Cleaning out your childhood room during COVID lockdown might bring you unexpected surprises as ballet teacher Natalie Williams discovered earlier this year.
She found a dance diary she had kept at a winter dance school she attended in Mudgee and decided it was a perfect activity to start with her students at Parkes School of Dance.
It was really tough for the students when classes were cancelled, but with a micro grant from Arts OutWest, Natalie was able to launch her idea and give her students a new sense of commitment during lockdown.
“The dance diaries have helped and will continue to help our dancers to maintain their passion for dance,” said Natalie. “During lock down, all of our students missed dancing in the studio with their friends and teachers.”
The students are still using the diaries as journals to record anything to do with dance from photos, information, to questions and explanations.
“My dance diary helps me remember things to practice and do at home,” said Jemma Underwood, who does Royal Academy of Dance Grade 5 Ballet and Junior Contemporary dance.
For senior student Sophie McQuie the diary is a good representation of what she has learned. “When I’m not at dance during the week, I’ve been able to write questions and points down so that I can ask and talk about them in class. Things like effacé positions, and our intentions for each class. I’ve kept feedback from teachers and have enjoyed researching particular dancers,” said Sophie, who attends Royal Academy of Dance Advanced One, Repertoire, Senior jazz and senior contemporary classes, as well as private lessons for solos.
Natalie said she was surprised by how engaged the students wanted to be with the diaries. “We are definitely keeping them for next year too.”
By Maggi Barnard