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A Combination Foundation

The original course developed for ConnectEd dancers is the creative combination class. It is our bread and butter, the foundation of the programme.

This course began it’s development over 5 years. I had the opportunity to develop a recreational dance programme for the local community centre and took great care to develop a course that would give dancers a strong but wide base to dance or play sport from. This programme changed through experience and research over time. I studied creative dance practitioners in New Zealand through my masters degree and gained valuable knowledge to once again apply to the programme. When my time at the community centre ended it was time to develop my dream dance programme in directions that took the best of what I was already doing while adding in goals I could now make happen with no limitation. The combination of styles is one of those best things I kept with me. I’ll keep it forever. I believe in it that much.

So why a combination?

Known by dancers in many areas of the world as the “combo” the combination class gives young children the opportunity to taste the buffet of dance. More importantly it allows dancers the opportunity to simply move, in all sorts of ways, to a variety of music for the purpose of enjoyment, physical activity, and personal expression. A wonderful way to be introduced to dance.

Children gain a love for dance!

It supports the goals of dance education to extend experience and knowledge beyond dance training. Supporting children to have experience dance in a variety of contexts, with styles that have different historical and cultural backgrounds.

Children have the opportunity to identify how they enjoy moving, how they want to express themselves moving forward.

Children may experience struggle with some styles, and ease with another. Likewise, will enjoy some styles more than others. This builds up resilience, patience, work ethic and respect for all styles. It also helps ensure dancers don’t quit too early just because the first style they tried wasn’t a compatible fit.

Combination classes introduce a wide range of skills that support the teaching of dance element concepts. All ways to move are promoted and used to teach the elements of dance. A tap unit can clearly help dancers understand complex rhythm, for example. A contemporary roll can help illustrate what a low, rounded, ball shape feels like. A partnered folk dance teaches us how to move around, counterweight, and mirror our partner. It is through the dance element concepts children learn to understand body movement. Once this has been experienced in a variety of ways to reinforce the concept the dancers can apply these skills to specific genre training, making them a more controlled and expressive artist.

Likewise, the variety of musical experiences develop music element concept understanding.

Our combination classes use ballet, jazz, and contemporary as the base styles to teach dancers safe alignment, develop coordination and creativity. Basic terminology and technique crosses over all three styles. Additional styles such as hip hop, rhythmic footwork, folk dances are experienced within mini units introduced occasionally where they support dance elements, term theme, or showcase theme/storylines.

To those interested in trying out dance, come along and try out this introduction to the marvelous world of dance!


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