Teaching & Teachers

  • 13 Oct 2021 10:40 | Lina Kriskova (Administrator)

    An international project on new teaching practices in response to the COVID crisis

    In March this year ICMTA joined an ERASMUS+ funded project to collect, evaluate and publish emerging new teaching practices in response to the COVID crisis. In particular, the project will investigate practices of teaching online and outdoors. Along with six teachers from ICMTA, the project team comprises teachers from various conscious movement schools in Hungary, Italy and Macedonia. The project team will meet online and in person to gather innovative practices, evaluate them and come up with suggested best practices in the field.

    And YOU can contribute! At dancefejer.org/dance-it-all you can share your own experiences with teaching online or outdoors.

    Until February 2023 the project will publish its results as an e-book, in events and on social media. We will keep you posted!

    "Working in the Erasmus group for our first weekend together was rich and fun. Every one of us had stepped up in our own way. It was wonderful to share and inspire and to be inspired!

    In my own case, for example, one of the things I had always longed to do was teach dance out of doors.  In Scotland that felt “impossible”. The weather is so unpredictable, and even in the middle of summer it can be cold and wet. I had never plucked up the courage.

    Lockdown gave me the courage! I am now the proud possessor of a huge stretch tent, large enough for 25 dancers even with a bit of space between them. And I LOVE teaching there. I teach groups in the beautiful woods, with a stream running by. Turns out teaching out of doors isn’t impossible after all."

    Catherine Wright, one of the ICMTA participants in the Dance It All! project.

    (originally published in our October 2021 newsletter)

  • 08 Oct 2021 16:48 | Lina Kriskova (Administrator)

    What is your relationship to teaching online? What are the challenges you have discovered in this approach to our practice?  
    We posed these three questions to three teachers:

    Jup Jansonius
    5Rhythms; Netherlands

    Teaching 5R since 2014, Jup’s invitation is to…
    Come and dance....discover your own force and movement!
    Jup is currently the Operational Leader of ICMTA's Events Circle. She is also one of 6 ICMTA members participating in the EU funded research on best practices in online and outdoor teaching, called Dance It All!

    Michael Molin-Skelton
    Soul Motion, 5Rhythms, Open Floor; USA

    Michael gained 5R certification in 1998 and in Soul Motion™ in 2001. He is a long-time student of Continuum Montage with Susan Harper; his teaching of the 5R and Soul Motion™ has been greatly influenced by her mentoring.
    Michael is one of new ICMTA Board Members, elected in April this year.  

    Mati Vargas-Gibson
    ; USA
    Mati qualified as a 5R teacher in 2008. With a fascination in body-mind techniques, she complements her practice with other methods, such as SoulMotion™, Feldenkrais™, Sufi Whirling and more.
    Mati, as mentioned already, is one of new ICMTA Board Members, elected in April 2021.  

    Q1: What is your relationship to teaching online?

    I love teaching online. It brought a whole new dimension and possibilities to the table.
    Some of the advantages: it saves travelling time, it is accessible for people all around the globe without troubling Mother Earth, it provides the safety of people’s homes to go through their process, it connects people in times of lockdown, it can change people’s relationships to their own habitats.
    Teaching needs to be clear, simple and effective which really helps you grow as a teacher.

    My relationship to teaching online is ever-evolving. Teaching online, for me, began on a par with a trip to the dentist for a root canal treatment, and was perhaps as painful. And, over a year later, it has grown into something akin to a warm bath and dark chocolate. Teaching online, I give a lot, and in return receive in equal measure. I have gone from someone who loathes a camera in the dance space, to someone who views the camera as a portal to vistas beyond the realms of my imagination.

    Teaching online is chaotic in the best of ways, disorganizing and creative. I have been using Zoom for learning experiences for a few years, so shifting to teaching on zoom was convenient and not too complicated. I love the amazing overreach that includes people who no longer live where I teach in person; those who have attended my workshops in other cities, people who just knew me from social media, and new students who follow me on Instagram or Facebook and who do not even have access to 5R otherwise in countries such as Iran. The diversity, in terms of nationality and level of experience was rich and amazing.
    I found that the dance can remain potent, connection is available, and deep process is achievable.

    Q2: What are the challenges?


    • Making sure that everybody feels seen; name people even if it is 100 (make sure your assistant helps you with that)
    • Our more sensitive skills, for sensing what is going on, don’t work online (due to delay, bad signals etc)
    • Making time for circles or break-out rooms
    • Technical challenges (best to have an online assistant)
    • Organising your back office and bookings
    • Using the right software etc
    • A range of challenges in Zoom: suppressing background noise, echo cancellation, muting all, enabling/disabling the waiting room, spotlighting, break-out room and rooms for breaking down.
    • The biggest tech-challenge has been the eternal dance of adjustments and negotiation, juggling the quality and levels of my voice with the music because participants are listening through all different kinds of sound equipment.
    • Technology aside, the biggest challenge was believing that I could conduct an online class which transmitted the same spiritual vibration as one in-person, or that it was possible at all. Even though I received praise in the beginning for the teachings I was sharing, I could not or would not feel the currency of spirit in the online format. So, I took a few classes to see if it was possible to translate this through the ether. To my great joy I got to experience it through a colleague and dear friend, Edgar Spieker.
    • Surfing the technology on both ends can be distracting, so there is a need for a lot of hand-holding, clear instructions and help to navigate the registration, payment, and door support.
    • Issues of music licensing and legality need to be taken into account (Mixcloud Live is a great resource/investment for really being able to stream music legally instead of via Zoom, to make sure artists get their due).
    • The feedback loop is different and sometimes difficult online: not quite feeling what is happening in "the room".
    • Teaching has to stay simple. I find that exercises, breakout groups, etc create a lot of distraction and can take folks, and me, out of the dance.
    • Some people never quite conquered the technology and had connection issues all along, which prevented them from dropping in fully.
    • I also found out that some people used my playlists, but did not attend class, which did not land with me too well.
    • As a dancer, I loved the access to so many great teachers and colleagues and friends, yet I know that I concentrated on my dance and practice, and seldom felt really connected to the group I was dancing with as a whole.

    Q3: What are your resources for teaching online?


    Colleagues, online tutorials on technics, a good booking system, books with dance didactics, listening to your dancers (what are the needs).

    I would say the same resources available in-person are necessary and accessible online; being grounded, centered, having a wide view (360°), pausing to rest and restore, teaching from the body, sourcing inspiration from the other bodies in the room. Teaching from home has been a great resource for me; my beloved, Anneli moving in the background, the laughter of Jaylan bouncing from the trampoline, birdsong blessing us from the garden.

    • For music, I really appreciate the platform that Mixcloud Live offers for streaming any music and promoting my Waves beyond the classes.
    • Google forms is useful for registration and building mailing lists
    • PayPal for payments
    • The collective of teachers, both as support, to try all the amazing talent in the field and get inspired by other teachers' styles, music, etc, was just great.
    (Originally published in July 2021 newsletter.)
  • 15 Feb 2018 11:31 | Michael Kuehn

     Alex Svoboda is the founder of freedomDANCE and an Open Floor and 5Rhythms teacher. 

    Have you wondered: What do I teach? Do I really teach? Who am I in my role as teacher?

    I see the main things we do as: Instruct, Inspire and Witness.  


    We open doors into the world of dance meditation to those who may have not had any movement background. We give information, explain how things work, offer options and demonstrate.

    At freedomDANCE, we view our role as Instructors in encouraging the use of three primary resources:   

    • Body: Is the whole body used? Is the centre actively engaged? Is the face relaxed?

    • Space: Is the whole space being used? Is there a variety of levels relative to the floor? Can the dancers turn?

    • Partners: Can the dancers move with a partner or in a group?

    A professional dancer may take these things for granted. However, it is these ‘simple’ things that transform the dance.   

    Once the spirit of transformation is out you can't contain it! Dance is such a catalyst for creativity and personal growth! The path of transformation is not always easy, and our inspiration supports our dancers.  

    In this role, it is more important who we are than how much knowledge we have about movement. It helps to have been through a lot in your personal work as a mover to support the dancers as they are live through their own transformations and find both challenges and breakthroughs. We bring in everything we have: experience of relationships, knowledge from our other careers, interests, travels…

    When we lead a session, we set out to embody an attitude of acceptance and non-judgement. It is really our principle challenge and mission – not to give answers to our dancers' most burning questions but to give them permission and space to find for themselves what they need. We need to tell less and ask more questions.

    It turns out that our work is more complex that it may seem! Find how to share knowledge and skills. Be a well of inspiration. And to be non-judgemental witnesses!

    I am naming these three roles not to make us worry about the seriousness of our responsibility! My hope is that knowing them can help us develop our awareness and to grow as teachers. Which of the teacher’s hats am I wearing now? Let’s ask ourselves this question and remember to change hats when needed! 

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