I look forward to chatting with you there...exciting things are percolating for the fall and for 2019!
I’m excited to share that my NEW Facebook page dedicated to my 'side hustle' - Modern Line Dance – is now LIVE! I invite you to please follow along and keep up to date on all of my line dance activities, dances and events.
I look forward to chatting with you there...exciting things are percolating for the fall and for 2019!
On June 8th and 9th over 200 dancers hit Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada for the first ever Restart Modern Line Dance Festival! And we were blown away by their energy and enthusiasm! The excitement in the room was almost palpable. We had tons of dancers who had never been to a large event and many who were beginners! Everything was new for them! Guests came from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Ontario.
The dance floor was over a whopping 7,000 sq feet of hardwood at Dalhousie University’s famed McInnes Room. And we had plenty of space for tables and chairs, TWO large projection screens and a theatre-style stage! The room had large vertical windows for natural light and A/C.
Lizzie Clarke (Scotland) and Gerard Murphy (that would be me!) were the featured instructors. It was a gift to have Liz join us for this event and she brought her typical style of humour and fun that helped guests have a memorable experience! Donna Laurin (Ontario, Canada) was our event DJ. She did an outstanding job keeping the floor filled during the evening social dances and she also agreed to teach a beginner workshop that went over very well. We were pleasantly surprised to have Joanne Brady (Delaware, USA) fly in to play with everyone – and of course I couldn’t NOT have her teach a few dances. She obliged us all and everyone enjoyed her workshop and her entertaining personality!
Lizzie Clarke taught:
Big Blue Tree by Ria Vos
Locklin’s Bar by Maggie Gallagher
Hey You by Gary Lafferty
Missing by Heather Barton
Imitation Love by Gary Lafferty
Scotia Samba by Liz and Bev Clarke
Aces and Eights by Karl-Harry Winson
Heavenly Cha by Dee Musk
Belongs to You by Lizzie Clarke
A Wee Taste of Tartan by Lizzie Clarke (NEW!)
Gerard Murphy taught:
Sherry Baby by Gerard Murphy (NEW!)
Why Do Fools? by Gerard Murphy (NEW!)
My Way by Gerard Murphy (NEW!)
Daybreak by Gerard Murphy (NEW!)
Figure It Out by Gerard Murphy
Donna Laurin taught:
Part Time Love by Raymond Sarlemijn
Short Small Sally by Roy Hadisubroto & Raymond Sarlemijn
Oh Carol by Roy Verdonk, Jonas Dahlgren & Jef Camps
Joanne Brady taught:
Yesterday’s Tomorrow by Karl-Harry Winson
Lipstick Tango by Michele Burton
Completely by Betty Moses
OH Henry! by Joanne Brady & Gerard Murphy (NEW!)
On Sunday, we organized an escorted bus tour for 35 out-of-town guests. We spent four hours visiting the landmark Peggy’s Cove and touring Halifax highlights, including the cemetery with victims of the Titanic disaster. And we topped off the post-event festivities with a private lobster supper at a downtown restaurant!
We are more than thankful to everyone who chose to attend. We hope our guests had a fantastic experience dancing with us and exploring our beautiful province of Nova Scotia! People have been asking if and when we’ll host another Restart event. We’ll let the dust settle – get through our condo move over the next two weeks – and then think about it some more.
If you’d like to be added to our eNewsletter list for updates about future Restart events and/or future Dancin’ on the Water cruise vacations, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What would a visit to Nova Scotia be without experiencing lobster or another seafood? So, we've organized a private dinner for guests to come together with the Restart 2018 instructors and enjoy a lobster experience!
Post-Restart 2018 Private Lobster Dinner
Sunday, June 10th at 6:30pm
1875 Barrington St. | Corner of Duke and Barrington Streets
Lobster Dinner Special - $29.00 plus HST
Includes a 1 1/4LB pound lobster, with a side of coleslaw, corn on the cob with a bun and side butter. Appetizers may be ordered from the menu.
“Non-lobster’ guests may order from the menu: http://www.tempofooddrink.com/#menu
Bar service and individual billing will be available.
RSVP by 12:00pm (ADT) Wednesday, June 6th to email@example.com Please specify a YES or NO for the Lobster Dinner Special. We need to know how many lobsters are needed so that the kitchen can plan.
We need a minimum of thirty (30) guests to proceed (the restaurant will open as a PRIVATE function just for US!)
Our maximum is sixty (60) guests – so, RSVP to Susan NOW!
Teaching a line dance takes energy and hard work! And, like other types of teaching, it requires solid communication skills to make sure the learning sticks.
The three most important communication tools we use when we teach a dance are our words, our voice and our body. Yes, I said BODY! However, many instructors become so focused on reviewing the dance and thinking about HOW they are going to teach the steps (the WORDS) that they don’t always think about their VOICE and how they use their BODY language to communicate their message.
Depending on the source you read, only 7% of your message is communicated via your WORDS. I know – that’s ridiculous, right? And what’s even more jolting is that around 37% is about your VOICE and 55% is about your BODY – or at least how your body “shows up” during the teach.
The VOICE bit is all about the speed, volume, pitch and tone of your voice. There’s enough here for another entire blog. Watch for that! So, focusing on the BODY component, here’s my top FIVE tips for teaching effectively using positive body language. Check out the pneumonic SOLERA below!
S = Stand tall. Even though your knees might be trembling because it’s your first teach of a dance OR there’s a tricky step coming up. GULP! Watch your posture. Good posture reflects a confident demeanor to others. Stand straight, with your shoulders back and head held high – you’ll look self-assured and poised.
O = Open your body. Use open body language to engage your class. Practice using open gestures and mirroring the expressions and movements of your dancers. Face the class whenever possible. And watch your arms! Resist arm crossing and hold your arms at around waist height versus hanging them at your side.
L = Lean in. Step toward or lean into your class on one foot when you are trying to make an important point. Change positions! Move from “centre” stage - your “teaching spot” - to the right or left to connect and engage with dancers on the “sidelines”. Leaning or stepping toward them helps them to feel included!
E = Embrace eye contact. Appropriately, of course! Look directly at a dancer’s eyes for at least 3 seconds and then glance to another person. Don’t stare! Eye contact imparts a sense of intimacy and confidence to your interactions, and makes the dancers feel more positive and connected to you. And remember to look at everyone…not just the people you know or the dancers directly in front of you!
R = Resist fidgeting. Stop clutching that step sheet, twirling your hair, or biting your nails – they are obvious signs of anxiety and nervousness. Acknowledge your nerves! It’s normal to be nervous. And remember that these nervous movements draw attention away from what you're saying and distract people from your message. Avoid touching your face or neck, which also indicates you feel anxious. Fidgeting sends the message loud and clear that you aren't self-assured.
A = Adopt an accepting facial expression. Smile! It not only makes you more attractive and trustworthy, it also improves your stress level and your feelings about yourself. It helps you to relax. And nod your head when listening to a dancers question or comment. It suggests that you are actively listening with the intent to understand exactly what they are saying. This along with focused eye contact (see ‘E’ above) will help you to build a connection with your dancers!
Using positive body language makes you a better communicator! And teaching is all about communication. When you are confident in your body language you're sending messages to your brain to reinforce positive, confident feelings. And showing up with confidence is an instant SUCCESS, right?!
What have YOU learned about how to use your BODY effectively when teaching line dance? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your TOP TIP. I look forward to learning from you too!
If you want to learn more about positive body language check out any video or book you can track d0wn by Amy Cuddy OR Mark Bowden.
We’re all aging. But of course you know that, right? And you know about the changes that your mind and body are going through with every passing birthday – because you’re living the experience first-hand!
We know that with age comes a corresponding normal decline in sensory function, including vision, hearing, and touch. As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance— primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.
We also know that more than 80% of people over 65 have some form of chronic condition (ie: hypertension or obesity) or are living with a chronic disease (ie: diabetes, asthma, stroke, arthritis or cancer). The effects of these chronic conditions/diseases, together with the normal changes that occur with aging, may impede our ability to learn new information and skills.
So, what does this mean for us as line dance instructors? What do we need to pay attention to when we teach a group of older dancers?
The answer? We need to integrate age-appropriate teaching strategies for older adults into our classes. Our approach to teaching older dancers must be planned, purposeful, and adapted to accommodate the potential special needs of the older person.
My years of experience as an adult educator, a line dance instructor and a health educator – combined with what the research says about teaching older adults – has helped me to fine tune my approach to teaching older dancers. And I’m excited to share my top lessons learned!
Here are my 14 age-appropriate teaching tips that every line dance instructor can use to promote healthy, safe, respectful and meaningful learning experiences for older dancers:
What have YOU learned about teaching older dancers?
Email me at email@example.com with your TOP TIP. I look forward to learning from you too!
1. The private, group only dance classes and social dancing with Gerard!
2. Dining as a group together - early seating!
3. Optional group tour of Barcelona the day before embarkation!
4. Fully escorted by seasoned cruise hosts, Gerard and Susan Murphy! It's our 7th dance cruise and our 2nd Mediterranean cruise!
5. The security and comfort that comes with being part of a group when visiting foreign countries!
6. The full corporate support and cruise knowledge of CAA Atlantic to ensure your cruise needs are maximized! And a certified travel consultant to assist with all your travel plans!
7. Select group only pricing at a premium Barcelona hotel for the pre-cruise night!
8. Escorted bus transfer available from Barcelona hotel to pier on day of embarkation!
8. Dedicated onboard line dance DJ: Donna Laurin (Ontario)!
9. Special group amenities and private, group only cocktail party!
10. Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas for 7 nights in the Western Mediterranean - YES, please!
Book your stateroom today! Call Nadine Doucet at CAA Atlantic (1-800-561-8807 0R 902-443-5874). Email Gerard Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions!
I'm thrilled to be a part of the team for Dance Nova Scotia’s Dance for Health: Seniors. It's Atlantic Canada’s only professional development workshop for dance teachers interested in working with older adults – and it's set for Sunday, January 24 at Halifax Dance. Here's the details:
Dance for Health: Seniors is an interactive day, designed to spark ideas and conversations about creating and adapting dance classes to suit older bodies. This day-long session features:
Dr. Jans Ellefsen, Kinesis Health Associates (http://www.kinesishealth.ca). A chiropractor who specializes in both dancers and senior clients, Dr. Ellefsen will talk about mobility, balance and other age-related considerations in the older dancer. (You can read more about his work with dancers in this article, “Making Sure the Show Goes On,” found on page 18. http://www.cmcc.ca/document.doc?id=2220)
Gerard Murphy, Barefoot Facilitation Inc. (www.trybarefoot.ca): A fellow dance teacher and health educator, Gerard will focus on understanding learning styles in older adults. In this session, you’ll complete self-assessment quizzes, discuss strategies to meet the learning preferences of older adults and discover tips to engage seniors in healthy, safe and meaningful learning experiences.
Randy Glynn, dancer/choreographer: This renowned choreographer created Dancing in the Third Act, a one-hour piece for untrained senior dancers, which was a finalist for the 2015 Masterworks Arts Award. He’ll be leading the afternoon practicum on engaging older adults in dance. (If you’ve not had a chance to check out Dancing in the Third Act, you can get a taste of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SD5dY9FGUg.)
So whether you’re already teaching older adults or looking to design classes for this growing market, Dance for Health: Seniors is for you. For only $20 (Dance Nova Scotia members) or $30 (non-members), you can enjoy a full day of learning, sharing and discovering, along with practical ideas you can apply right away. Registration is already open and spaces will fill quickly, so sign up today.
Dance for Health: Seniors is a program of Dance Nova Scotia, made possible with in-kind support from Halifax Dance, Kinesis Health Associates and Barefoot Facilitation Inc.
Registration opens in early January 2016. Hit the button below and watch the website:
No border crossings this time around! Unless you count flying over provincial borders between Nova Scotia and Ontario? What a thrill it was to arrive in St. Catharines, Ontario for the Canadian Line Dance Classic 2015 on March 20th. Close enough to Niagara Falls to almost FEELthe spray off the water!
Thank you to Judy McDonald for inviting me to instruct this year. It was a fantastic few days of teaching and dancing – with friends from Ontario and beyond! SO many people contribute to the success of these large dance events - too many to name here – however, each and everyone of the staff, DJs and volunteers gave 100% to create the best possible dance experience for the dancers that chose to spend their weekend with us. And I was pleased to be a part of the team!
So many highlights! From dancing some of my “old” dances, to spending time catching up with friends – to teaching some NEW, fun dances to enthusiastic groups of eager dancers! I smile as I think about that glass of red wine, those cupcakes with the green icing, the silliness that added to the fun of my workshops, that voice singing WAVE ON WAVE (coming from somewhere!), the thrill of getting through THE WAY with NO mistakes, our cruise meetup (two more weeks!) and the many photo opps! And that’s just what pops to mind as I type......
I was excited to share three NEW dances – all with NO tags or restarts. It made life EASY and FUN! Dances on my list included:
CANADIAN MAN (New – cool, west coast)
OH WHAT A NIGHT (New – the perfect “sing-a-long” dance)
ELECTRO MAMA (New – easy, FUN, electro swing - co-choreographed with Michele Perron)
DO IT! (Classic)
The step sheets for these dances can be downloaded at: http://gerardmurphy.weebly.com/
Check out our special ELECTRO MAMA Facebook Group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/811553975594324/?pnref=story
Thank you EVERYONE for the warm welcome! And I look forward to connecting with you again soon on the dance floor. Please stay in touch on Facebook and on Twitter (@gmdance).
Take care and cheers,
Real dancers don't let a little rain spoil their fun. And this was obvious on Saturday, June 14th when people braved the mist to dance in Victoria Park in Halifax.
It was an event organized by "Start with a Smile". They called it the "Hali Dance Train" and it was all about having fun first! I was pleased to be invited to teach some modern line dancing and everyone did an amazing job with my flash mob dance titled RHYTHM OF LIFE. Thank you to Lorelei Phillips for including me in the event. And a BIG thank you to Halifax residents who joined us!
Read more about the event in the article below published in the Metro Halifax News.
Download and print a copy of RHYTHM OF LIFE by hitting the STEP SHEETS button at the top of this page.
I've never worn a tutu. It's not something I keep in my closet. But when I heard that the Saturday night theme for Celebrate Dance! Toronto was "yellow" it became inevitable...
Ask me how excited I was to be back at this event. Go ahead! It was such a privilege and and pleasure to accept Robert Mah's invitation. And what a weekend we had!
It was three jam packed days of dancing with some of the world's best - and most FUN - instructors. And a special "hats off" to DJ Olivia Ray who jumped in due to JP Potter's absence - nice job indeed. And as always, DJ Lynn Warden did great work!
Robert is SO fortunate to have an amazing team at his side, including Donna Laurin, Vivienne Scott and Judy McDonald. And of course David Laurin - who made the dance floors happen - and a host of other awesome volunteers.
I was excited to introduce a few new dances: GIRLS ROCK, ROMA CHA and BLACK VELVET BAND. I also taught a FUN beginner dance before the Saturday show called GRAB SOMEBODY SEXY. But one the BIG highlights was to have a full room of keen dancers set to learn THE WAY! Ten years later and that one still fills the floor - I'm very grateful...
And this year Robert asked me to serve as the event Emcee! This was a thrill, as it's something I do in my day job. We got through the dance previews in 30 minutes - phew! And the the short Saturday show was light and fun. Next time I'm gonna be ready to tap dance with Vicky St. Pierre! She did an awesome solo routine - and we should be proud that she is Canadian. Kudos to John Robinson for his creativity and patience in working with the event instructors to quickly pull together a group routine for the show. I think we made it through unscathed!
So now I'm left with more fond memories - and a basket load of yellow! Robert invited me back for the 2015 event, however, Susan and I will be traveling across northern Europe celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. So, please think of me next year and I'll see you there again in 2016!