Family

Cultivating Creativity at Home: How to Incorporate Dance at Home

It can be so easy to get sucked into a routine of school, family or work that we sometimes forget to step into the outside world and see the breath of life that stands before us. One of the many beauties of the arts is that it interweaves throughout all aspects of life, and whether or not it’s obvious, it is always there. Creativity is such an important part of being human, it allows us to communicate and express ourselves in a way that is truly authentic.

Aside from engaging in hobbies, sports, tutoring and recreational activities, there should always be time set aside for cultivating creativity. Bringing creativity into the home is great for nurturing young artists and shaping innovative personalities. It also gets us to disconnect from social media, and connect to the people in front of us, bringing life into our humble abodes. We are sharing some of our favourite ways of bringing dance and the arts into your home.

rachel-o3tIY5pIork-unsplash.jpg

 It can be hard to juggle textbook subjects while pursuing creative activities and the arts. Even though most school curriculums do incorporate the arts, there’s no reason that we can’t make homework more flavourful. Why not create a dance routine, some doodling illustrations, a beat boxin’ rap, or a song as a study tool. Spend a weekend afternoon personalising a journal or a notebook with some sharpie markers and stickers. Language courses with novels and storybooks provide the perfect scripts for creating an at home theatre play or a living room dance production. For those busy bees studying the day away, there are plenty of ways to work hard, play hard, and create art!

iiona-virgin-Pb8_guWhws4-unsplash.jpg

Every young dancer knows what it takes to achieve their dreams of starring on stage, and it requires them to practice at home. There are plenty of opportunities in which parents can let their children become the teacher. Turn the living room into a dance studio by clearing up some space. One of the best ways to fully understand the physicality and artistry of dance is by allowing your young dancers to teach you what they’ve learned. Whether these young dancers are teaching their siblings, parents, or grandparents, there is so much we can learn from one another simply through our body language.

tanaphong-toochinda-GagC07wVvck-unsplash.jpg

 Living in the age of technology and with access to instant communication through our mobile phones, there are so many ways to get creative. The cameras on our mobile phones are a simple and quick way to capture the intersection of life and art. Children can create a storyboard of a music video or a fairytale dance video, and then recruit their friends and siblings as their film crew. Build a team of actors, dancers, videographers, and directors, but don’t forget to pick a location, costumes, and music. There are lots of choices when it comes to easy and accessible film editing software such as iMovie. Once the film is ready for the big screen (or the medium sized at-home screen), roll out the red carpet as these Oscar winners in-the-making premiere their masterpiece. Don’t forget that these creative projects will also build the beginnings of an artist’s most treasured memories.

robert-collins-tvc5imO5pXk-unsplash.jpg

Family game night is all about creativity, not to mention it’s a great way to bring the family together and enjoy each other’s company. Drop by your local game shop and pick up a couple of board games. You can also check out our list of fun dance games in our article, Family Game Night: Dance Edition.

Creativity is infinite, and remember that your options for bringing a spark of innovation and artistry into the house are endless.

Photo Credits: Nuno Alberto, Rachel, IIONA VIRGIN, Tanaphong Toochinda, and Robert Collins on Unsplash

The Big Leap: Studying Dance Abroad

Dance itself is an adventure, so it’s only natural that as dancers we like to challenge ourselves! It starts by challenging yourself to jump higher, to do more pirouettes, deepen your stretches, or to take on a new role in a dance number. The list goes on, and as you accomplish each milestone, you find yourself in search of something more challenging or something deeper. And maybe, just maybe it’s stepping outside your borders and challenging yourself to learn dance in an entirely new country, with new people, teachers, cultures and languages. Here’s our tips on the big leap!

 

Where to go?

Photo by Luis Fernandes from Pexels.jpg

No matter where you decide to go, only you can gage your level of comfortability or willingness to take risks. So it’s great to challenge yourself by studying abroad, but you also don’t want to make it an impossible dream. Here are some questions to consider:


  • Are you fluent in the country’s official language?

If not, it’s important to find out the language in which courses are taught and what type of language qualifications are required to study there. But it could be a great opportunity for learning a new language or brushing up on some rusty language skills.


  • What area of dance would you like to study?

Speak to any graduate in the workforce today, and they will likely tell you that their current occupation is not what they actually majored in. However, many graduates can attest to the fact that they have applied many useful skills and knowledge attained from their past studies.

There are four major areas of study in Dance; Performance, Dance Education, Dance Science, and Dance Studies. The programs offered are usually dependent on the current market in dance and the arts within that country or region. So make sure to do your research on the schools that offer the programs you are interested in. All of these can lead to some great career opportunities in the arts!

 

  • What’s the day to day life like when you are studying in the program?

Work your way through the grapevine and speak with some graduates or current students of the school you are interested in. Or better yet, take a campus tour if it’s offered!

 

Time is of the Essence

Depending on how long you would like to study abroad, there are various study paths you can explore.

Short and Sweet

If you just want a bit of a taste of what it’s like to study dance in a different city, then make a trip of it! During a long holiday period, join a 1-4 week dance intensive abroad! Dance intensives are usually offered during major holiday periods in that country. So search up Winter, Summer, Spring Break, or even Chinese New Year dance intensives that might be offered overseas.

The Honorary Local

Exchange programs are an excellent way to dive into a new city, culture, and dance learning environment without making the commitment of a lifetime (maybe a bit melodramatic, as we all know that nothing in dance is forever). When considering dance at a school in your home country, look into the types of exchange programs they offer. Part of the beauty of exchange programs is simpler logistics, such as visas and accommodation arrangements, which can be easily arranged because of the length of the programs which are generally one semester long (3-4 months). However, not just anyone can join an exchange program, there are usually grade requirements, certain credits that must be met, and it can cost a pretty penny. But doing your research and working some extra shifts in the summer can totally be worth this experience of a lifetime!

 

I Pledge My Allegiance to The Stage

Wherever the stage goes, I go. Sound familiar? If you ever dreamed of running away with the circus, you might just have what it takes to make the big leap and study dance full-time in another country.

For those who choose to study abroad in a full-time dance program, it is not only a matter of studying overseas, but following your dream in dance…which also happens being a million miles away. With the choice of following your dream, making your own mark, immersing yourself into a new culture and discovering a whole new world, comes the sacrifice of leaving behind your friends and family back home only to visit them one or maybe three times a year. Sometimes it helps to make a list of pros and cons, and more often than not you just gotta go with your gut and what your heart is telling you. It is a big commitment, but it’s not forever. Most importantly, you’ll never regret it. Because hey, at the end of the day, we’re studying dance and pursuing a career that challenges us to be creative, passionate and expressive. What a way to live!

 

The Nitty-Gritty

Photo by Beto Franklin from Pexels.jpg

Before you take the big leap, make sure to consider these last few questions. Yeah, they may not be all that fun, but they are necessary.

 

  • How do you apply for a student visa in that country?

  • How much is tuition, boarding/rent, and the general cost of living?

  • Will you need to work, and if so can you get a working visa?

  • Does the school offer scholarships?

 

It’s a lot of work to take the big leap and study dance abroad. But nothing ever stopped a dancer from learning a grand jeté or learning the meaning of “the show must go on”! So savor every moment, work hard, and pursue your dreams to the fullest!



Photo Credits: Main Photo by The Dancewear Centre , Content Photos by Luis Fernandes, rawpixel.com, and Beto Franklin from Pexels



Back to School & Back to the Barre

A List of Dance Schools in Hong Kong

It’s time to go back to school and back to the barre! Most dance studios begin their new school year in September, so now’s the time to get moving and grooving. Wondering where to learn dance in Hong Kong? Not to worry, as Hong Kong Dance Moms has got you covered. To help you find the right fit, we’ve listed nearly 200 dance schools in Hong Kong!

With so many dance schools in Hong Kong, it can be difficult to narrow down your options. Hong Kong Dance Moms has created a directory of all the dance schools in this great big city, which you can visit by clicking here. We’ve categorised the studios under twelve different dance styles, so that you can easily navigate and discover the diversity of Hong Kong’s dance community! 

Want to know a little bit more about each dance style? Read on and find the groove that suits you!

All-Round

The majority of dance studios in Hong Kong offer multiple dance styles and classes to provide students with a one-stop service that allows for more options and versatility in their body training. Primarily offering foundational dance styles such as ballet, jazz and contemporary, these studios may also branch out into hip-hop, urban dance, yoga, pilates, and supplemental strength and flexibility training. Studios like this are important in creating well-rounded dance artists. Plus, it is more convenient for students as they get to learn multiple dance styles under one roof. 


Ballet

Known as one of the foundational forms of dance technique, ballet is great for developing flexibility, strength, agility, and artistry. Ballet is often epitomized as graceful and elegant, but if you ever speak with someone who has learned this highly intense dance form, they will tell you that it is so much more. It trains your body to be dynamic and versatile, adapting your movements from soft and controlled, to sharp, powerful and expansive. On top of all that, ballet requires dancers to be expressive, tapping into their deepest emotions to create presence and communication through their face and body. Ballet can be taught under 3 different training systems; Vaganova (Russian ballet method), Royal Academy of Dance (UK-based), and Cecchetti (Italian-based). There is a lot of cross-over between these three methods, but there are also some variations amongst the movement vocabulary and the execution of dance steps. Ballet does include pointe work, but this is not for the faint of heart, as it is only taught to intermediate dancers who have developed the appropriate strength, stability and agility. Though ballet is known for being a tough, strict and serious dance form, it also has a fun side to it! The challenge is part of the fun, executing new movements and testing the limits of your body and artistry. Plus, you get to play different characters and roles when learning repertoire. Aside from the technical aspect of ballet, the determination, passion and perseverance required to master this art form is also what provides a great starting point in your dance training. 


Jazz

Showcasing sharp, slick and stylish movements, Jazz is all about technique, flair, finesse and sass. Though it shares some similar foundational dance vocabulary with ballet, Jazz dance is a more showy and commercial style of dance that is performed to upbeat music such as pop, rock, or jazz. Great for boosting your confidence and elevating your dance tricks, jazz dance brings you out of your box. Don’t get me wrong, Jazz dance still requires a lot of hard work, skill and discipline, but it also allows you to dance to your favourite tunes while feeling the glitz and glam of the spotlight.


Hip Hop & Urban Dance

With its roots in America, Hip Hop and Urban Dance branches out to so many different dance forms such as breaking, popping & locking, waacking, jazz funk, boogaloo, and the list goes on. Sure it may look “cool”, but it goes beyond superficial aesthetics, and into a deeper understanding of dance, culture and identity. Hip Hop is about finding your groove, your style, your voice and putting a mark on it. While you still learn foundational movements, Hip Hop embraces the distinctiveness of your mannerisms and natural movement qualities. Rather than trying to look like everyone else, hip hop challenges you to create your own style and image. Not to mention, it is great for training your strength, memory, agility, attitude and body isolations. 


Chinese Dance

In the heart of Hong Kong, lies a rich bounty of heritage, art and culture. While preserving important art forms and traditions, Chinese Dance also keeps up with the times and incorporates modern day elements and aesthetics. With a wide range of Chinese Dance styles that originate from different regions in China, there are so many different styles within this form that test a dancer’s versatility and adaptability. Known for its strict training regimen and disciplinary studio environment, Chinese Dance is also a very vibrant and dynamic dance form, as it has many dances with props such as hand fans, handkerchiefs, swords, lanterns, and much more!


Tap

Tap dance is the meeting point of rhythm, musicality, and movement. Learn complex rhythms and footwork that test the coordination of your mind and body. Heavily used in Musical Theatre, Tap dance is all about feeling the beat and being one with the rhythm. 


Rhythmic Gymnastics & Acrobatics

The first word that comes to mind is flexibility. However, strength, dynamics and agility are just as important in rhythmic gymnastics and acrobatics. Dance training itself cannot always develop the strength and flexibility that is required of an elite dancer. Therefore, many dancers also learn gymnastics and acrobatics in their early training to create a stronger foundation for their dance technique.


Latin & Ballroom Dance

Unlike most dance styles, Latin & Ballroom Dance introduces students to partnering work from day one. Dancing with a partner requires deep listening and an understanding of trust and support. Both parties in a couple must carry the weight and work impeccably as a team. Latin and Ballroom Dance feature both classical and upbeat dance styles. The fierceness of a Latin dancer is incomparable, and the poise of a ballroom dancer is utterly breathtaking. 


Learning Centres & Creative Dance

Catered towards preschool children and early childhood learning & development, learning centres offer students the basic foundations of academics, creativity and the arts. Various learning centres will offer creative dance classes for preschool children to introduce them to movement, music and imagination. The dance styles taught at learning centres emphasize learning development and growth rather than focusing on strong dance technique.


Flamenco

Fierce and fiery is this highly musical and intense dance form originating from Spain. Build strength in your rhythm, and power in your body with flamenco dance as you stomp and clap to create your own intricate and complex rhythms. 


Bollywood & Belly Dance

Ain’t no party like a bollywood party! Take a trip to India with the energetic and lively movements and music of Bollywood. You can’t help but smile when dancing Bollywood, it provides fun movement for the soul. Move towards the Middle East and discover the suppleness and fluidity of Belly dancing. A true test of isolation and controlling the body, Belly dance will have you moving seamlessly.


Irish Dance

Riverdance your way to stardom with Irish Dance! Work on your body alignment and posture, and discover some fancy footwork as your dabble into the world of jigs, reels and hornpipes.

Ready to discover the rhythm of the night (...or day if you’re a morning person)? Check out our Hong Kong Dance Schools Listing!

Photo Credit: Ivandrei Pretorius from Pexels

Dance Away the Summer Slump

Keeping Up Your Dance Training Over the Summer Holidays

  

The school year can build up a lot of stress, so it’s only natural that we use our summer holiday to relax and recharge. But beware of the summer slump! As dancers, the skills we trained so hard for during the year can deteriorate if we don’t do any supplementary body training over the summer.

It is possible to take a break from dancing while still exercising the mind and body to maintain your skills. Here, we’ve worked up a list of ideas to help incorporate some basic training to target your body coordination, endurance, balance, flexibility and last but not least, your creativity and artistry.

 

Body Coordination

Firstly, raise your right hand, and now your left. You still got it! Jokes aside, here are a couple of ways to incorporate some body coordination exercises into your summer holiday.

  • The Classic Catch: Whether you have a dog, or happen to be outdoors with your family, there’s always time for a classic throw and catch with a ball. If this is too easy, challenge yourself by training your non-dominant hand. The classic catch doesn’t always have to be with a ball, you can always spice up your beach outings with a frisbee!

  • Hula-Hoop: Bring a little island breeze of Hawaii into your summer by picking up the hula-hoop! This childhood pastime is truly beneficial for all ages. What may have seemed “easy” as a child, is actually harder than you think! The hula-hoop involves the entire body, and there is a lot of micromanaging that goes on to keep that hula-hoop circling around. Plus, you can experiment with all the ways of playing with a hula-hoop; around your ankle, your wrist, the possibilities are endless!

 

Endurance

The portion of training that most of us dread is endurance, because it implies time, sweat and effort. Endurance is important for dancers, as it allows us to perform our best over long periods of time. Check out these ways of keeping the blood flowing, and the lungs happy!

  • Splash!: Who doesn’t love to jump into the pool, ocean or lake during the summer? Have a pool party, and swim with your friends. Of course, it may require a couple of races or playing games like water frisbee or badminton to really get your heart rate up.

  • Skipping Rope: Work on your double dutch skills by skipping rope. Not only is this good for your coordination and balance, it is also great for your endurance.

  • Trampoline: Feeling weightless for a millisecond is indescribably fun. Plus nowadays, you can go to an indoor trampoline gym that offers dodgeball amongst many other activities.

 

Balance

We all love to prove that we have good balance. I’m not talking about work-life balance, though that’s important too. We’re talking about working on ankle stability, the core and proprioception.

  • What’s SUP?: Stand-up paddle boarding is a summertime favourite. And the ultimate reward for your good balance is not getting your hair wet! Paddle your way to new views, whilst working on your core, legs, arms, and of course your balance.

  • Standing in Sand: Find your way to the beach, and try out some balancing Yoga poses on the sand. The uneven and soft surface is a great way to work on your ankle stability. And if that’s too easy, try closing your eyes while you balance and enjoy the sounds of the waves!

 

Flexibility

There are some obvious contenders for working on your flexibility over the summer, like yoga, or well…yoga. But here are some other ways to incorporate a little stretch into your routine!

  • Massage: Summer is for relaxing, so rejuvenate those muscle fibres by treating yourself to a massage. Whether visiting a registered massage therapist, or investing in some at-home massage equipment (foam rollers, foot massagers, etc.), a massage allows the body to open up, creating space so that we can start stretching and moving more effectively.

  • Aqua Stretch: Stretching in the pool can be a lot of fun, as we take away the strain of gravity on our joints. The ledge makes for a wonderful ballet barre or wall to help you create resistance in your stretches.

Creativity and Artistry

There’s plenty of summertime activities that can boost your creative eye. Here’s just a few suggestions.

  • Snap that!: We live in a society obsessed with photography, so why not snap some fun summer shots? Underwater cameras like the GoPro are great for capturing some captivating photos of sea creatures, or even your friends doing fun and fancy poses under the sea! Work towards creating a summer album, of all your most memorable adventures.

  • Outdoor Doodles: Whether you are going to the beach, forest, or park bring along a sketchbook and some pencils, or watercolour paints. Let nature inspire you, and start creating your masterpiece! If this sounds like too much work, then find a nice tarmac or sidewalk and start creating some chalk art.

 

There’s no excuse now to fall into a summer slump, because we are always surrounded by plenty of options and things to do! By experiencing new forms of physical activity and summer adventures, we are enhancing both our versatility in dance as well as our artistic thinking. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and don’t forget to add a little spark!

Photo Credit: Dancewear Centre Canada

Family Game Night: Dance Edition

Fun Dance Games for Everyone!

The dice have been rolled, and nothing but anticipation and suspense fills the air, and… woohoo! You win!

Some of our favourite childhood memories are stowed away in a storage unit, closet or attic. Those were the days, when the whole family sat around the dining room table or on the living room rug and played boardgames.

Spice up your next Family Game Night with these dance inspired games!

 

Get Silly with Strictly Come Dancing: The Board Game!

Strictly Come Dancing.png

Because being serious, is seriously overrated, get ready to giggle and groove with this Cha Chamazing boardgame. Based on the hit Ballroom and Latin Dance Competition TV series, Strictly Come Dancing, this game combines trivia, dance moves, and pure family fun! Get up on your feet and start shaking those Habanera hips, because Strictly Come Dancing will get you performing dance-offs and taking on histarically hilarious challenges.

 

Can you remember…? Test your Memory with Top Dance! Just Dance

Pack-Top-Dance-3D-Etoile-400x400.png

Lost your keys again? Train your memory with Top Dance! Just DanceJust Dance is known for its fancy choreography, pumped up moves, and catchy tunes! Top Dance! Just Dance takes elements of our favourite dance video game and brings it to the board. This game is basically a series of flash cards, except that instead of flashing words or math equations, these cards have dance moves on them. While a key player performs different movement combinations from the cards they’ve drawn, other players must test their ability to recognize and observe, as they try to match the movement cards to the key player’s dance combo. Who doesn’t love a game that’s fun and trains the brain. Dancers are known to have impeccable memorization skills. So start studying those dance moves!

 

Take a Throwback Thursday with Twister

371562d2ce934ab5915baafac00e35e2b03420a8.jpg

Getting tangled between other people’s hands and feet, and holding shapes for long periods of time may not sound like dancing, but Twister is a great way of moving the body and training your balance, problem solving… and even a bit of flexibility. Though this game is for both young and old, it is fantastic way of teaching little ones about the body and colours. The ultimate icebreaker to any party, Twister will have everybody smiling and laughing in no time!

 

Bump to the beat with Bop it! Game

30f5d904f29f28ba779500ce896c6b69bfe740ef.jpg

All the millennials out there can remember this game, as it was a 90’s sensation. Hasbro has bopped out the old, and bopped in the new with Bop it! Game! Adding a couple of new moves, such as “selfie it”, “golf it” and “comb it”, Bop it! Game now uses motion technology to test out whether these youngsters can keep up with the original Bop it! masters. Make your next family game night a Bop it! dance battle, and have loads of fun with this multigenerational game!

 

Start creating those memories that will last a lifetime! The ones that get us away from the television screen, or our mobile phones and allow us to see the laughter and smiles on our loved ones’ faces. Stir up that competitive spirit, and start your next family game night with a little shake, twist, or bop!



Photo Credits: Dancewear Centre, John Adams Leisure LTD, Buzzy Games, and Hasbro