Diana Ford https://dianaford.com Dance Teacher, Choreographer, & Coach Fri, 17 Aug 2018 23:53:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4 https://dianaford.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/dianaford_site_icon-150x150.jpg Diana Ford https://dianaford.com 32 32 It’s Summer! Part 2 https://dianaford.com/its-summer-part-2/ https://dianaford.com/its-summer-part-2/#respond Fri, 17 Aug 2018 23:53:59 +0000 https://dianaford.com/?p=7299 This summer has flown by! I truly enjoyed meeting so many awesome dancers and teaching them at different intensives throughout South Florida. The second half of my summer took me to Mady’s Dance Factory, where I taught two modern dance workshops and met some amazing movers. I also enjoyed the performances the dancers from DCDA […]]]>

This summer has flown by! I truly enjoyed meeting so many awesome dancers and teaching them at different intensives throughout South Florida.

The second half of my summer took me to Mady’s Dance Factory, where I taught two modern dance workshops and met some amazing movers. I also enjoyed the performances the dancers from DCDA gave of the pieces I choreographed earlier this summer. Their awards banquet was a huge success! I attended our quarterly board of directors meeting for Miami Dance Hub, and we worked on some events that will be coming up soon. They’re very exciting, so stay tuned for those coming soon! Then I taught at Miami Dancity Studios, and even had the pleasure of choreographing solos for two beautiful dancers I’ve known for quite some time. It was very special to work with them; one beginning her dance track and one about to end it, this being her senior year.

After those adventures, I taught at the TAME summer intensive, and really enjoyed the way the dancers really ate up the space in the movements they learned! I then headed over to Dance Attack‘s summer intensive and worked with two groups there who gave it their all in both classes. My last week before going back to school I had the pleasure of teaching the dancers at Just Dance It, as well as the dancers at the Performance Edge Dance Complex summer intensive. I had an amazing time at both studios, and enjoyed the different energies each group brought to the dance floor.

A special THANK YOU to all the studio directors and teachers who invited me to join you this summer; it was a real treat to meet so many wonderful artists who care so much about their art form.

On another note, I recently started privately coaching a dancer in Progressing Ballet Technique. These private lessons are proving to be very rewarding for both of us as I see her mind grow, her smile widen, and her body understand and transform…what a great feeling! I also said goodbye (for now) to a former student who is off to the big apple to pursue her professional dance career, and I wish her the very best on this new journey. I’ll be waiting for my comp tickets!

I’ve been back at school this week, getting ready for the first day next week. I can’t wait to meet our new MAC dancers, and welcome back our returning artists. I really did miss everyone and I’m so excited for all the great opportunities we have lined up for them this year! From master classes to field trips and performance opportunities, we will try to make this their best year yet! I’m very humbled to begin this year as the dance department director, and hope to make my mentor proud as I continue her vision and mission for this unique, multi-faceted dance program.

Check out a little recap video below with moments from these past few weeks, and stay tuned for my next post! Remember to follow me on FB, IG, YT, or TW for more pictures and videos of my adventures!

Contact me for classes, choreography, and coaching opportunities, I’d love to work with you!

xoxo,

–  DF

 

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It’s Summer! Part 1 https://dianaford.com/its-summer-part-1/ https://dianaford.com/its-summer-part-1/#respond Mon, 25 Jun 2018 18:54:45 +0000 https://dianaford.com/?p=7267 Summer is here, and there are so many things I’ve been up to lately! Here’s a quick recap: Towards the end of the school year, it was decided that Valerie would accept a position as an assistant principal for the arts within the MAC family, working closely with both campuses, so I was promoted to […]]]>

Summer is here, and there are so many things I’ve been up to lately! Here’s a quick recap:

Towards the end of the school year, it was decided that Valerie would accept a position as an assistant principal for the arts within the MAC family, working closely with both campuses, so I was promoted to dance department director at MAC. I’m humbled and excited for all the good things to come, and have already started working with her and our new assistant director, Teddy Talbot, to ensure a smooth transition and a great future for our dancers. It’s going to be great!

We finished off the school year with several guest teachers and even a lecture by amazing physiatrist specializing in treating dancers Kathleen Davenport, who spoke to our dancers about injury prevention and treatment. Our dancers really enjoyed the variety of styles they danced in the last weeks of school, and the small party we put together for the high school dancers to celebrate our graduating seniors was a great way to wrap up a successful year. During that time, I was featured on Voyage MIA Magazine in their Most Inspiring Stories section, where I talk a little more about my journey and what I’m up to. Right after that, we held our MAC Dance Wynwood Summer Intensive, where dancers participating had the opportunity to take class from several guest teachers and work on improving their technique in several dance styles. I really enjoyed two weeks of intense work with them, and wish them the very best in the remainder of their training this summer. In between those two weeks, I attended a certification training session for Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) in Tallahassee with Megan Berlint-Nicko, and learned so much about this new method to help dancers enhance their ballet technique! I loved every minute of it and am really looking forward to incorporating the method to all of my classes as a licensed and certified teacher in all three levels of PBT. I highly recommend the course for all dance educators looking to help their dancers really master muscle awareness and proper execution in ballet technique.

This week I will be teaching and choreographing at DCDA‘s summer intensive, creating short snippets of work for their end-of-the-year awards banquet. I’m really looking forward to working with these dancers and hope we learn from each other during out time together! After this week, I’ll have a little time to myself before teaching at more summer intensives. I plan on really taking the time to recharge the batteries, and enjoy a little summer fun before it’s time to get to work again. I’ll keep you all posted on my whereabouts via social media! Stay tuned, and check out my YouTube channel soon for uploads of some of my work from this season. In the meantime, enjoy some pictures of my latest adventures, clips from MAC Dance Wynwood’s summer intensives, and check my IG for more updates!

For classes, coaching, and choreography opportunities, contact me!

xoxo,

DF

 

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Spring Shenanigans! https://dianaford.com/spring-shenanigans/ https://dianaford.com/spring-shenanigans/#respond Sat, 14 Apr 2018 23:14:58 +0000 https://dianaford.com/?p=7211 Hi Everyone! I know I missed posting last month, but I was so busy that I didn’t have the time to. I will definitely do my best to bring you all up to speed on my crazy exciting life! The last time we connected, I had just returned from the FDPA in St. Petersburg and […]]]>

Hi Everyone! I know I missed posting last month, but I was so busy that I didn’t have the time to. I will definitely do my best to bring you all up to speed on my crazy exciting life!

The last time we connected, I had just returned from the FDPA in St. Petersburg and was getting ready to fly out to the National High School Dance Festival at Point Park University with some of the MAC dancers. We spent four cold days doing what we love: dancing, watching dance, and learning about dance, not to mention all the opportunities these dancers were afforded while we were on our trip! Several dancers auditioned for college and summer programs abroad. Guess what? All of them were offered multiple acceptances and scholarships to programs all over the US, and even Europe! I was over the moon happy and proud of them. It was a weekend full of new and exciting experiences for all of them, as well as an opportunity for all of us to bond and grow a little closer.

We returned from our trip and began our time crunch for our biggest performance of the year at MAC, our Spring Dance Concert. From the youngest to the oldest, all of the dancers really gave it their all and worked very hard with their teachers, adjunct faculty, and guest choreographers to put their very best performances on stage. Valerie and I had to make sure choreography was finished and rehearsals were compete before everyone left for Spring Break vacation because we knew it’d be a crazy performance week when we returned. Over the break, my hubby and I spent some quality time together at the happiest place on Earth, running around chasing fast passes to ride all of the roller coasters. We ended up needing a break from our break, but I’m glad we were able to disconnect for a few days and recharge and prepare for the following weeks.

Remember the part where Valerie and I predicted show week coming back from Spring Break would be crazy? Well, it’s safe to say we were right! We worked tirelessly from the moment we returned to make sure the dancers all had enough rehearsal time, and all preparations were in place for the performances. Needless to say, our dancers all pulled through and delivered one of the best Spring Concerts I’ve experienced. We were extremely proud of them and the maturity and grace they displayed in every single piece. Our audiences loved the performances as well; we’re still receiving great feedback from audience members! This week we’ve been getting back in shape with conditioning classes, and some fun contemporary and jazz classes at the end of the week as a small dance treat to celebrate a great weekend.

Fast forward to the present: I’m sitting here at home completing work for some online courses I’m taking to complete my professional teaching certification. I’m in the middle of my temporary certificate, and I want to make sure I finish all my requirements with enough time to relax and wait for the professional certificate in the mail at ease, with a smile on my face. It’s been tough juggling it all, but I feel that the more I grow, the more my dancers will develop as artists, so I’m happy to continue doing all of it. The more teachers know, the more their students will grow!

I was off at Showstopper Studios teaching some ballet classes a few weeks ago, and I’m currently planning my summer schedule all over town…I hope I can work with some of you soon! If you would be interested in taking my classes, feel free to reach out to me via email or social media so we can keep in touch! I’m looking forward to having more opportunities to move and groove with all of you soon! I’m adding some pictures and videos below of the past two months so you can join in on the fun. Follow me on social media and subscribe to my Youtube channel so you can catch all of my latest adventures!

Can’t wait to connect with you all!

xoxo,

–  DF

 

 

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Step Out of the Comfort Zone https://dianaford.com/step-out-of-the-comfort-zone/ https://dianaford.com/step-out-of-the-comfort-zone/#respond Tue, 27 Feb 2018 01:19:49 +0000 https://dianaford.com/?p=7191 So….the last time I posted I wrote all about inspiration and motivation. In essence, reminders for personal growth and achievement. This time, I want to share with you all how I was able to grow in so many ways by stepping out of my comfort zone this month! Here’s a short synopsis of my adventures […]]]>

So….the last time I posted I wrote all about inspiration and motivation. In essence, reminders for personal growth and achievement. This time, I want to share with you all how I was able to grow in so many ways by stepping out of my comfort zone this month! Here’s a short synopsis of my adventures over the past few weeks, and how I want to continue to push forward believing that there is always more than meets the eye:

In the beginning of the month I accompanied the Miami Arts Charter School dancers on a trip to St. Petersburg to partake in the Florida Dance Performance Assessment. I choreographed two pieces for them to submit during the assessment, and then perform at night in the dance concert for the National Honor Society for Dance Arts. This was my second time attending the assessment, and it has proven again to be a wonderful tool for our dancers to learn more about themselves and each other. It was a very rewarding experience as a teacher and choreographer to see our dancers thrive in their element, growing right before our eyes as they took corrections from their adjudicators and applied those during their performance that very evening. It was a proud moment I’ll fondly remember. It’s a great feeling to create work that dancers feel a part of and can relate to, bringing it to life. I was moved and inspired by these young artists to continue pushing my own boundaries as well as their own. A special treat while the dancers enjoyed their workshop classes was a workshop for teachers led by the one and only Tina Santos. I had already enjoyed her lecture during the FDEO conference back in 2017, so this ballet pedagogy workshop which continued to elaborate on several of the concepts we covered the last time we met was an enlightening refresher for all of the teachers who attended.

The following week I attended Universal Ballet Competition with one of my students. As her coach, watching and helping her in rehearsals for hours on end, I was already proud of her progress. However, this event really made my heart swell with joy at the sight of her happiness in the realization of her progress. Sometimes public acknowledgement can be nice, but that feeling of accomplishment after exiting the stage knowing you gave it your all is a feeling that can’t be compared. I also spent some time with fellow teachers, and reconnected with old friends and colleagues, which was nice to do when you’re always busy running around.

I ended the month by judging a dance competition, my very first in the competitive dance industry. I’d judged events before, mostly in educational settings for district performances. I was a little hesitant and, I’ll admit: nervous. Although I’ve attended more than my fair share of dance competitions in my career, as both a dancer and teacher, I’d never had the opportunity to sit behind the table and see everything from a different perspective. I adjudicated dancers at Inspire National Dance Competition in Orlando, Florida this weekend. I arrived the evening before and got a good night’s rest to prepare for all the dancers I’d be watching the next day. In the morning, the competition staff and judges were so kind and helpful that my nerves quickly melted away and I immediately felt ready to go. I was swept away by all the talent and energy the dancers left on the stage all day; it was truly amazing to see things from the other side! After a full day of adjudications, I taught the dancers a fun little latin jazz combination while they waited for their awards ceremony. We had a blast!

And there you have it. A month full of new, exciting, step-out-of-your-comfort-zone weekends where I learned new things, met new friends and reconnected with old, and left feeling more inspired than when I arrived. This coming weekend will be no different, as I embark on a trip to the National High School Dance Festival with the MAC dancers once more. I can’t wait to tell you all about it when we return!

In the meantime, be sure to follow me on social media for sneak peeks and glimpses to my crazy adventures! You can also subscribe to my Youtube channel for fun clips from classes and choreo.

If you’d like to reach me, send me a quick message via my website. Can’t wait to connect with you all!

 

– DF

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“beautiful minds inspire others” https://dianaford.com/beautiful-minds-inspire-others/ https://dianaford.com/beautiful-minds-inspire-others/#respond Mon, 29 Jan 2018 20:30:34 +0000 https://dianaford.com/?p=7166 This month, instead of providing everyone with a recap of my adventures (you can still check them out on my social media accounts, hint hint: FB, Twitter, and IG), I’d like to discuss inspiration, motivation, and the will to persevere in spite of the obstacles we face everyday. I am BY NO MEANS an expert on […]]]>

This month, instead of providing everyone with a recap of my adventures (you can still check them out on my social media accounts, hint hint: FB, Twitter, and IG), I’d like to discuss inspiration, motivation, and the will to persevere in spite of the obstacles we face everyday. I am BY NO MEANS an expert on the matter, but in this first month of 2018 I’d like to lend a few key reminders to help you remember just how amazing ALL OF YOU are. I know you’ve probably heard all of these before, but sometimes it’s nice to get a little “refresher” and think about how we can impact society for the better just by being ourselves.

Don’t just sit there and think about all you could be doing, GO DO IT. I always hear people talking about all the things they wish they could do, the places they could go, the successes they could accomplish…yet the one thing standing in their way is, you guessed it: THEM. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you don’t go out and do it, you’ll always be wondering what life would be like if you had.

If you believe you don’t have the means, or the opportunity to make something happen for yourself, ASK FOR HELP, ADVICE, AND GUIDANCE. Chances are someone out there can either point you in the direction, or guide you there themselves. Success is always waiting for those brave enough to seek it.

SUCCESS TAKES WORK. Will it happen overnight? Probably not. If all of the things we dreamed of were granted to us just by the mere mention of them, then we would not value them the way we do. The best experiences and opportunities in life usually present themselves after a lot of hard work, sweat, tears, and pain. On the same note, these successes are usually the sweetest, because we know deep down just how deserved they are. Work hard, set goals and meet them, then repeat. Every success gets you one step closer to the dream you wish to achieve.

Be proud of your progress. ONLY YOU KNOW HOW FAR YOU’VE COME. Celebrate every little step of your journey, and use it as fuel to propel you into your next adventure. Your strength and your voice determine who you will become. There will be good days, and bad days, and it is up to YOU to take all of those days and make the best of them NO MATTER WHAT.

BE YOURSELF. Never let others determine your character, your strength, or your outlook. There is nothing greater than letting your light shine and showing the world who you really are, proudly, kindly, and brightly.

I’m constantly inspired by everyone I meet, and I look forward to learning about all the amazing things you’re all up to this year.

Sending all my love this month to the dreamers, the doers and the achievers…may you continue to find the motivation and inspiration all around you to gift your light to the world, to make it a better, brighter place for all of us.

– DF

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Goodbye 2017: In Retrospect https://dianaford.com/goodbye-2017-in-retrospect/ https://dianaford.com/goodbye-2017-in-retrospect/#respond Fri, 29 Dec 2017 17:35:28 +0000 https://dianaford.com/?p=7147 It's the end of the calendar year, and we all have our list of resolutions ready to go. There they are: pinned to our dream wall, or jotted down on our to-do list in our planners. Heck, some of us even have them affixed on every corner of every part of our office or work desk...]]>

It’s the end of the calendar year, and we all have our list of resolutions ready to go. There they are: pinned to our dream wall, or jotted down on our to-do list in our planners. Heck, some of us even have them affixed on every corner of every part of our office or work desk…not that I have them; I’m just observing a friend’s desk 😉 While it’s important to plan for the future, and set goals for the next chapter of our lives, sometimes it’s also important to reflect on all of the good — and the bad — that has come our way. Think of it as a chapter summary, to help us realize just how fortunate we are to have surpassed our expectations, or overcome adversities. We should constantly be preparing for the best which, as Frank Sinatra clearly stated: is always yet to come. Here is my quick list of growth and change, as well as the new opportunities I’ll be exploring in 2018…

In 2017 I made a lot of adjustments in my career, and they have all resulted in growth and change; sometimes good, sometimes not so good. Although I miss many of the dancers and fellow teachers I used to work with, I am grateful for the opportunity to work with an entirely different group of dancers, who share the same ambitions and aspirations towards their futures in dance. I have an amazing mentor at work, who I’m lucky to also call my friend, and I have met and shared ideas with many other fellow educators who have helped me expand my views on teaching, coaching, and choreographing. I have branched out and taught a few master classes at different studios, meeting more dancers and even having the opportunity to teach former students once more. I’m coaching young dancers with big dreams, and younger dancers with even bigger dreams, giving me the opportunity to really focus on them when we are together and help them reach their fullest potential.

In the coming year, I wish to reach out even more, and have more opportunities to teach, coach, and choreograph for other studios, programs, and dancers. I also want to make sure the dancers at Miami Arts Charter School have the most nurturing environment for artistic growth we can provide for them. It’s important to me that they continue to train under the best conditions we can provide, and continue learning from as many experienced educators and dance professionals as we can provide them with. It brings me immense joy to pass on all the knowledge I can to all of the dancers I work with, knowing that once they begin professional dance careers, or simply pursue other aspirations they will carry some of those lessons and memories with them, the same way I still carry lessons and memories from my teachers and mentors with me through my career.

My wish for all of you reading this is that the new year brings you the strength and will power to make your dreams a reality, your wishes your truths, and your happiness your priority. All my love and light for a joyous 2018!

xoxo,

 –  DF

P.S. stay tuned for my next adventures so you can join me! In the meantime, enjoy this video recap of the awesome year we all shared together!

 

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Thankful, Grateful, Blessed https://dianaford.com/thankful-grateful-blessed/ https://dianaford.com/thankful-grateful-blessed/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 15:39:36 +0000 https://dianaford.com/?p=7129 It’s Black Friday, and instead of shopping till I drop, I’ll be with my hubby decorating our home for the holidays. To be honest, it seems like a happier way to spend my day than fighting someone for the last whatever-I-wanted-to-get-so-now-I’m-angry-with-the-world-item on sale. 😉 Before I start decorating, I wanted to drop by and just […]]]>

It’s Black Friday, and instead of shopping till I drop, I’ll be with my hubby decorating our home for the holidays. To be honest, it seems like a happier way to spend my day than fighting someone for the last whatever-I-wanted-to-get-so-now-I’m-angry-with-the-world-item on sale. 😉

Before I start decorating, I wanted to drop by and just express my gratitude for all of the good and the not so good this year. I think it’s important to recognize that even those situations or scenarios that at first impact us negatively usually turn out to be blessings in disguise, or lessons to be learned on this crazy journey we call life.

Let’s start with the not so good, or so I thought:

I knew back in January that I needed to make a change to simplify my life and streamline my schedule to make sure I had time to really enjoy and live my life, not just go through the motions. After battling in my mind and heart for what seemed like forever, I made some lifestyle changes in the hopes I’d be able to improve my quality of life. Although it wasn’t a seamless transition, and I certainly doubted my decision several times throughout the entire process, I am truly thankful for all the little things I didn’t realize were affecting me before. All of the little things, going for walks with my husband before dinner, taking the time to really enjoy our home and spend more quality time together are just some of the blessings that are now parts of my life I can’t imagine being without. I can share more time with friends and family now, and I can really enjoy some alone time every so often. Now don’t get me wrong; I love sharing with others, but I also really love having time for myself. This is the time I can use to brainstorm, create, or just relax and drift away doing my own thing; whether it’s binging on silly Netflix shows or staring at the ceiling thinking of different ways to create or teach once I’m back at work. I guess sticking to my decision, although difficult, turned out to be just what I needed to really help me pause and enjoy life rather than letting it pass me by (I really do love my early evening walks with the hubby before dinner).

I think despite all of the regular daily struggles we all go through, I have so much to be thankful for. I do what I love for a living, and couldn’t see it any other way. I’ve worked very hard my entire life to be able to continue to make this a reality, but in the end I give thanks everyday because I am able to do so. I’ve met so many amazing young artists who are so passionate about what they do; it only inspires me even more to work harder and provide more opportunities for them so that they can continue to grow and thrive in their art form. I share my workspace with fellow educators who have the same passion for their art form and create an environment for their students where they feel safe and free to express themselves and truly grow, so for that I am also thankful. I’ve started working more freely with dancers, really opening up and stepping out of my comfort zone to create choreography, knowing they believe in me; and we mutually support each other in every way we can. I’ve also had the opportunity to explore new outlets for my creativity and love for dance. I’ve been able to work with dancers more closely through coaching sessions, and have had the opportunity to really focus on them and help them improve their craft without the pressures of time or strict scheduling. Other amazing dance opportunities have also become a reality, and make me truly grateful to be able to experience dance from a new perspective. More about those soon 😉

I feel I’ve really been able to grow as a teacher and coach, and find more opportunities as a choreographer this year. I’ve also been able to find more time to share with my family and friends and to enjoy life more freely, which has in turn given me more opportunities to let life all around me inspire me to work harder to become a better artist and person.

I hope your year has been just as great for you! I can’t wait to see what the holiday season brings!

I’ll be working on a few projects and preparing for others, but contact me if you’d like to work or create together!

Like I said, I love finding time to be inspired by others to explore and create new opportunities. 🙂

xoxo,

 

– DF

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Holy Busy!!! https://dianaford.com/holy-busy/ https://dianaford.com/holy-busy/#respond Wed, 11 Oct 2017 15:18:33 +0000 https://dianaford.com/?p=7053 ....with school starting, a gazillion hurricanes, and deadlines galore, this fall season has been no joke! I've been swamped, but I've been enjoying every second of it! I guess it really does pay to love what you do for a living, it makes life so much easier when you have to wake up at five in the morning. Here's a quick recap of everything that has happened in the past few months...]]>

….with school starting, a gazillion hurricanes, and deadlines galore, this fall season has been no joke! I’ve been swamped, but I’ve been enjoying every second of it! I guess it really does pay to love what you do for a living, it makes life so much easier when you have to wake up at five in the morning. Here’s a quick recap of everything that has happened in the past few months:

teacher calendarThe first day of school came and went, and we are now in full swing at the MAC dance department in the Wynwood campus. Classes are flowing smoothly, dancers have returned to their regular routine and are quickly gaining speed, and we are preparing for all of the events coming up. The first school performance will be the Student Choreography Showcase, so dancers are busy taking advantage of all the free time they can get to work on concepts and music selections before they begin the creation process for their original works. Other than that, everyone has remained on task, and is working hard to continue crushing personal and class goals.

Hurricane Irma: UGH. That is all. We all know the devastation and havoc this storm caused for many families in Florida, and rather than wasting my time remembering such a terrible event, I want to emphasize the importance of helping as best as we can. Several storms have severely impacted all of us this season, in one way or another. Many people, friends, and family, need us now more than ever. There are thousands and thousands of people that need our help, check out all the organizations you can give to that will help those who need it most during these trying times by clicking here: Best Charities to Help Hurricane Victims.

Birthday Mr and MrsBIRTHDAY WEEKEND:   Despite the storms and their disastrous impact, I was still able to enjoy a quick birthday getaway weekend to visit Universal Studios and Disney World with my hubby. We had a great weekend enjoying ourselves despite the torrential downpours, which resulted in being blessings in disguise since the lines became shorter as the rain fell harder. Horror Nights was horrific, and Food and Wine at Epcot was delicious. We packed up and drove home on the third day so I could unpack and repack for my next trip, which was the very following day…

 

Umatilla 2017 DanceUMATILLA:   At first, I was told this was a week-long camping trip to provide bonding opportunities with the high school students at MAC, and to enable the ability to cross collaborate during this time. The kids just wanted a week off from school, and I was excited yet hesitant since I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into. All I can say is I’m glad I jumped on the bus and went for it with the kids. This camping trip proved to be more than just a week away from school. It became an opportunity for me to really bond with the dancers and learn a little more about them, and what makes them tick. It was also my very first “camping” experience. I say this loosely, as I’m not too sure sleeping in a comfy, air-conditioned room with a television and a spacious bathroom can be considered true camping.The dancers worked extremely hard over the three days we were at camp. The first two days were ten-hour dance days, as they took four two-hour dance classes in all different styles, followed by the final two hours of the evening working on their student choreography projects. The third day was an eye opener as I witnessed the dancers’ professionalism during the underwater photo shoot they participated in, where they collaborated with the photography students to create amazing underwater shots conveying emotions. I admired their respect for their art form and that of the students they collaborated with, and can’t wait to see the final shots soon. Being away for a week reminded me just how much I love to create, and although the days were busy and long, I still found moments to relax and reinvigorate myself listening to music, letting nature inspire me, and allowing my mind to be open to new concepts and ideas from the other students. I can’t wait to go back next year, but I hope this time more dancers will attend so they can all enjoy this wonderful experience.

I’ve continued private coaching after school with a few dancers, and I’m really enjoying taking my time and really getting to work with them one-on-one, truly focusing on all the little details that make dancers the lovely artists they are. Our sensibility to our bodies and emotions are what separate us and make us so remarkable in the arts. I am hoping to have more opportunities to create work on dancers, especially after such a refreshing trip where I brainstormed many ideas. That being said, I’m definitely ready to start choreographing a few pieces at MAC, and working on some deeper concepts this year. I’m looking forward to the dancers’ feedback during the choreography sessions; I believe the dancers participating in the creative process are an integral part in making sure any choreographer’s work is whole.

DADE PD 2017Up next, I’ll be getting ready to attend the FDEO (Florida Dance Education Organization) Conference, which will be taking place at Miami City Ballet. As a former professional dancer and now educator, I will always remember and understand the importance of staying relevant in your art form and training, which is why this conference is so amazing: it’s the opportunity to do just that, from the comfort of our own backyard in Miami Beach. Teachers: never stop learning and growing, because your students grow every time you do! I just reviewed the schedule, and the classes and lectures are all so good I’m having a difficult time deciding what I want to do! What a great problem to have, too much good stuff to choose from! I will try to post after the conference and let you all know how it went.

Although I have limited time available, I’m really feeling inspired and in the mood to create. If you’re interested in working together at all, let me know! Shoot me a quick email or text, or just use the contact page on my website to get in touch with me. I’d love to meet and/or reconnect with you to make something special, or work together to improve your craft. I’m also working on uploading some of my work on my YouTube channel; I will let you guys know as soon as I can get it done so you can head over and check it out. Hope you all have a great week, and see you all soon!

– DF

P.S. enjoy the photo gallery below!

 

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Summer Adventures: Part 2 https://dianaford.com/summer-adventures-part-2/ https://dianaford.com/summer-adventures-part-2/#respond Mon, 14 Aug 2017 14:30:04 +0000 https://dianaford.com/?p=6381 Well, I'm back...and I can't wait to tell you (and show you) all about the second part of my amazing summer! After a little time to relax and reboot, I was fortunate enough to be invited to teach at a few summer intensives this summer, where I met some pretty amazing dancers from all over South Florida, as well as others who were visiting and dancing while on vacation (because what is a break from dance? lol). In addition to all the teaching, I had a little fun of my own trying to gather my bearings and get back in the classroom for myself...]]>

Well, I’m back…and I can’t wait to tell you (and show you) all about the second part of my amazing summer!

After a little time to relax and reboot, I was fortunate enough to be invited to teach at a few summer intensives this summer, where I met some pretty amazing dancers from all over South Florida, as well as others who were visiting and dancing while on vacation (because what is a break from dance? lol). In addition to all the teaching, I had a little fun of my own trying to gather my bearings and get back in the classroom for myself.

My first classes were at TAME Dance Academy, a studio in Pembroke Pines owned by my very dear friends Teddy Talbot and Luke Stockton. I took over their summer intensive for THREE. WHOLE. DAYS. Yes, you read that correctly, including the bad grammar and overuse of all caps. Teddy gave me one job during those three days: to give the dancers as much as I could, as different as I could. Being one who doesn’t like to disappoint, I happily obliged and got to work on as much as possible. We started every morning with conditioning, followed by a ballet class (a.k.a. dancer’s daily bread) and then two more classes after lunch. On day one, we had contemporary class followed by a composition class and a little improv session. We learned a little bit of choreography that focused on accents and isolations, and then got into all the feels of the lyrics just for fun. During our composition/improv class, we focused on levels and body part initiated movement. On Friday, I knew I had to switch it up in order to make sure the dancers were really working on their versatility, so after our conditioning and ballet, we focused on a ballroom-influenced jazz class where the dancers worked on a fun combination that really pushed them to explore a different movement style than what they were used to. Boy did it work! After asking questions and really trying to understand the movement, they took the movements and really owned them, making for a great performance experience in class. After that, we settled down into a nice lecture and had a crash course in dance history, focusing mostly on the history of ballet (thank you, 5-minute TED-Ed video for helping me condense so much material into easily accessible learning fun: The Origins of Ballet). I had the weekend to relax and plan out my final day at TAME. Following the usual conditioning and ballet that Monday, we honed in on modern technique, and how the technique can be so useful and even necessary in contemporary dance. After that, we had jazz class again, but this time the style of the choreography was more upbeat, set to current pop music. I’d like to thank Teddy and Luke for trusting me for three days with their dancers, and the dancers for pushing so hard and working so well, even when the movement became a little more challenging or different. In only three days I witnessed so much growth from them that I couldn’t wait for Teddy and Luke to return and see their amazing dancers again.

The second set of classes I taught were at the summer intensive at Dance Attack, a studio in Miami owned by John Culbertson and Cookie Ramos. I went in for two Mondays and taught modern technique to some pretty amazing competition dancers. Although many of the concepts were foreign to them, they worked very hard to understand and learn as much as possible in the short time I was able to work with them. We worked mostly on modern technique, but I also taught them a combination set to popular music using only steps from the modern technique class they had just executed so they could understand how all of these steps can be incorporated into contemporary choreography and still be relevant. Once we set it all to music, they soared! I can only hope that I was able to instill a little bit of the foundations that are so important in modern dance, and that they continue to train in all styles to become even stronger performers than they already are.

The third and final intensive was at Performance Edge Dance Studio, owned by Jennifer Delgado in Weston. I taught contemporary one day and modern dance the other. Usually I teach dancers modern technique first, expose them to some of the movement styles I’m familiar with, and afterwards we delve into more contemporary work, allowing them to improvise and create together. This time however, my plan was flipped: I was to teach them contemporary the first day, and modern the second time I saw them. At first I was a little disappointed, but it became a blessing in disguise! During the contemporary class, we warmed up, worked on a little bit of improvisation, and then, for the sake of time, worked on a little bit of choreography. The beauty in this was that it was up to the dancers to try to figure out how to use their bodies to make the movement their own but still stay true to the shapes and concepts I was asking for without ever having known my movement style or the technique from which I draw inspiration. Then the next day I worked with them I was able to focus on concepts they had performed in the choreography, but this time we were able to dissect those concepts and steps, understanding the why and the how of each movement. There were many ah-ha! moments, and those made me happiest. From the youngest to the oldest, I really felt I was able to connect with the dancers and they were able to take away a little bit of wisdom with each class they took.

I’d like to thank the studio directors that invited me to teach this summer, I had a great time meeting everyone and working with all of you. You all do so much for your studio families; you are amazing! I hope we can work together again soon.

In addition to meeting and working with all of these wonderful dancers from these three amazing studios, I made it a point to get back into the studio myself and work on getting back to the basics. After all, the more you train, the more you learn…and the more you learn, the more you can teach. In life, you never stop learning. This is especially true when it comes to the performing arts. Dancers are always learning from each other: exploring, moving, pushing, and challenging one another to become the truest version of themselves. So I turned up the dial on my courage level and did it. I asked Teddy if it was okay for me to drop in and take ballet classes at his studio every morning, and after receiving his approval I got to work. I only forgot one thing: to get my old, achy body’s approval! Holy moly, was I sore! Enjoy it now kids, because as you get older, it definitely gets harder. I would like to offer my utmost respect to all of those dancers over thirty out there who are still making it happen and looking fabulous while they do it. I won’t lie, it did feel amazing to dance again as a student…listening to corrections, applying them, thinking of different ways to move and exploring the possibilities of every step. It reminded me why I fell in love with dance to begin with, and in turn it helped me focus this summer on what is really important: doing what you love and loving what you do. I know I always say it, but sometimes I don’t live by it. Let’s be honest: we all have bad days, we’re all stressed and tired, and sometimes crawling into bed seems like the best viable option. But to have the ability to step into a place where you can let go of all your problems and really be free is a true gift. That is dance. Let’s make sure all of us: dancers, teachers, choreographers, coaches, directors, even parents, remember that and never take it for granted. Dance is a gift; let’s treat it as such, love and respect it.

I’ve attached a video gallery of the past few weeks so you can see all the amazing work I witnessed this summer…enjoy!

I hope everyone has had an amazing summer, and that you are all ready for the new school year! I can’t wait to share all the excitement with you soon!

xoxo,

-DF

 

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Summer Adventures: Part 1 https://dianaford.com/summer-adventures-part-1/ https://dianaford.com/summer-adventures-part-1/#respond Thu, 06 Jul 2017 14:42:34 +0000 http://dianaford.com/?p=5468 As promised, I'll be telling you all about my adventures in the studio, onstage, and in between. The first part of the summer kept me quite busy, and I'm looking forward to all the craziness the rest of the season brings! But first, a quick recap of the past few weeks...]]>

Hi Everyone!

As promised, I’ll be telling you all about my adventures in the studio, onstage, and in between. The first part of the summer kept me quite busy, and I’m looking forward to all the craziness the rest of the season brings! But first, a quick recap of the past few weeks:

The first two weeks after school ended began my very first experience working the MAC Dance Wynwood Summer Intensive. Two weeks, 3 classes per day, non-stop learning and working on technique, as well as performance qualities, with dancers ages 9-14. It was nice to see some familiar faces from the MAC Dance Program, but it was even neater to meet some of the new faces who will be joining us in the fall, as well as many other dancers who joined the intensive to expose themselves to new styles, teachers, and experiences.  We brought in some amazing guest teachers in addition to Valerie and myself, and we did it all: ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, ballroom, contemporary…we even had two AWESOME improvisation sessions at the Wynwood Walls, one indoors and one outdoors. It really is a blessing to live where everyone else vacations, and to have access to some of the best dance teachers in the region 😉

Following the two-week intensive at MAC, I drove up to Orlando for In10sity Dance Nationals with Miami Dancity. It was a week of go-go-go, non-stop dancing. I’d like to congratulate ALL the studios that attended In10sity Nationals this past week. They were all brimming with teachers, choreographers, and dancers that were beyond talented and gifted, yet humble and hard-working. It is always so inspiring to see young dancers continue to strive towards their dreams, and work tirelessly to reach their aspirations. Congratulations to you all. The room was filled with artistry and passion the entire week, and my jaw continued to drop in awe of some of the work performed on that stage. These dancers gave it their all: they left their hearts out on the dance floor, and gave their best performances every single time they danced.

I had one of the proudest weeks as a teacher witnessing just how much the MDS dancers have grown this year, and how they are continuing to flourish into young, independent artists. Fortunately we had a few breaks in between performances, so I made sure to really enjoy those by hanging out with the hubby as well as some of the dancers and their amazing parents, so the week flew by! Before I knew it, I was sitting at the finals, where we had several groups qualify for the chance to compete for grand champion, and 3 of those groups succeeded! Congrats to Yvonne, Caitlin, and Sashalie for their national wins with their group pieces “Me & My Girls”, “Brave”, and “This is Gospel”. A special shoutout to “Washed Over” for an entire year of overall placements and special judges’ recognition during the regional season, as well as placing 3rd overall during nationals week. We witnessed some amazing studios and dancers out there, and you all worked together and pulled through, never losing sight of your work and mission within the piece. Thank you ladies, for bringing my idea and vision to life. You were all lovely in the work, and it was a pleasure to work with such a special group. This week was a bittersweet one for me as it was my last nationals with MDS…I will definitely miss all the craziness and fun, but I am looking forward to all the new opportunities that await me the rest of the summer.

In the weeks to come, I plan on getting back in the studio to work on new ideas and concepts that are brewing in my crazy mind, so stay tuned! I will also be teaching at a few summer intensives as well as coaching dancers and teaching privates, so if you want to come dance with me, message me and we’ll connect!

xoxo,

-DF

 

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