A Peek into Swansea School of Dance

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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
Artistic Director
Swansea School of Dance

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