. Looking at such scientific terms such as viscosity, melting point, freezing point, beading and surface tension, this yoga classes will enhance the science curriculum. Students will learn properties of water and other liquids, and recognize the importance of water to living and non-living things. They will also learn about the interaction of water with different materials, and apply that knowledge to practical problems such as liquid absorption and liquid containment all the while moving their bodies, building self confidence and sharing in a non-competitive, friendship building, calming group interaction.

Day One: Viscosity: Today we started by examining the similarities and differences between water, vegetable oil and corn syrup. I brought in cups and small tubes and we poured these liquids through the tubes and discovered how quickly or slowly the liquids passed through the tubes. We used words like sticky, thick, goopy, fast, slow, clear and see through, when describing the viscosity of these three liquids.  After our liquid experimenting, we talked about how the blood in our body keeps us alive and that the heart is a pump used to distribute the blood throughout the body. In that regards, less viscous blood and a strong healthy heart are the best things for us. We discussed how to keep our hearts healthy: eat good foods, don’t over eat or eat too little, no smoking, exercise, yoga, don’t eat too much junk food, drink water, be nice to each other…which was a great segue into our yoga section.  Starting with “I Am Happy, I Am Good; Ha ha He he Ho ho Huuuu”– I noticed how everyone had smiles on their faces while doing this. We then practiced some vigorous poses and were then able to notice how are our hearts were beating faster at the end and we felt energized and happy. I then made up a short sequence and we first did it as slow as corn syrup, then a bit quicker like vegetable oil and then fast, like water through the pipes. Lying down, allowing our heart beats to slow down and bringing focus back to our breathing, we did deep relaxation with a right side/left side breath-centric focus and the noodle test (see Shakata Kaur Khalsa’s “Fly Like A Butterfly: Yoga for Children) and then Savasana.

Day Two: Beading, Surface Tension, Absorption: Today, I brought in molasses, vegetable oil and water to help the children understand the concept of beading and surface friction. We started with a short review of viscosity and then naturally that lead us to the idea of how liquids bead on different surfaces and then also a bit about absorption. Ms. Power’s 2nd grade classroom has an awesome tool- a surface camera, so I was able to work on the counter surface and the images were projected onto the screen set up ion the room. That way, the kids did not have to crowd around the counter to see. We started by pouring water, oil and molasses onto the counter surface to see what would happen-if the liquid would stay together, spread or bead. We then tried the same experiment on wax paper and then finally on paper towel.

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Yoga class started with a variation of the “Sa-Ta-Na-Ma Meditation”…instead of saying Sa-Ta-Na-Ma, we said, “Water”: Thumb to Pinky finger, “Oil”: Thumb to Ring finger, “Mola-” Thumb to Middle finger (sounds like the “a” in “back”), “-Sses” (sounds likes “says”): Thumb to Pointer.  The rest of class focused on poses that started small and spread wide (Child’s Pose (Molasses Pose) spread to Table Top (Oil Pose) which spread to Downward Facing Dog (Water Pose); Vishnu’s Couch added Tree Pose leg which added Hand to Big Toe Stretch; Mountain grew to Up Mountain which grew to Star Pose) and then also poses that started as a single “blob” but were drawn to join other “blob poses” near them, so single poses became team poses.

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Class ended with a deep relaxation that took their energy from a water state to an oil state to a slowed down oozing molasses state. Let them wiggle to flow to settle.

 

 

 

Day Three: Freezing Point & Melting Point: Moving from liquid to solid to liquid: I was inspired to do some liquid freezing tests by the questions that were posed by the students on a work sheet that was distributed: 1. What do you know about liquids? 2. What do you want to know about liquids? 3. What did you learn about liquids?

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In the second section, many of the kids were asking if corn syrup/molasses would freeze? And what about oil?

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I decided to conduct an experiment basing all freezing points against that of water to see what would happen to molasses and oil in the freezer? I made up three containers, one with water, one with oil and one with molasses and I placed them in the freezer. Every 1/2 hour (up till 2 hours and then once again over night),  I would go and check on the liquids to see what state of freezing they were in. The water froze in 2 hours, the oil never froze but got cloudy and the molasses never froze either, but became so vicious that it could not pour. After leaving the liquids over night, the oil became hard like a cake of butter and the molasses was like tar, but after 1/2 hour of being out of the freezer, all liquids had returned to their original liquid state.

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ImageThe yoga portion of the class had us first sequencing poses that flow: * I made up some rhymes to go along with the flows. 1. I am water (Mountain Pose) 2. The weather is fair  (Up Mountain-hands above head, palms touching, like an umbrella) 3. Watch me turn into the air (Jump out to Star Pose-taking up space and “air”). 1. I am water  (Warrior I) 2. I am free (Warrior II) 3. Watch me flow into the sea (Warrior III) 1. I am water (Downward Facing Dog Pose) 2. It’s so nice (Hands and Knees Table Top Pose) 3. Watch me turn into some ice (Child’s Pose). 

* Freeze Yoga Dance: I played the Song “Happy” by Pharrell, which I know is an anthem at this time and it has a nice message and appropriate lyrics. First we went through the poses that we knew…so at each music stop, I would call out “Freeze into “one of the poses” and all the kids took the same one together, then for the last few times, it was a free for all and at the music stops, they could take any pose they wanted to.

Day Four: Wrap Up and ¡Ole Namaste!:

My final experiments checked out the “freezability” of water and oil, water and molasses and finally water , oil and molasses. These were the final three question from the students. Will they freeze if combined? Well the results are in…when combined, the liquids separate and then freeze and coagulate in layers.

This final session will not be a science tie-in, instead it will be a class of yoga combined with dance, flamenco, a mixing that I call ¡Ole Namaste! which is on the cutting edge of the global yoga and dance trend infusing the movements, breath-work and meditation of yoga with the music and dance of flamenco. The students had a body stretching, breath enhancing, mind relaxing, hand clapping good time! In this fun, upbeat yoga class, that is infused with the music and dance of flamenco, students absorbed the dramatic postures and colorful flavor of flamenco while exploring yoga poses, philosophy, breath work and meditation.

My take away from this enriching experience is how important kinesthetic, or body-based, teaching methods can be in reaching students , particularly those with special needs. For all students K-12, body-based teaching is a way to reproduce curricular content and is a widely accessible step to cultivate critical thinking skills. Not only that, kinesthetic based teaching is fun to incorporate into the classroom, offering a connection to social and emotional intelligence standards as well. Kinesthetic methods have the power to inspire both individual and whole-class attention and energy levels and mental states and can assist in memory retention. By incorporating yoga into the 2nd grade science curriculum, I was able to focus, unify, and both calm down and energize students and to reach those for whom kinesthetic intelligence is a strength. This was a fun experience and enriching for myself, the teachers, Megan Powers and Karma Paoletti,  the students and the whole Baldwin community. Three cheers to the Maria Baldwin School in Cambridge, MA!  Big shout out to Nicholas Leonardos, Principal,  for his dedication to his school! And to Erica Sigal, Coordinator of Dance in the Schools.