Grades 1-12, Dance, Irish Step
DISCIPLINE // Dance (Irish Step)
BIO //Rhian grew up dancing at a studio in Seattle that trains older dancers to teach and mentor based on a specific philosophy, with an emphasis on spacial and body awareness as well as positive body image. She began dancing at age 4 and started Irish Step at age 7. She began teaching at her studio while in high school. Rhian also taught music lessons to elementary students while in high school. These lessons were more individualized, and required assessment of the student’s abilities to create specific lessons. While in college in Washington D.C., Rhian taught at a literacy program which required a great amount of classroom management as it was an after school program. Upon returning to her hometown of Seattle, she began teaching at an Irish dance school with one of her former teachers. This involved planning and leading warm-ups, stretches, and strength work as well as creating steps to teach students each week. Because each class was quite small, she was able to focus on individual technique with each dancer. Since moving to Missoula in Februrary of 2019 Rhian has begun to teach with the Missoula Irish Dancers.
TEACHING PHILOSOPHY //I believe that every BODY can dance. I grew up in studio that strives not only to teach dance steps, choreography, and technique but to teach their students how to collaborate, to judge only their own effort, and not compare themselves to others or assume that they can’t dance because they have a specific body type, gender, or ability. Learning to dance is not only about getting the steps right but learning how to be spatially aware of yourself and others. In Irish step, it is common to dance in straight lines or specific figures. This requires students to understand not only where they are in the dance space, but also to the people next to them. If they are going faster than their line, they need to slow down. Another fundamental aspect of learning to dance is to be aware of your own body. I start every session with a Brain Dance. This technique was developed by Anne Green Gilbert and has eight fundamental human movements that stimulate the central nervous system. (Breathing, tactile, core-distal, head-tail, upper-lower body, right and left side, cross-lateral, and vestibular). We learn all these movements as babies but each movement can be adapted to any age-group including adults! Finally, I believe dance is an incredibly powerful art form that has the added benefit of exercise and getting children to move their bodies in ways they are not used to.
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION //My plan is to have three sessions or classes preferably during the school day. There are three fundamental Irish steps (hop step together, change two threes, and sevens). Every session would start with a Brain Dance warm-up, a review of previously learned steps (if applicable), and the instruction of one new step. We would use these steps to either create our own dances, play a game, or learn a figure dance (which is essentially the Irish form of square dancing). The direction of where we take these fundamental steps would depend on the teacher’s goals for their classroom and learning targets. Once we have learned the fundamental Irish steps it is easy to transfer them to many different activities. I would suggest half hour sessions for younger children and longer 45min-1 hour sessions for older children in grades 5 and above.
CONTACT INFORMATION // (206) 491-0193, firstname.lastname@example.org