Video transcript
Teaching dance to primary students - 2. Contemporary with Xanthe Geeves

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XANTHE GEEVES: So we're standing hip width apart, yeah? So our thigh bone, our femur is--

My name is Xanthe Geeves. I have a dance school called Ballet Academy Northside and also a full-time dance college called Sydney College of Dance in Belrose and the Northern Beaches. And I work as an outside tutor for The Arts Unit, and also a choreographer for the School Spectacular. Today I'm going to do a contemporary class with the grade 5 and 6 students from the public school system.

It's based on the experience that I had as a contemporary dancer, drawing from the styles that I learned from the people that I worked through in my career. And I draw also from modern styles and techniques that I learned from different mentors, like Laban technique, Graham, and also a bit of release technique as well. For children, I think it's important to use imagery so that the movement has an intention behind. Number one, of course, is the safe dance focus-- to bring that up first-- but then also giving the movement an intention or a dynamic so that it comes more alive. And also, I think musicality is an important aspect, that the children draw on what they hear-- the timbre in the music, or maybe the tone-- that they can reflect that in their body as well.

--around you, and you're going to bring it in, and then you're going to bring it long out.

The children-- they have all different backgrounds. They also have different capabilities, also I would say levels of experience. So I try to find that inclusive sort of class structure that they're also building upon skills throughout the class so they can then use these elements in their choreography at the end, which they realise they can actually learn quite quickly, because they already have it in their body. And they're able to connect the transitions between these movements more effectively.

--to this leg, gallop. Now we're going to--

Start with a warm up to ensure the kids are prepared, their heart rate's risen, but also that they mobilise their joints. And then we start working in different dynamics, so some more active movements, some smoother movements. So they're creating resistance through the body, but also suspension and release as well. So they're able to show contrast in their dancing.

OK? So let's go one more time. And we go, gallop, in, long. Gallop over. Gallop, gallop--

The process of building up the students throughout the class I think is important. So if you have a section where they're learning a new skill, it's important to scaffold that skill, maybe just using the lower part of the body and then introducing the upper part of the body when they have accomplished that skill and they feel confident. And sometimes you might want to then consider even adding upon that for more capable students, maybe to give them a more excelled version, and then modify sometimes for students who feel a bit overwhelmed, that they have another version that they can also apply to that same movement. So it has different levels of differentiation.

And I think always giving that reinforcement-- so if you're giving that positive feedback, but also specific feedback on why it was good, then they understand that they had the correct-- they're not just doing it well, they understand why they're doing it well. So if my outcome was to really use resistance through the body, then I say that I could see the resistance moving through the arm continuing through the body so that they understood why it was good. And then they could reinforce that so they do it again, and then they understand what they've learned.

[music playing]

Well done!

Yeah, so I think in the end, dance is an art form. So I like to approach dance from artistry in particular, because it's not only about steps, it's about how you approach the steps, and also using your imagination so that the movement has intention behind, and also has maybe-- you could do that step many different ways. But if you give the child-- or the dancer, I could say-- particular imagery or a focus to work for, then that produces the right quality that the teacher's usually looking for, or it reflects better in the music. So I think if you focus on a movement not being just a shape, but how it's actually formed with a certain dynamic-- say maybe something had a bit more of like a blowing up a balloon or a parachute feeling-- through the movement, then that would create a lot more articulation through the arms than just the arms coming up. So there's many ways of approaching movement.

But then again, you could also do it in a very different way. If you wanted to have it more sharp, then you can also ask for that sort of feeling through the body by saying that the focus maybe would be important in that moment, so that if they look straight up as if someone's calling their name-- I think if you approach movement to have a certain intention or dynamic quality behind, you'll get good results. So sunshine in the face and embrace automatically gives the children a feeling of warmth, so they're going to have that feeling of ease through the upper body. So automatically, they're not tense anymore, because they're thinking of the sunshine. So it's amazing how if you just use a certain stimulus, the actual effect is a lot larger than if you just said try and relax your shoulders and think of the arms soft, you might have a more drooped look. So it's just the approach.

In a class, I think you always have many different levels. And because you don't know the children, you always have to start from collecting the children from underneath, and then see how far you can take them, and also have a feel for how fast you can progress. But I think the children today were really like sponges, absorbing everything I gave them. They were really alert. They were focused. They had a real maturity in their approach. So I was actually really impressed.

My name's Xanthe, and I'm going to teach you contemporary today. Who here has experience with contemporary? Put up your hand. Oh good. All right, my contemporary style may be different to what you know. I draw from all the experience that I've had from my professional career in Europe. So a lot of my influences are from the people I worked with, also the modern techniques that I also learned from Laban also.

Maybe you've never heard of these techniques, but they're all the foundations of contemporary dance that stem from there. So modern, also Martha Graham technique, and a little bit of release technique as well. So in my workshops, I like to incorporate different elements so that you're working through your bodies in different ways, and discovering how to master the movement through your body, OK?

So we're going to move through the room in eight counts, just really warming up through the feet rippling through. So we go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 anywhere in the room. Then we're going to reach for either a raspberry, a passion fruit, or a strawberry, whatever you like anywhere in space. So we've got high, medium, low. We've got forwards, back, diagonal.

So I want you to reach anywhere. Everyone just reach for any piece of fruit that you love-- maybe it's a summer fruit-- and reach and pick it off the branch or the vine. Good. And then another one some other direction. Shhhooop! Good! And then we're going to go for eight counts. Everyone just move through the room with eight counts. Keep eyes in the back of your head so that we don't bump into each other, yes?

And 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, stop. Now we've got three pieces of fruit, so a bit faster. 1, 2, 3, and reach as far as you can so that your body lengthens out. And again 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. 4 times now. 1, 2, 3, 4. And we're going to melt to the floor. And imagine you've got no bones in your body, so I don't want to hear any bangs on the floor. Try to ripple through the spine. Good.

Now I've got a giant vacuum cleaner. And we're going to suck [sucking noise] you off the floor with this energy coming off the floor with suspension. So we're relaxed into the floor, and now we're going to reverse that movement and come up. [sucking noise] And reaching out, so we feel suspension through the body. We feel relaxation. So we're releasing our body. And then we're going to suspend our body coming up.

Now we're going to go again. So it's all free. You don't have to do it as I do. You can just lift out of your bodies. That's it. And then we go again, and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. 1, and 2. Good! Again, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and a 3, 2, 1.

Oh, I love it out when you use your eyes. Because when you pick a piece of fruit, you need to see where it is. And the intention of looking makes me follow your movement as well, OK? So then we go again. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, then you've got 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 4, melting to the floor. Everyone have a practise. Melt! Good, and coming up again. [sucking sound] Really smooth. Oh, that's nice. OK? So let's do it with the music.

[music playing]

Anywhere in the space, 6, 7, ready to go. And 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and a reach, and a reach. Good! and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and a 3, 2, 1. Very nice. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and a 1, 2, 3, 4, melt. And coming up. [sucking noise] Again!


1 and 2. Very nice.


3, 2, 1. Excellent, rolling to the floor, and coming up. Let's do it one last time, and go! Reach as far as you can, and 2. Very nice.


1, 2, 3. Excellent! 1, 2, 3. Four times. 4, 3, 2, 1, melt. And coming up. And melt again. Good! Lying on your back, you going to circle your right leg in the hip socket. That's the way. Swapping legs. Good. Everyone come onto your hands and knees, do a little cat stretch. And the other direction, and cat stretch.

And rolling onto your feet, slowly rolling up, and shoulders. Good. Good, and just wrap. Reach up and wrap. Reach up, and faster. Breathe in, breathe out. Good! Now reaching up. And drop. One more time. And shake up. Good!

Good work. All right. Does everyone feel a little bit warmer now, the blood pumping through your body? Great. So we're standing hip width apart. Yeah? So our thigh bone, our femur is right underneath our hips, so that's it, OK? Sometimes it may feel like you're pigeon-toed when you stand like that. That's just the feeling that you have. So nice and parallel, good.

So we're going to start with a roll down. Imagine you're on a wall, and we're going to think of the chin comes towards the chest, and we think that we relax down toward the floor. So gravity is going to bring us down. So we go soften through the knees, chin towards the chest. We roll down, 2, 3.

When we reach the bottom, our head is hanging. Just say no with your head and just make sure it's relaxed. Good, and then we're going to stretch our knees gently, and then bend our knees. And then we're going to ripple our spine up again, and our heads last to arrive. Good. And we just lift up the shoulders, and we release them back.

Now we're going to push forward. And as we push forward, we're going to contract through our back. So we're going to go forward like this, OK? So we go, 1, right foot goes demi pointe, stays. Second one, 2, so our navel's drawing all the way back to the back of the room. And we stand up.

Good, from here, we're going to lengthen our rib cage, side. And we're going to make a little window. From this little window, we're going to circle our upper body and reach all the way to the back of the room. And now Tori's reaching the opposite way. Very good.

From here, we're going to wrap our arms, come towards the front. Step together front. So we're in a little lunge, knees are over our toes. And we going to slide to the floor and push the wall away. Push, and our hands come down.

Good, from here we're going to walk a little bit, so we keep our upper body nice and strong. 1, 2, 3, and we're going to lower our right hip to the floor. OK? Is everyone all right till there?

From here we're going to lift ourselves up. We're going to spin around. So we're going to scoop our left leg, and extend our legs to here. So we turn to our right. Turn to our right, and forward. Good! Our legs really reach far. We're going to do a little hamstring stretch over our legs. And we're going to sit really tall on our sitting bones if we can. Really tall.

From here, we're going to roll down. And imagine that the front of your hip bones-- the ASIS-- are attached to your thigh bone. And you're going to roll that pelvic-- yes, those bones-- away from your thigh bones. And as soon as your lower back's on the floor, you're going to slide your legs. And your arms are out to the side. Good!

From here, we're going to roll up into a bridge. So we're going to think of our lower back goes into the floor. So we press in, and then our pelvis-- our hips just lift up towards our knees. And we want to keep our ribs nice and calm. And we roll down.

From here, we're going to be-- I just rolled onto my microphone-- turn to here. That's it. Onto our feet. And we're going to push up and roll up. And we step towards the back, and up. Then we're going to the other side, OK?

This exercise-- I want you to more follow me through it. You have an idea of what it is, so we're not spending too much time to learn it in great detail for you to do it by yourself. So you're going to have me as a guide to follow, OK? So we're going to the other side.

And roll down. Roll down and stretch your legs gently. And rolling back up, soften through the knees and up, and up. Push. And breathe out. Stay up. Reach to here. Very nice. Circle, lengthen. And then we wrap. Wrap to the front. Pushing down. Now we come down. We're going to do our walks. Walk, 2, 3, and we lower on our left hip this time. Good.

From here, we're going to spin our right leg around, and turn to the left. And our feet shoot out forwards. And we go swish, sitting up tall, shoulders relax. Now from our hip bones, we go-- ripple back. And our legs come up. Very nice. We ripple up, pelvis off the floor. We lower down. Now we're going to go towards the back of the room, onto our hands and our toes. And we're going to roll up and step together. All right.

How do we feel with space? Do you think we have enough room to do it altogether for this exercise? Yeah? All right, so just come forward a little bit.

[music playing]

Nice soft movement through the body, 5, 6. We're going to roll down, 7 8. Rolling down, 1, 2, 3. Stretch your legs and soften through the knees. Rolling up, 7, 8. Push. Push, up. Reach, that's it. Long. Well done, 2, push. Good. And walking, Good. Lower your right hip, good.

Now we're going to do a bit of a spin. Spin and lengthen. And a ripple, 2, lifting pelvis. Good! Go towards the back. 5, 6, very nice work. Ready, and rolling down. Roll, 2, 3, stretching your legs. Soften the knees as you roll up, 7, 8. Other arm. Knees over toes, stretch! Reach. Soften, circle, lengthen.

Good. That's it. Circle. Brush, and stretch those long legs. Lengthen, 2, pelvis rolling up. Down, that's it. And going towards the back of the room. Push onto your heels, and rolling up, 6, 7, and up. Well done! Good work.

INSTRUCTOR: All right. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

XANTHE GEEVES: OK, so we're going to travel from the back of the room towards the front.

INSTRUCTOR: 1, 2 3, 4, 5.

XANTHE GEEVES: Now in this exercise--

[interposing voices]

INSTRUCTOR: So it's going to be the four of you ladies.

XANTHE GEEVES: That sort of feeling of stretchy goodness. All right? OK? So we start with our right foot. And we're going to go push, slide. Then we go back, front. Slide, back, front. Now we're going to put our hands together, and we're going to rub some sun cream on the inside of our arm and bring it around, OK? And when we do that-- just do it one more time. [swishing noise] That looks nice. We're going to do a turn. So we're going to go slide together, slide. Yes! OK?

From there we're going to step. Imagine there's a waterfall. We're going to scoop our arms into the waterfall, and then the water goes over our face. That's it. And we're going to step up and down. Good. Then we're going to go again, 1, 2, and push, 2. Sun cream! Sun cream down. Step one more time. Up, up and down. Yes! So there's a nice action going up to the ceiling, and then it floats down.

OK, so we're going to do it, probably, two times going towards the mirrors. And then when you get to the end-- probably approximately two times through-- you're going to part like a curtain. This inside line-- actually, no, you're three and three, aren't you? So you're going to part like a curtain, walk up the side. And we're going to do it to the other side then.

So you start with the left leg. OK? So the first time we start with the right leg. So let's do it one more time all together. And 1, back foot through the caramel. Caramel! Put the sun cream on. Sun cream, down, waterfall. And down, and push back. I think, yeah, two times should be just fitting the space nicely. Down, up, down. Very nice! I like the dynamics your bring through your movement, very good. Yes?

STUDENT: Are we [inaudible]?

XANTHE GEEVES: So yes, we can go into a rise and down, but we don't have to. So if you feel like you want to stand on flat foot, that's totally fine with me. If you feel like you want to rise up a bit higher, that's also lovely, OK? So you can decide how you can do it with control. If you feel like you're going to go like this, then you can just take your flat foot and feel nice and strong.

Because we are doing an upper back release, OK? All right, so nice and slow. Nice and lots of floor, pressure, arm pressure, resistance through the body so that we get lots of movement through our torso so that when we move, we can create lots of movement and not be sort of too tight, yes?

STUDENT: Are we allowed to like, lean forward?

XANTHE GEEVES: Yes, you can. So you can lean forward. Because if I was going to give you resistance-- if I put my hand here and you want to push my hand away-- so she can't just use her arm, she has to use her whole body, this part particularly. So she's going to go through, and, yes! Then she follows through with her rib cage. Yes! Yeah, so we start going a little bit almost like we're pushing from here. And we go push through a little bit. That's it. Oh, wonderful! And then you get nice, deep, rich movements through your body. So there's a bit more weight in this movement, yes? So it's so light, it's a bit more weighted.

OK, very good. Let's do it with the music. Now once the first line has done it through once completely, after the waterfall, the next line will join in with them, OK? So we just keep on doing it continuously.

[music playing]

5, 6, ready to start, 7, 8. [swishing noise] Good! Sun cream! Waterfall! Down, beautiful. Push. Yes, I love that resistance, very good. Up, up! Down, then part like a curtain. Very good. And sun cream, up, up and down. Good girls and good boy. And sun cream! Good! Up, up, down. Yes! Down.

Nice work, everyone. I like the pushing through the caramel. 1, 2, up, up. Great! Now this group start on the left. Fantastic, well done. 2, up, up, Well done. Lift. That's it. Right. Let's do the left side. Up, up, down, now lift. Lift. Good. Up, up. Oh, that's lovely. Up, up. Good. That's it. Lift. Up, up, down, left. Good work. Great. Well done. Let's move on.

I could really see you moving with lots of resistance, which was fantastic. You're going to need that later on for some other things, OK? So let's go to the corner. So we don't need to go squash in one corner, just spread out a little bit. We're going to go two at a time down the room. And there's a river from this corner all the way down to that exit sign, yes? And we're going to hop over the river and back and forth and do a little zigzag down the room, OK?

OK, so we're going to go over the river. So everyone going over the river. And 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, over the river. Over, over, over, over the river. And faster. And faster. And next one. And next one. And next one. Yes! So you make sure you complete your three before you go to the other side. You go 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3. Yes! Great.

So I would love that your legs extend as far as they can and you go beyond your toes, OK? So it's almost like a swish through the floor. And then think of firecracker toes-- so pow-- or shooting an arrow-- pow! That energy needs to go through your legs. And you want to travel as much as you can, OK? All right.

So we're going to do just the legs, and then we're going to add the arms. Right, 2, 3, left, 2, 3. And when we start from this corner-- so as you finish up there, you're going to walk up to that corner and go down like an X, OK? Then we're going to start on the left leg, OK? Because we're going to add arms, and you'll know why. All right? So here we go.

[music playing]

Ready, and everyone together. Just practise, 1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3. That's it. Ready? The first girls 6, 7, ready, right. 1, 2. Next group starting, get ready, go.


Yes! Go, right 2, 3. Left, 2, 3. Right, 2, 3. Left, 2, 3. Good try! That's it. 1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3. Well done. The rhythm's coming. That's it. 1, 2 3, 2, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3. Yes. Good boy. That's the way. Ready to start.


Ready, girls? Well done. That rhythm's really good. Good. When you're going down the room, some of you are looking towards the floor. Just look really out in the distance, OK? If you look to the floor, you start to go like that, and you look a bit like [animal noises] And I want you to think more travelling and going beyond this room, OK? When you learn to drive, you can't look at the road like that, otherwise you're going to go like this. You need to look straight out, and then you'll drive straight, OK?

Let's go from the other side, so we start with the left leg, OK? So keeping that rhythm, and just thinking 1, 2, 3, 2, 2, 3, 3, 2, 3, 4, 2, 3. That's it. Yes, so really quick legs, dynamic shooting, pow!

[music playing]

Starting with the left leg, 5, 6, ready to start, and ch, ch, ch. Very good, so after 4, we go. 1, 2, 3, 4. And go, 1, 2. That's it. That's the way. 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, Looking out. Looking out. You all right there?




XANTHE GEEVES: Just be careful. Is it-- just walk, see if you're all right. Good! Yes! That rhythm's really nice. 1, 2, 3. Ready, go, and left. Oop, start left. That's it. Well done. Now we're going to add arms. Put your hand on your chest and sway through your body. So you don't need to go this way. I want you to feel like how you can sway.

Now feel how your arm wants to come a little bit with you. See how your arm flows a bit forward and back, sort of to counterweight your movement? Yes, that's it. So your arms are going to be incorporated. But I don't want you to think of just arms. I want you to think that they come from your body.

So first of all, the arms are going to be open, and we think sun on your face. Yes? And then we're going to go embrace, OK? So we go sun on our face, second one, embrace. Sun on our face, embrace. So we're using, actually, this part. So we actually incorporate our head a little bit. So if you think sun on your face, you're directly going to lift up your face, aren't you? If you think embrace, you think a little bit more comforting around either your pet, or your family, or your best friend. OK? Yes?

STUDENT: Instead of just going out, can we make it like high and sometimes low?

XANTHE GEEVES: You can make it a little bit low. I just want to see-- yeah, it might go a bit that way, exactly. So it's not restricted. Does that make sense? So I want you to get the feeling through the body, but it doesn't have to be like here and there, OK? So I want you to feel the flow.

Now imagine that your arms don't have any bones in them. So just practise your arms without your upper body and see-- well, actually, you need your upper body a but too-- but see if you can think they're like octopus tentacles. So they go like-- they flow, so you've got lots of movement. You got shoulders, elbows, wrists, all the little bones in your hands. So you can use them as well, yes.

And we want to use all the music. So our legs from here-- or from our waist down, it's shooting out, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2 3. But our arms want to be contrasting our legs. So that's the difficult thing. It's like one of these, when you try and do something tapping and something smooth. Yes, so it's a bit like that, but it's even more complicated.

So we're going to go fast with the legs. More ripple with the body. So we don't want to actually take the same dynamic with our arms and our legs. We don't get to go 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3. We could, but I want to see if you can have really sharp fast legs and flowing constant arms. So see if you can manage that. Sometimes we get a little bit pulled into different ways. Sometimes our legs start to work like jellyfish, because we're thinking about our arms. And sometimes our arms become like our legs, so we want to try and find that contrast. Shall we give it a go? OK?

So start with your arms open as if you've got sun on your face. And the first one's going to be embrace. Then left is sun on your face. Embrace, sun on your face. That's it, so not opening and closing too much, just on one side and then the other side, OK? 5, 6, ready to start.

Very good, next people. 1, 2, oh, fantastic! That's it. Close. That's it. Close, open, close. That's it, embrace, sun on your face. Embrace, that's the way. Well-- oh, I love that ripple. Girls! And close, open. That's the way. 2, 3, 4. Yes! That's it, closing on the right, open on the left. Ready, go, girls. Close, open. Close. That's it. Good.

So this time we're going to close on the left and open on the right. So everyone start with your arms open. Then you're going to go close to the left, open to the right, OK? Yes! So don't forget to keep that ripple going, 5, 6, 7, and close, open. Yes, girls! Very nice. Close, open, sun on your face, embrace. Sun on your face, 7. Nice use of your arms. Good. That's the way. Close. Close.

Yes! I see an improvement from the first side. Well done. The coordination is getting better. Yes! I see some lovely use of your upper back. Well done. Open, close. Well done, you two. Ready and start after 4, 1, 2, 3, we're ready to start. Close, open, close. Ready to start, close, open, close, open. Yes! Good work, everyone. You were coordinating your arms and your legs together.

Let's change speed. That's it, we're going to hold one hand together, and we're going to circle our arms. And imagine like the surface of the mirror, it's like this way. We're going to bring our arms over like the mirror. That's it. Yes, that's nice. So we bring our fingertips from the right to the left. And we're going to just take a big step to the left.

And our arms are going to go over like a rainbow from one side to the other. And we always keep our head in between like a picture frame, OK? We don't want to bring it too far that we smell our armpit. We want to just keep our head between. So fingers here. OK, so we go over.

Now our arms are going to go across into our tummy and out. Yes. But we're going to do a turn. So let's just practise it without a turn. So we go across, into our tummy, and out. And we breathe in. And into our tummy, out. We do one step. And then we're going to do a jump and our arms are going to slide down a wall. And we're going to jump onto our right leg and slide our left leg in. Now if we do that, we want to make no noise. So how do we make no noise? Yes?

STUDENT: Get your core on?


STUDENT: Get your core on?

XANTHE GEEVES: Switch your core muscles on, yes. So we want to make sure that we keep our abdominals engaged so we don't drop to the floor. What else? Yes?

STUDENT: Landing toe to heel.

XANTHE GEEVES: Yes, landing through our toes and then to our heels. So we don't land with a flat foot. We want to ripple through, just like how you did in your triplets down the room, OK? And if you bring your arms down slowly in contrast to your legs, it makes a really nice movement and it makes it last longer. So I'll show you two versions. You can go straight to the floor, or you can actually come a little bit longer, OK?

From there we're going to go onto our left hip. Yep. We're going to roll towards the back. So our toes stay connected with the floor, and we make circle, circle. And we're going to imagine there's a big balloon blowing up underneath our knee and our arm. So we go-- [whistling]. That's it, and we want to make a long curved line with our leg and our arm. That's it. And we roll back the other way, and we suspend. Breathing in and breathing out. And we're going to stand up. Good.

From here, we're going to step back and pick those two little cherries. And we go right foot, left foot. Yes, now we're going to do the other side. And we go over into your tummy, out. One step to jump, slide down the wall nice and quietly. Rolling here. Now we suspend, slow, quick, slow, quick. Very good. And then you go up, then you go across, across. Is that clear, everyone? Do you think you can manage to do it already, or would you like to do it one more time?

STUDENT: One more time.

XANTHE GEEVES: One more time? OK. So fingers together. Sometimes it's good to talk to yourself in your head of what comes next. Give yourself pictures. So over the rainbow, into your tummy, out. Paint the wall and roll around. Sometimes it's good to have a little story in your head, because then you remember the steps. Imagine if you're dancing for two hours constantly. How are you going to remember it all? So it has a sort of connection to everything, yeah?

All right, so we go reaching long, reaching from the fingers all the way to the toes. And into your turn, out. One step, jump on your back leg, and rolling down. We breathe. The balloon inflates, deflates. And standing up, da, dum, right, left. Yes!

[music playing]

Fingers together. I'll do it with you the first side. 1, 2, 3, 4, we're going to step to the left, 6, 7, ready. Jump, pain the wall. Very nice! Very good! Right, left. Well done. Left leg. Roll. Good!

Ready second group to run in. Good! 2, 3, 4, spreading out, 5, fingers ready, 7, 8. Very good. Jump on the right. Very nice. Good work. Cherry, right, left. Jump on the left. Good. Yes!

I loved doing that with you. Did you feel like you were flowing like a wave rolling into the shore? And then when you run off, you have to run off as if you're running on the beach. And you have this wonderful feeling of salt air, you know? Not the seaweed, ugh. It smells a bit funny. But that feeling as you run off, rather than. OK? So have that feeling of you're still dancing until you're in the wings. Yes!

I think the hardest thing is to walk and to run when you dance. The simple things are the hardest. It's really funny, but it's true. OK, I would love to see it one more time. Yeah? Let's do it one more time. I love how everyone sort of ran off and ran on. That looked great.

This time I'm going to watch, because I love to see you perform as well. When you roll on the floor, try not to resist the floor. You start to bang your bones. You have to relax a bit-- relax-- so that you actually feel like your body gets more connected with the floor, OK? So don't try and hold yourself up in a way. Try to feel how you can release your body into the floor without flopping. You still have to keep suspended in your tummy. But that you can actually smooth and stay more connected. OK?

[music playing]

And 8, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, prepare, 8. Good. Into your tummy now. Jump. Roll and balloon. Good! Cherry, up. Very good. Now, lift over. Into your tummy, then out. Good. Very nice. Fast, slow, fast. Very good. And 1, 2, 3, 4. Fingers ready. Excellent work. Good, paint the wall. And roll. Cherry, step, step. Good work, good girl. Paint the wall. Roll. That's it. Oh, love it, yes! Good girl.

When I saw it this time, I saw more breathing into your movement. And it's so nice when the movement breathes. Because you look bigger, like you take more space, and it looks really good, OK? Very nice. I would like to-- what time did we start, quarter past? Let's all have a drink break. Yeah. Have one little moment to have a drink and a little shake of your legs. And then we'll do a jump from the corner, OK?

We're going to do a gallop, and try and take those parachute arms that we've got, but now into a gallop. So we go gallop, gallop. Now from here, you're going to scoop your leg out. Just be careful of the people around you. And you going to bring it in, and then you're going to bring it long out.

So when you come bring the leg in, you have to think of milkshake straws [slurping] through your body, and then softening out. And you want to stay on the standing leg and extend your other leg before you transfer your weight. If you go too early, then it doesn't have that sort of elasticized transition. Yes, that's really nice OK?

Then we go to this leg. Gallop. Now we're going to go into a little peacock-- sorry, flamingo leg. And our arms are going to come here. Just put the foot down for a second. Let's just do the arms. The arms go over. And they're going to curve.

Now when we curve over, we have to lift our elbows on the way down, otherwise we get straight arms. So try and find that-- yes, we have to use a little bit of our back, don't we, to curve through the arms. So we breathe in and we breathe out, and we curve through our back. And then we're going to go through. Yes.

So let's go from the beginning again. And we go gallop in, long. Gallop here, over. And you can go on a rise if you like, or you can stay on flat foot. And I'd love to see this whole round movement. And imagine that there's a thread that went through your tummy all the way through your back that pulls you through. Yes! So we get that nice curved contraction. Yes! Oh, I'm seeing some beautiful movement through the spine.

So one more time. We go gallop in, pull. Gallop over. Now we go gallop and another gallop. But this time, this gallop's going to turn. So we're going to do a gallop forward-- so then usually, that leg comes right up behind-- with pencil legs together. But we're going to do it turning.

So what we do is we do exactly the same thing. We step to the corner, and then we go bring it behind and step to the corner again. That's it. So we don't want to do a round movement with the legs, it's going to throw us off our axis. We just want to bring it straight underneath us. Yes! All right? That's it. So again-- yeah?

STUDENT: When we do turn, how are our arms?

XANTHE GEEVES: So I think let's open our arms, and then bring them closer to our axis like that. That's it. OK? So let's go one more time. And we go gallop in, long Gallop over. Gallop, gallop turn. That's it. Now we're going to go a bit bigger than we did before. You know how we painted the wall? Now we're going to do it even bigger.

So we're going to do a bigger-- a bit more of a jump. Now has anyone seen a movie-- usually, those cartoon movies-- where all of a sudden, they do slow motion kung fu or something? And they run and they go whoa, and they fly through the air. I want you to try and imagine that you're going to fly through the air with that slow motion feeling. So if we go up fast but we feel like we keep going as we go down, it's going to look like you're still up.

I'll show you two examples. So you can do it like this, and it looks like bum, bum. Or you can do it with a bit more [sucking air in] ballon, which means you hover in the air. So you want to go, and then you can feel like you stay in the air longer. OK? So I want you to think about that and bring that into your movement. And of course, we want to bring our weight over our toes so we don't go onto our heel. Yes! Excellent. All right?

So we did our big jump this time, and we roll. That's it. Now we're going to step to the corner. We're going to slide like we did that one. But this time we're going to go there. Now does everyone what a TheraBand elastic band looks like?


XANTHE GEEVES: It's like a really stretchy band. Now I want you to imagine that your leg and your arm are a TheraBand. So you're going to go to the corner, and you're going to go stretch. So it's not a kick, it's a stretch. And your arm and your leg are going to reach to the corner, then you're going to turn around. So you're going to flow over your right shoulder. And you're going to go in, push up. Yes, and that's it. OK? So we go in our groups, probably four or five people.

STUDENT: Can I please go to the bathroom?

XANTHE GEEVES: You listen to the music, and you try and tell me what time signature the music's in. It's a bit unusual, this music. OK? I'm going to play it, and you're going to have to try and work it out. It's got claps on all different counts. So try to ignore the claps in a way, but try to work out the phrases and the bars so that you can work out how many beats to a bar, or how many counts in our bar.

[music playing]

1, 1, 1, 2. 1, 2, 3. 1. 1. Try and work it out. Who thinks they know how many beats? Put up your hand. I'll just turn the music off. I want you to count till the next one. Yes?

STUDENT: [inaudible]

XANTHE GEEVES: Almost. It's close to 5. It's closer to 5. I'm going to play it one more time. And I'm going to tell you where the ones are, 1, 1, and you're going to count all the notes between, OK? Have another listen. It's something you've probably never danced to before.

[music playing]

1, 1, Yes? No. Count. Almost. Yes? No. It's tricky, isn't it? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.


XANTHE GEEVES: 7. 7. Listen. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. OK? Tricky, isn't it? But really, it's like a 6/8, so you've got 6 counts and you just get that extra count to lengthen. So don't think, oh my gosh, I've never danced with 7/8 before. I think it's easier to count it like that.

But I want you to think of this routine that we're doing now, this exercise-- we're using the phrases, so we don't have to count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. We just use the music, but you know you've got that one extra count than you usually would have with a 6/8 to pull that movement longer, OK? It's interesting music, isn't it? OK.

So we're going to go with the music. Let's mark it all together. Come a bit further into the room, because I don't want anyone to jump on anyone. OK?

[music playing]

Ready? Yes! So we're going to do some movements really on the music, da, da, de, da, in up. Bum, bum, bum, ba, up. Then we pull it a bit longer. Does everyone feel that? Yeah? One more time all together, and then we do it-- actually, let's just try it in our groups, OK? And I'll do it with you. OK, so how about we do groups of-- how about we do it in our groups of six?

All right, so how about we start a little bit staggered so we're not dancing on top of each other? So we're a bit sort of staggered through the space. OK? And the other groups are going to organise themselves so that when they push up, you're ready to start the next phrase.

[music playing]

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Ready to do your gallop. Good! Ready, next group. Gallop in. Gallop over. That's it. Long. That's it, in, up. Well done, this group. 5, 6, 7, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7! In, out. That's it. And big jump. Good. Through. Yes!

Next group. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Good. Turn. Big jump. Very good, very nice. Great. Did everyone have a go?

OK, so come in the room. Start a little bit here. Come back. OK, so what we're going to do is we're going to imagine this is a piece on stage where it's quite dark at the back of the stage, and the front of the stage is sort of lit up. And you want to imagine these little pools of light from above, OK? And then at the very top, there's like a-- I would say fairy lights, or we could think of like the night sky.

Reaching up, and I want you to almost feel like you want to reach up and stay connected to everything that's above you. And you're going to walk forward in very slow motion as if you're under water. It's all free. But the hard thing is is that you're looking up, OK? So everyone just practise coming forward.

So we're going to reach up. Dum! This piano music's all twinkly. Up. And at the end of that phrase, you're going to reach up. And imagine that your fingers have been pulled up by some strings. Now the strings are just going to get snipped off, and you're going to go, whew! Yeah, so you drop for a second, but then you control. [swishing noise] That feeling of drop, [swishing noise].

Yes, we don't want to go like that. We actually drop. So we have an impulse, and then we think of like an echo. [swishing noise] Good, so we drop. Now that parachute. Good Now our foot sneaks out behind us. And we go what's that foot doing going that way? And we reach our fingers there too, so we're a bit twisted like a pretzel.

Now we all have to spread out a bit. We're a bit too close. Spread out. Some person forward, some person back. All right, we're here. We're really long, as if it's snakes, and it pulls that way. Now we're going to go whew! Yes. That's it. So our leg those [swishing noise] And imagine that someone's pulling your hip, but you really want to go that way, and your toe really wants to go that way. But your hip's getting pulled a little bit. Yes!

So there's a moment when you're on balance and a moment where you're off balance. That's it. Oh, gorgeous. I'm seeing some beautiful movements. And I'm seeing you're getting really long now. Yes, very nice.

OK, so we go here. And we just did that gallop, turn. Remember we did that last one? And this time, you're going to do that with your arms. You're going to go gallop, turn. Then you're going to step in. And you're going to push that leg, and your arms are going to go [swishing noise] down. OK?

Then we go up to the ceiling. And imagine your arms just become smoke. And we're going to go to the floor. So we go up, and our body follows a little bit. So we go down on our right leg-- or our left knee to there. All right, from the beginning.

So we're going from the back of the room in the dark, coming into the light. Create that atmosphere. Create that atmosphere. And going slow motion. Very nice. And then we say suspended, and then the snip.

Ba dum, ba da, da. Da dee, da, da, da dee. Da da, da, da, da. Da, da. I'm not the best singer in the world, but I'm trying to get you to understand the sort of melody and that the choreography is really set on the music so that the dynamics that you dance makes the audience actually hear the music clearer. Does that make sense? OK? So you are reflecting the music with your movement. Let's do it all together first time, then when we learn a bit more, we'll start doing it in groups as well, OK?

[music playing]

That's it. Full free. That's nice, and now breathing out. And reach the toe. Over two. In, open. Up smoke. Roll. Yes! Very good. It's very fresh, but you're actually absorbing what I'm giving you with instruction very well. How about we do it in our two groups that we did with this one? Go.

That's nice. Breathing. And now breathe in and breathe out. Turn. Ba da turn. In, push, up, roll. Yes, well done. Next group, very good. All right. Yeah, make sure you're not standing so close to someone that you're going to take the leg from underneath them. OK? Go. Oh, I love the individuality. Stay. Oh, good. Over. Reach, turn, in. [swishing noise] Yes!

Excellent work, you've really took all this instruction I gave you, OK? Shall we learn more?


XANTHE GEEVES: Yes! All right, everyone come back in. You know the Willy Wonka tube where the boy gets sucked up the tube? Imagine that your arms are going more that way up rather than that way. Because it'll be faster. And think that it all comes up from here.

[swishing noise] Yes! And then as you go down, it's completely contrasting. Through your body, and we want to go clunk. We always want to protect our knees. We always go down softly so we don't make a sound, OK? And then we roll swiftly but carefully to our knees. Now we all know this movement.

Yes, and then you're going to bring your right foot in front of you on the ball. And your left foot's flat on the floor. Can everyone see that? All right? I'll come up to the back in a second. Now the left hand comes over. Now in our warm up, we warmed up our upper body, so it should be strong enough to go like this. We're going to lift our leg up, and we're going to bring it through. Yes!

All right, one more time. We're here. Come spread out a little bit. And we go, breathing in. And now the right leg already starts to go here. No, don't bring the left leg around. Bring the right leg forward. Now we're putting our left hand over. And as soon as that hand's on the floor, we can release the foot, and through. So it's like a snaky movement comes around and through. Not with the arms, sorry, with the leg.

All right, from here, we're going to do our bottom swivel. Whee! To the left. We're going to push off our left hand so we can kneel. Now you know when hot meets cold and it goes [swishing noise]? You ever done that before when something cold goes into hot water or something? [swishing noise]

Yeah I want to imagine that your hands are really cold and the water's really hot. And you go [swishing noise] through the water. That's it. So you going to stand up, and you're going to go like this. [swishing noise] Everyone go. [swishing noise] Yes, and I want you to create that sound in your body so that I see [swishing noise] in your body. Show me. You go down, and to-- yes?

STUDENT: [inaudible]?

XANTHE GEEVES: They don't touch the floor. They could if you want to, but I want you to imagine that they dip, and just as fast as they go in, they come out, OK? Ready, and [swishing noise] and your shoulders go [swishing noise] That's it, so it's like I'm lifting you from this part of your back. Go down again.

So I'm just going to take her leotard a little bit. And she's going to go [swishing noise]. That's it, so like [swishing noise]. OK? And then we're going to go wrap, wrap around the back. And then we go onto our heels. Yes, I love to work with being off balance and then catching yourself. Yes, which you've done a few times. Yes!

And after that, we're going to snake backwards. So we go back diagonal Careful of the people behind you. And back diagonal to finish here. So hopefully, we travel a bit further back.

All right, from the floor, we go up. Da, da, dee, da, dee, da, da. Fast. Da, dee, da, da, da, dee, da, da, da, dee. And over the right leg, bom, bom, bom, bom, bom, bom. And on the dee da, turning. Ba, da, bom. Now there's a-- I wouldn't say a chord, but a note in the music really clear-- bing! We're going to go bing and we go left, right, ripples.

So all that movement we created at the beginning of the lesson-- I can really see it now. Good, and then we go up. And we lift out, and go a little bit deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper deeper, deepest. Good. How about we do that with our two groups? Fantastic.

All right, first group. Are you getting a bit hot? I'm feeling a bit hot. No, you're still cold? All right. Let's move back. Let's do-- all right, stand up a little bit. Cause as soon as you sit down, your energy goes bleh. Here we go. Move it back a little bit. Going.

[music playing]

Reach for that little object. Drop over. Stepping over, reach, reach, reach, reach. And turn, in, push. Smoke-- that's all right. Up, down and rolling over. Good! Turn. It's really quick, isn't it? But you'll get it, I know you will. So after you go over, you have to keep flowing through that movement. Yes!

All right, next group. OK, how about we start behind this section of wood so that we've got somewhere to go? Otherwise, we're going to face plant the mirror at the front, OK, ready? I love to see the individual movements coming forward. It's very nice, very interesting. Good. [swishing noise] Step long. Over, turn, in. Pushing along. Up. [swishing noise] Roll. [swishing noise] Over. Oh, you all right?

STUDENT: I'm fine.


STUDENT: [inaudible].

XANTHE GEEVES: You all right? We need to keep a little bit more space to be safe, OK? All right. Good, let's just practise this part. So we come here, we slide through. Yeah. Now we're going to swing our left leg. You can use your hand if you want to give yourself a bit of a spin. Yes, is that easier? And then bring your hand here and push yourself forward. And then [swishing noise], wrap, wrap, up, over. [swishing noise] That's it.

Let's learn a little bit more. I know it's quick. But I think if you get it in your body, you'll be able to spin faster. All right, so we did wrap, wrap, up, over, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da. Now I want you to imagine a really high fence. And you're bit of a sticky beak, and you want to look over the fence. So your eyes have to reach and your neck has to elongate. And your arms are going to reach over. But your eyes actually have to be higher than your heads. That's it.

And we're going to jump, so we go. So as we come back, this is our preparation. Plie, and we can push off our legs if we want and shoot over. That's it. And as we land, it'll be great if we'd land so quietly I don't hear you at all. Ah, that was excellent, yes! From there, we're going to create a basketball hoop or some sort of netball hoop. Has anyone heard of what a swish is in basketball? What's a swish?

STUDENT: When it doesn't touch the rim.

XANTHE GEEVES: Yeah, when it doesn't touch the rim. So I want your arm to be that shooting goal and go [swishing noise]. Yes. So imagine that arm-- you create that basket. And your arm's going to go [swishing noise] in the jump. We're going to do that in a second. And [swishing noise] yes! So after our jump, we land. Straight away, the arms come down, we start to use our right leg.

Left leg, our left arm starts to prepare. And we're going to do a jump. Let's just put our hands down for a second. Spread out. We're going to do a jump where our leg goes-- it's like a key going through a keyhole. And it goes out. That's it. It's called a fouette in ballet. Yes, fouette saute, yes. And we're going to do it with our arm shooting through the goal.

So in the highest point of the jump, we're up with our focus. And as we land, we pull through. That's it. And as we land, we're going to step back onto that leg. That's it. Good! Oh, I love it! OK, and I want to see that look. I don't want to see just this. So try and look up as you get-- yes, excellent. Good work.

So we go da, da, da, da, da, da, da, jumping over the fence. Da, dum, bum, bum, right, left, jump. Good. Now we pick the cherries. Step, step, quickly. We're going to put the sun cream on our right arm. Yes! From there, we're going to do a hovering jump as if we're in the air forever. I just didn't land very softly, but I did a hovering jump. Yes! That's it.

So try and bring your arms up quick and then they parachute on the way down. Very nice. That impulse going from here is really nice. OK? That's it. And our foot's going to come-- very good-- foot's going to come behind. oK so we did dee, da, dee, da, dee, da, dee. Jumping, da, da, da, jump. Ba dum, right, left, through.

Straight away, that foot's there. It's like our pelvis doesn't quite make it to that leg. So we go-- see how it didn't quite get to that vertical line? I'm still a bit on a diagonal a little bit. Not too extreme. You don't want to have a banana back. That feeling of just suspending a little bit. Yes, so we go boom, quick, quick, right, left.

Get your hands ready to put your sun cream on your right arm. Rum, ba, dum. Oh, careful! You all right? That's OK. All right. Now we're going to do our hover jump, and jump. And we reach before we go down. And we're just going to face the back and really go into a tight ball. And then we're going to sit up really tall, right on our sitting bones. Everyone find your sitting bones. All right, good.

Now from here we want to feel like someone's pulling our arms out long so that our shoulder blades slide down our backs. So feel that feeling. Oh, that's it. We want to feel like we grow tall and lengthen out, and have soft arms. Soft arms but long arms. Never tense. As soon as we have tense bodies, we can't move very well.

We have to think strong but always soft, if you know what I mean? It's quite an interesting way to work. We want to have strong lines, but I have no tension in my arms. Just have as much as I need. Good.

Now we're going to rock to the side. Rock. Say hello. And hello. Then we're going to go parachute like we did before. And this time, we're going to take one level higher with our TheraBand leg. Doesn't have to be that high, it can also be there.

And then we roll. And as we come up, you're going to make your free finish whatever you like. It's your own creation. It can be very simple. It can be something up. It can be something out. It can be something low. Whatever you like, just keeping in the context of what we've done today. So no-- [laughing] all right? Or something that would be like really great for musical theatre or something. But let's just keep it in our contemporary style that we've been working on. Yeah! Yes, really nice. OK?

So I know we've learned so quickly. But I think speed learning a choreography is a really great skill to have. If you can pick up something really quick, you'll stand out if you wanted to have a future in dance, OK? So directors always love to work with people who are really quick, know exactly what they want their intention behind, they try and embody that style straight away. And they want people who have a mature approach to movement, which means that they think about how it's formed and the qualities behind, OK? Excellent.

How about we do our two groups? And I'll do it with you. Because I think we need a bit more space, don't we? How about we do group one then group two? Are we a bit confused which groups we're in? We all know which group's one?


XANTHE GEEVES: OK, group one, group two. Start further back, because I want you to come forward into the front half of the stage. Now everyone is different. I've given you movement, but I want you to put your little interpretation into it, does that make sense? So someone might do this a bit more like this, and someone else might go-- so it might just have a different feel to it, but I think that's nice. So I'll give you that creative licence to just do something different, OK? So everyone's the same form but different approach. Go!

[music playing]

That's it. Up. Down. Breathe. Up, reach. Up, and turn. Soft, pull. [swishing noise] Well done. Ready to go, 8 and-- cherries, sun cream. Big jump. And roll to the floor. Sitting up tall. Left, right, up. Up a bit higher. And free finish. Stop. Very nice, give them a clap. Give them a clap.


Well done! Excellent! That was the first time we did it all the way through, wasn't it? Very good work. I know it's a bit vague, the second part. But it's really nice, the qualities that are coming through. OK, off we go.

[music playing]

That's nice. Up, [swishing noise] That's it, toe. And turn. In, push. Soft. That's it. Bling. Ready. Big jump. Roll. And sit up tall. Left, right, a little bit higher, up. Long, TheraBand leg. Good. And free finish. Oh, well done! Give them a clap as well. They deserve it too.


Yeah, good. Excellent work. I would love to see it all together, but using the whole space. Yeah, do we have enough room? How about everyone put their head down, and then all of a sudden, they lift up?

[music playing]

Nice. Good. Up. [swishing noise] Good. Toe, look at the toe. Reach. [swishing noise] And careful as you go back. Ready, jump. And jump. Coming to the floor. Sitting up tall. Rock. A little bit bigger and long legs. And a gorgeous finish, all strong. Well done!

Excellent work, I'm really impressed. Well done! Great. I can't believe you learned that in under half an hour. Can you imagine? You learned that all in under half an hour. Fantastic. Let's make a quick circle. We're going to do a Speedy Gonzalez cool down. Yes?

STUDENT: Is left you favourite leg?

XANTHE GEEVES: Left? No, actually, I like right leg as well. OK, let's go. I don't have a favourite leg. I like both of my legs. OK, big circle. Now we're going to do a Mexican wave cool down, OK? So if I go down and I go into a lunge and I go-- [deep breath] then you go. Next one, next one, next one, next one, [swishing noise] that's it. [swishing noise] Good! Good.

And then I'm going to go-- next one, next one, change legs. Change legs. Yeah. All right? Yes, that's the way. So this is our little cool down in Mexican wave style. Good, and then I might go-- that's it. Good. All right, stay there. I'm going to turn some music on, we're going to continue. Come, let's just go.

[music playing]

Now I'm going to bring my legs into a new position, and you're going to do a Mexican wave. Good, faster, faster! Around the room. That's it. Good. Other leg. That's it. Doesn't matter, just do your other leg, good. Good. Very nice. Beautiful. Lift up through your tummy and shoulders. Good. That's it.

Doesn't matter which arm you have, now you're going to do the other one. Very good. Nice. [swishing noise] Beautiful. Good. Change. Lift up through your abdominals, your tummy muscles and look at something in the distance that's not moving. Good. That's it. Nice work. Good. Thank you, everyone, well done. Give yourselves a clap.


Been wonderful to work with you. It was just a pleasure. Thank you very much.

End of transcript