GrandparentNovember 16, 2012

“This is Mila’s grammy…just writing to say thanks again and how much I loved sitting in on the Creative Movement class a couple of weeks ago while I was visiting Austin.  I was so impressed with the way you integrated the first steps of ballet in to the creative movement environment.  It was lovely to see the little girls so energized AND so engaged at the same time.

As I mentioned to you that day, I think your approach fills a void in the lives of children today.  While visiting in Austin, I observed soccer practice, gymnastics, and preschool activities.  None of the other activities provide the intense and thoughtful approach to learning that I saw in your creative movement class.   The method you use to keep the girls’ attention and to keep them engaged is what I found so interesting and different.  At Soccer and gymnastics, the “coaching” is all about keeping the voice/energy higher than the children’s, running them to exhaustion, and making it fun, FUN, FUN!  At school, it’s also about moving quickly from one activity to another so that the attention span is never violated.  But what I saw you do was to take a skill and break it into small pieces/activities and then make each activity interesting in and of itself.  That attention to detail, disassembly of skill steps, and the use of one skill to build a platform for the next skill was wonderful to watch.  When I told you that I thought what you were doing was unique, it was because of this approach which is more about focus and skill “mastery” than it is about moving from activity to activity before the children become restless and/or trying to click off a long list of activities during a class.

The thought you put into contextualizing the skill activities was not lost on me.  With Halloween looming large on the horizon later that week, the idea of the first position arm practice mimicking a huge Halloween basket immediately grabbed the girls’ attention. Using the Itsy Bitsy Spider song to practice dancing on different levels really caught them again.  Frankly, the fact that Mila was able to stay focused on you and the class with me sitting in the room was the ultimate testimony to the level of engagement you achieved.   Everything you did that day drew on the natural excitement and energy the girls were enjoying on the eve of the holiday.  You used their energy instead of letting it distract them!

I hope Mila will continue to enjoy her time with you.  She is definitely a techie-child who loves the computer and TV, but to have meaningful physical movement in her life is a counterbalance that will always serve her well-being.  Thanks for all you do to make creative movement fun while still teaching skills and techniques that will be useful later if Mila continues in to ballet classes.”   Karen Klammer