For as long as I can remember I have wanted to dance, and teach dance. To be able to share my love of dance with young dancers is really a fantastic job.
15 years ago, after years of teaching at various studios in Toronto and the surrounding area, I started teaching dance classes in the neighborhood of Swansea, and very quickly Swansea School of Dance (SSOD) was born. We are a dance school with a strong focus on community. Our students often have the privilege to perform at community events such as the Dorothy Ley Hospice Bed Race, St. Joe’s Halloween Fest, plus many more. Although a career in professional dance is not for everyone, we aim to provide a positive environment where children can experience performance, team spirit, and pride. It is our hope as a school that each student, no matter what path they choose to follow, will have a positive dance experience with us. Over the past 15 years the school has grown in virtually every aspect of its operation: Pre-School programming for children age 2 – 4yrs; classes in a variety of dance forms including ballet, jazz, tap, modern, hip hop, and musical theatre; and a number of adult classes for both beginner and advanced movers.
Last summer, when I attended the American Ballet Theatre Teachers Certification Course, the benefits of dance were laid out in black and white. Right there before me was proof of what I have experienced so many times in over 20 years of teaching, and a lifetime of dancing. Participating in dance classes can be beneficial for children of all ages:
“Those who dance learn such discipline and tend to be quite organized, do better in math, experience improved physical health, and self-esteem.” – ABT National Training Curriculum.
I have been very fortunate to attend multiple teachers courses throughout North America and learn from some of the most talented teachers. I graduated from the University of Waterloo Dance Department, I am a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dancing, I hold an Associate Teacher Certificate with the Society of Russian Ballet, and I am an ABT® Certified Teacher in Pre-Primary through Level 3. I have also studied with Marcia Dale Weary from the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and over the past 15 years I have taken several courses with the world renowned teachers of the National Ballet School here in Toronto.
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge” – Charles M. Dickinson
At Swansea School of Dance we aim to teach the individual. This is not an easy task, but it’s a challenge we take on with each student that comes through our doors. Dance offers a multi-sensory approach to learning where students are stimulated by sound, sight, and their moving bodies simultaneously. This provides an accessible experience for all types of learners, and our teachers utilize a variety of approaches to offer a doorway in for each student.
The concept of community and a positive dance experience is not exclusive to dance classes for children. At Swansea School of Dance we also offer classes for adults that offer these same ideas. Among the options of Adult Ballet, Adult Tap and Adult Modern, one of the adult classes that runs out of SSOD is Zumba.
You’ve probably heard of Zumba, but you might still be wondering: what is it? Zumba is a dance party, a fitness class, and a great cardio workout. The Zumba program fuses Latin and International rhythms with easy-to-follow moves to create a one-of-a-kind fitness class. It is not your typical aerobics class! Through interval training provided by fast and slow rhythms, you will get an amazing cardio workout – but it won’t feel like work.
Our Zumba classes at SSOD are taught by Catherine Murray. As a dancer, a choreographer, and a CanFitPro certified Fitness Instructor, Catherine is always looking for a workout that captures her attention and interest. Zumba is an amazing combination of dance and fitness. The music makes you want to dance, the steps have lots of variety, and the energy in the class is so much fun.
“Zumba has become my favourite way to achieve a great cardio workout! Catherine’s enthusiasm and dance experience makes her Zumba classes feel like an hour of fun, dancing to great music. My energy levels have improved with Zumba, plus it’s a great reason to get out with friends!” – Anna
The best thing about this class is that it works for everyone. Whether you are already achieving your fitness goals, just starting out, or getting back into the swing of things, Zumba will work for you. The class is designed for you to go at your own pace. You can pump the intensity up, or you can take it down as you need to. There are no levels, there is no judgement. It’s just about dancing and having a good time.
The format of the class is similar to a traditional aerobics class including a proper warm up, cool down, and a stretch at the end – but this class is exercise in disguise. For the bulk of the class you simply follow along, and this means even first-timers get a great workout. You’ll find that after a couple of classes the steps become more natural and you can anticipate what’s coming next based on Catherine’s hand signals (plus a few whoops and cheers to help you along!).
“I was so relieved to discover Zumba after sampling just about every other workout regime out there. It’s just what I’ve always dreamed of – a challenge for the mind and body that’s really, really fun. I love how the routines are just long enough to really master them so you feel like a pro doing them, but not too long that they get repetitive. The class is always fresh and there are always new challenges being thrown your way. Music is such a motivator and the Zumba mix is always kicking things up energy-wise. Hey, I love Zumba so much I kept going to class until I was 38 weeks pregnant! In other words, I give Zumba a big ‘woot woot!!” – Hayley
The Zumba community values inclusiveness, individuality, expression, health, and well being which goes hand-in-hand with the philosophy of Swansea School of Dance. It is a
class designed for everybody and every body. Zumba class is a space for you to do something great for yourself – and enjoy it! Come and experience the #zumbalove.
Registration is now open for SSOD’s fall programs. More information on our classes can be found at www.swanseaschoolofdance.com. Information on Zumba classes can be found at www.catherinemurray.zumba.com. New families are always welcome to book a visit to our studios and even do a trial class. Please contact us to schedule your visit. We look forward to meeting you!
Michelle De Brouwer
Swansea School of Dance