ACTIVE LIFE: Dance program teaches youngsters co-ordination

NANAIMO – Basic ballet elements used with imaginative and creative games as part of instruction.

Geraldine Potter will be teaching the City of Nanaimo parks and recreation department’s Creative Movement class

Geraldine Potter will be teaching the City of Nanaimo parks and recreation department’s Creative Movement class

A new dance program from the City of Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Environment department aims to get three- and four-year-olds working both their brains and bodies.

Creative Movement will begin Nov. 4 at the Harewood Activity Centre, running every Tuesday morning until Dec. 16, and according to instructor Geraldine Potter, it is hoped that participants improve co-ordination, listening skills and spatial awareness. It will involve movement, imaginative and creative games and basic ballet elements, she said.

“We’ll take them on (an imaginary) safari; when they go on the safari they dress and they learn to use their elbows and their head and their knees and they’ll use ground level, so they’ll go low to the ground and high up,” said Potter.

She said that the program will also give students the opportunity to learn different forms of movement.

“We work on learning how to move in a room without just going in circles, because little kids tend to get in a room and they want to run in a circle, because they don’t understand the concept of moving in a diagonal, or jumping in polka-dotted or straight lines or zig-zags, spirals,” Potter said.

The participants will be doing exercises where there is imaginative play and they’ll be learning concepts at the same time, according to Potter, and kids will benefit.

“It teaches a lot about co-ordination. Children have an interesting time learning about where all of the different parts of their bodies are and how they can actually use them, so it really helps the children that don’t have a lot of motor skills,” she said.

Children love to move and the classes will allow them to learn to move while moving to music at the same time, she said.

“It teaches them about different rhythms in the music. I do 3/4, 2/4 (time signature) and we learn about that and we do clapping rhythms, so rhythmically, it’s really great for them,” she said.

In addition, Potter has extensive ballet training. She completed a teacher’s course at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and furthered her teacher training in France, attaining a French national training certificate and has 20 years of experience as a teacher.

For more information on Creative Movement and other recreation activities, please go to the parks and recreation section of the City of Nanaimo website, www.nanaimo.ca, and view the activity guide.

There will be sessions in the new year as well.