The students at Move This! Dance Studio will be holding a Muppet-themed annual year-end show on June 3 at Isabelle Reader Theatre in Langford.
All of the studio’s 58 dancers, aged from three to 15, will be performing valuable skills learned throughout the course of the season, which started in September.
“Every class performs a routine,” said Move This! Dance Studio artistic director and founder, Niki Martin. “It’s a variety type show inspired by the Muppets.”
Martin, 39, has been a life-long dancer, starting at the young age of three. Throughout the course of her career, Martin was trained in critical environments where students were encouraged to mimic techniques rather then find a creative outlet. Under these rigid forms of instruction, Martin found her creativity and performances suffered.
“Growing up dancing, I’m all of 5’2”, and I just had all of those typical negative messages given to me. I was too short, I was too fat, I wasn’t flexible enough, I didn’t turn fast enough or jump high enough,” Martin said.
A message she did not want to pass onto her students.
“I don’t believe that’s true learning, especially in an art form where it is creative and expressive. I think it has to come from the students.”
In 2009, Martin encountered BrainDance, a form of “brain compatible dance education,” under the guidance of Seattle-based dance instructor Anne Green-Gilbert.
Green-Gilbert is the creator of BrainDance, which utilizes the eight fundamental movement patterns humans learn during their first year of life when laid on their stomachs or backs.
According to Green-Gilbert’s website, the repetitious cycling of the eight stages when sitting or standing may help with the reorganization of the central nervous system, filling missing gaps in the neurological system that may have occurred from trauma, illness or lack of developmental movement during infancy.
“They’re actually the movement patterns that hardwire our brain development,” Martin said. “So when they’re done intentionally and sequentially they literally change the hard wiring of our brain.”
BrainDance holds the philosophy that students learn best when they experience something themselves.
Under this training, Martin saw herself grow and improve. She has since taken Green-Gilbert’s methodology and incorporated it into her own classes, giving students a liberal approach to dance.
Each class begins with a BrainDance session, where students are encouraged to move only certain parts of their body like the lower half or spine.
“I let them do it in a very free way and I just tell them the patterns,” she said, adding the exercise is illuminating on the strengths and weakness of students.
“Unlike typical dance studios where the teacher is giving all the moves and saying, ‘Look like me’ there’s a lot of time given in class where students create their own choreography.”
The show begins at 2 p.m. and tickets are $12. Tickets can be purchased at The Stick in the Mud.