MABOU: “If Theses Shoes Could Talk” is the theme of this year’s dance season with Dance Debut.
Michelle Greenwell is entering her 32nd season of celebrating dance with others, and it has been quite the summer of learning in preparation for this season.
In March of 2019 Michelle was able to achieve her Masters of Science in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, based on the use of movement to heal the body, and she was able to share and learn through her dance and Tai Chi students over the last five years. The May show was to a sell-out audience who watched “Dance is a Natural Thing.”
“It is an exciting time to be preparing for the season,” Greenwell said. “The dance warmup shared with dancers last year was received with excitement by dance educators from around the world when I presented its details to dance educators and scientists in New York City in June.”
This was a true dream come true for Greenwell as she has learned technique and support for dancers to achieve the right education to be safe and strong when they dance.
“The Forever Dance we created last season will be presented with the 5 Element Theory from Chinese Medicine in October in Montreal, when I present to another group of international dance scientists,” explains Greenwell.
For the dancers this season, it will be a jam-packed year of exploration and personal skill development. In the 2019-2020 season Greenwell will be exploring dance with three themes: The first is called “If These Shoes Could Talk,” where dancers involved in all the programs are asked to find a pair of shoes that have a story. They might be baby shoes, shoes from a Grandparent, shoes from a relative who did something interesting, a work shoe, it is up to the dancer.
“You can have a picture of the shoe, take a picture with the shoe, draw or paint a picture of the shoe and have it ready for our special program beginning the second week of January, after our fall activities have introduced other ideas,” Greenwell said. “This will be a part of the recital theme this year, and pictures and stories will be compiled as part of the choreographies.”
Another theme is “Ballet stories.” On Tuesday, April 14, the Jorgen Ballet will be coming to Strathspey Place for a special showing of Anne of Green Gables: The Ballet. In preparation for this special event, the theatre is working on a special package for the dance students.
“One of the dancers in the company was trained by my childhood dance friend, Rhonda Gillrie of Danceology in Stettler, Alberta,” Greenwell explained. “We will be pairing with her studio to celebrate what it is like to be a professional ballerina on tour, and will exchange with her studio, as well as gather stories of this special ballerina, before she arrives for our performance.”
Tied into the shoe theme, dancers will have the opportunity to have their shoes signed by famous ballet dancers, creating more “lucky shoes” with special signatures on the bottom. Last year two of the dancers retired their ballet shoes with all the ballerina signatures that they were able to get on their shoes from another local ballet performance.
What stories will dancers celebrate this fall?
“I have collected a whole section of music on ‘Stories for the Ballet on Spotify,’ you can find my list under Michelle Greenwell. You can listen to some of your favorite stories and hear classical music entwined with these recordings.”
The dancers will be using similar music for their dance training this season. Another theme for the year is “Dancing from your Roots” which provides dancers with a chance to build their own choreographies. This year will feature time spent on the elements of choreography; the story that is portrayed through dance, and the skills of technical development that can lead to a strong performance.
Each month will have a different theme that will focus on learning about muscles, flexibility, strength and power. Dance Debut will be using special music, movement and props to create personalized approaches to dance that the dancers can build and explore at home.
Sounds like a full year of learning, doesn’t it? Greenwell has started her doctoral studies at Akamai University to continue to develop and share techniques for dancers that provide self-care and resilience for all the activities that they may decide to pursue.
Her adult programs will also be exploring these similar concepts within a framework for adults to use. This includes a dance program for adults and a special program for self-care called “QiYINtegration: A Movement Journey.” Over the last three years this program has been developing and evolving. The material within represents a broad scope of subjects to assist in easy movement, understanding wellness challenges, creating programs for practice at home, and developing the skill to achieve BioEnergetic Feedback from the body to meet its needs going forward. This new program will provide background on what posture, movement and action share about the challenges in the body. It will include handouts, personal observations, activities to do at home, and special movement choreographies that are a cross between dance and Tai Chi. Beginners are welcome and returning students are asked to gather their notes. Participants can wear something easy to move in and socks or flat shoes on the feet.
For more information about the dance programs, Tai Chi, or Wellness programs, Greenwell can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 902-945-2967.