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Breath-Stretch-Dance 6 week series 4, 2018

Saturday afternoons 2:00pm - 4:00pm, commencing 29 September – to November 3rd (6 weeks).

$30 for a single 2 hour session
$140 for all six sessions in advance (saving $40), if paid by the first class


Erskinville Anglican Church Hall
55 Erskinville Rd (photos below)
3 minutes walk from Erskinville train station

RSVP and Payment:
Please contact to RSVP for the series, and payment options will be sent to you then.

Notes on the series:

What do the Breath-Stretch-Dance sessions consist of?
Each 2 hour session incorporates floor-based and fall and recovery methods of moving, derived from several contemporary dance disciplines Dean has had extensive experience in over the course of his 28 year dance career.

He has combined these with many of his own developed movement research interests, generated through his eclectic choreographic, dance and teaching practices.

The methods within these sessions aim to assist participants in acquiring flexibility and a greater awareness of the role key elements play in dance – gravity, space, release and breath 'cycling' (continual flow). These help in posture alignment, spinal and pelvic movement awareness and promote our body-mind memory development through sequential phrasing over an extended, rather than rushed, time frame.

Dean is also an avid scuba and free-diver and has been teaching yoga-based stretch classes since the mid 1990’s. We initially move through a series of breathing techniques derived from scuba, free (breath held) diving, as well as focusing on a couple of the Pranayama techniques from yoga. We then apply these techniques to basic yoga-inspired movement sequencing - Vinyasan-inspired. Some partner work – assisting, observing – is also facilitated until we feel warmer and more connected to breathing whilst moving.

We then move into dancing blind-folded (minded by others), applying the breath-cycling to this as much as we can to quieten our mind by focusing inwards as opposed to feeling self-conscious of any need to “perform” for or design ourselves for others observing.

Next Dean choreographs a soft and flowing movement sequence, bringing awareness to our body’s fluids, skeletal alignment, and learning through repetition and confidence. This sequence is progressively developed into a larger passage of movement. Aspects of each sequence are carried over to the following week accumulating material that is explored in an open dance jam in the last hour of the 5th week.

The background on why this class was originally developed:

The Breath-Stretch-Dance series accommodates diversity in a sensitive and safe environment. It caters for everyBODY from those with no interest in the arts through to professional dancers, and every neurological, physiological and cultural diversity in between.

Dean first developed this class in 2001 when he was working with at-risk traumatised youth from abusive and domestic violence-ridden childhoods. He formulated these classes as a means to help make them feel more included in creative self expression and to help them find better methods of breath control associated with movement. He also wanted to find a way that contemporary dance and body awareness practices (stretch / yoga / Alexander Technique), could intersperse creatively for people with limited or no dance training, as well as those with professional level experience.

Some members of the wider community have not had exposure to arts culture due to the level of disruption in their lives or the social class within which they were born. Exposure to violence and violation have led many on a pathway engulfed in emotional and/or psychological pain, with serious mental health issues.

Dean knows the debilitating effects of prolonged childhood trauma first hand and didn’t himself find dance until he was 20. He believes dance should be available to everyBODY, and as such, decided to set up a class structure that could be more considerate of these formative domestic, and later social hurdles some people endure and have to work hard to overcome.  

Since 2001 he has moved his dance practice into working with people within the disability community, also too often misunderstood, sidelined or left out completely in terms of their access to professional arts practitioners or even the potential for them considering seeking a pathway towards a professional performing arts career themselves.

The class is also aimed for people who don’t identify as living with disability and/or having complex trauma/mental health issues, but have little exposure to contemporary dance, breath awareness and creative physical play/composition methodologies. In this sense, these classes help promote an understanding that we are all creative at our core and can participate in dance - especially with its focus on developing flexibility, spatial awareness and better breath capacity.

Mixing experienced dancers with those as yet untrained also enables a synergistic learning environment that encourages, rather than discourages, an interest in dance beyond only engaging in it as a professional performance form or even as only an audience member.

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