Meet the lovely Rachel Fallon, a dancer with the Hofesh Shechter Company. This New York native shares stories about her journey with dancing abroad, moving to London, and discovering the gift of teaching. She gives a lot of great tips for budding and professional dancers alike.
Tara D’Arquian is a Belgium-born (part time London based) Dancer and Choreographer, who is very excited about about the premiere of her new piece, Bad Faith, part of the In Situ Trilogy, March 14th & 15th at Laban Theatre.
I’ve sent Tara a few questions about her premiere, her choreographic style, working between Brussels and London and how she keeps mental and physical wellbeing in check. You can follow my questions below as you listen to her fantastic responses.
Could you briefly describe the progression from In Situ, Quests, and now Bad Faith and its relationship to Nietzsche’s Three Metamorphoses?
How did the choreographic process vary within each work? How do you prefer develop work with your dancers?
When did you know you wanted to create a trilogy or did it seem like a natural progression artistically?
In terms of style, your work is brilliantly dynamic and group/partner oriented. What would you say has influenced your style over the years?
How often do you try to work in site specific spaces? Do you prefer unique spaces to stages encompassing a fourth wall?
How much time do you spend between Brussels and London? Are you also working with dancers in both places to perform your work?
What’s your dance background composed of … where did you train?
What do you love most about dancing and choreographing at the same time?
What are you doing to maintain (somewhat) of a balance between getting work done and having some time to yourself?
Lastly, what are you most excited about once Bad Faith finally premieres?
More About Tara and Her Works
As a huge advocate of cross-training and challenging myself to never be comfortable with only practicing one dance technique or exercise method, I’ve always loved the many benefits of doing so. Although difficult at times, it doesn’t take long to see and feel the results. This became especially apparent when I began using the Pilates equipment with Classical Pilates instructor, Maria Baez (who is also my client).
1) No one method is the answer to all types of problems.
Kinespirit, based in New York, succinctly explains the differences and similarities between Pilates and Gyrotonic and how both methods can be a part of anyone’s training. Trainers are often aware that individuals have different needs for their bodies, therefore it’s necessary to educate the client about both methods to help in corporate Pilates or Gyrotonic or both into their routine. This goes for therapies such as Physical Therapy and Osteopathy.
2) Cross-refer clients.
Cross-referring clients has proven to be successful in the fitness industry around the world. Kona Pilates, based in Hawaii, found that 80% of their clientele train in both Pilates and Gyrotonic. Reform Pilates, based in Oregon, highly support the practice and benefits of both methods and deems Gyrotonic and ‘the perfect companion’ for their clients.
Lisa Maria Goodwin-Rice, one of the 16 Authorised Specialised Gyrotonic Master Trainers wrote great article on ‘How to Introduce the Gyrotonic Method to Pilates Instructors’. These explanations emphasize that both methods require different teaching methods, both of which are just as important. This is another important asset in giving necessary information along to our clients. It’s also useful for trainers and therapists to swap notes and conversations about their clients so we can help each other deal with their problem areas more efficiently.
4) Offer cross-training deals.
In an interview with Gyrotonic Master trainer / Pilates Instructor, Angela, and Personal Trainer / Gyrotonic Trainer, Mike Luque, they spoke about the ‘Gyrotonic and Pilates cross-over’. Angela mentions that it’s best to try Gyrotonic without a ‘Pilates brain’ and vice versa. It might be best to not even compare the two.
The only way a client can experience something fully is to practice different methods that are being offered within a studio, says Angela. For example, studios, like Kona Pilates, also offer a ‘cross-over’ program where their clients can utilize training in both Pilates and Gyrotonic as both methods heavily compliment each other. This way we can not only improve business but the client’s well-being.
Keep (cross) training!
Going back to class, sticking with it, and loving it is mentally and physically hard work.
What’s really different now (as I return) is how I think during each class.
There are very good options for dancers based here in London. However, it’s usually useful to know which class to attend. Thanks to recommendations of other dancers and dancing at schools like London Contemporary Dance School, I was guided towards the right teachers and environments that could suit my personal needs.
Although the teacher and environment may be fantastic, that doesn’t mean getting back into the groove won’t be frightening! It takes will-power, dedication, and persistence. Once bad habits are out and good habits start coming in, chances are you’re going to love what you do through thick and thin (love a good impromptu rhyme).
Here are some points to consider when going back to class after a long (or short) break:
Do it for yourself
There’s nothing worse (for yourself) than dreading class and then continuing to dread the class in its duration. As my former teacher, Maurya Kerr, would say ‘pick one thing to work on today […] and do it to the fullest’. It’s like writing an essay: first write an outline, expand on different parts at a time until you begin to see the whole picture, and finally, keep editing by taking out what’s unnecessary and expand your knowledge again. For me, unnecessary = over critical instructors; necessary = space to grow and learn.
There’s always something to work towards
Practicing and rehearsing are one of those challenges that just keeps on giving. Everyday will prove different as it should. As Juili Horvath once said, “never compare with others or yesterday”. Embrace learning new things about yourself and the environment. What have you noticed? What’s going on? How are you responding or not responding? See if the body and mind can work together, for instance.
Use your wildest imagination
Bad days happen. Oh well. That’s the perk of being persistent; overcoming pitfalls. Imagination can be anecdotal, anatomical, abstract, a sound, a feeling, etc. You name it, you use it. Did you know that, “for improvement […] to be permanent, changes need to come from your body image […] new patterns need to become a part of your identity or you’ll always slip back into old habits.” Thank you Eric Franklin.
Do what feels good
Listen to your body. Going back to class requires attention (probably more than before) and letting go of old habits. The body is most likely in a new place and a new state. Overworking and forcing the body into positions will only go so far. If needed, start with a simple class and work your way up. Do non-dance activities in between dance classes to feel prepared mentally and physically. The hardest thing for dancers is to slow down or acknowledging pain. So, my advice? Keep calm and acknowledge any discomforts.
Until next time, dancers!
Here are my absolute favorite fitness and well-being spots here in London (Eastside).
If you’re not seeing their website right now, you won’t understand how it’s killing me with its goodness (and class offers!). This studio has many styles of Yoga and Pilates along with Kettlebell Cardio, GYROKINESIS®, Massage, Teas, Coffees– what more could you ask for?
Be sure to check out: A.) Esther for an amazingly thorough coconut-oiled Deep Tissue Massage and B.) Allison for enriched movement and strengthening with a GYROKINESIS® and/or Pilates class. This studio even has a Disco Ball on the premises and it’s own App.
This York Hall location houses a Thermal Spa for only £25 a pop (£18 for Tower of Hamlets card holder residents). Keep in mind, that the price is inclusive of a good 3 hour time slot. Alongside the commonly known sauna, steam rooms, plunge pool and chilled lounge areas, they offer a three room Turkish Baths (or Hot Rooms). The rooms range from warm, hot to very hot.
In the Turkish Baths you sit or lay on heated marble. This is beneficial for reducing Rheumatism (problems in the muscles, joints and connective tissue). After that, it’s best to follow up with somesteam room action to cleanse the pores and calm the nervous system.
Quaint, simple, and does the trick (in the best possible way). With acquiring only two yoga rooms, this studio really builds a sense of community. It also provides an open kitchen and loads of books to dive into before or after a class and/or a therapy session.
I mainly go here for my Ashtanga practice but there’s a large variety of classes where you can come in for whichever one as you please (no booking required). For the serious yogi? There’s a load of courses and workshops available too.
Fine, I’ve only been once, but perhaps let’s take a moment to realize its epic nature and the benefits of swimming (by clicking on those links). This Aquatics Centre is equipped with gym, swimming, and diving facilities (thanks, Tom Daley!). It’s practically a swimmer’s indoor paradise.
With it’s opening hours from 6AM to 1030PM there’s plenty of time to get a few laps in no matter what your schedule. Swimming lessons and courses are also offered at a very decent rate. So book now (that’s you and me both).
OK, I cheated, but I didn’t want to leave this one out. Located only 15 minutes from Hackney on the Ginger Line, this multi-faceted Yoga, Pilates, GYROTONIC®, Barre and Therapy studio features one of my all-time favorite things in life: the Far Infrared Sauna. This means right after any of your classes, you can hop in for a lovely post-workout treat.
There’s, of course, loads of other wonderful studios, spas, and pools to check out. So, if I were you, I would start by using the Dojo App and clicking on their ‘Get Fit’ category. Fitness on the go? Check.
Here are my top Health and Fitness websites on the GYROTONIC® Method, Dance Science, Running, & Nutrition
From California to London, check out what these professionals have to offer.
Mike Luque is a jack of all trades. Mike has a diverse background ranging from Massage to Gyrotonic to Kettleball training. Therefore this website is able to provide a multitude of information as well as really good facts about the GYROTONIC® method. Other topics include healthy eating, recipes, breathing, and meditation. His website also features an active blog where he and some guest authors (like moi) keep you up to date on the happenings in health and fitness to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
From studying Dance Science at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, I have become promptly familiar with IADMS. Along with their membership and annual meetings, they have just started their own blog! This is exciting (and important) as it brings real-time information for dancers, teachers and educators. Each post is written by a different researcher from the IADMS education committee to enhance the reader’s knowledge of health and well-being in a dance context. One of my favorite posts is The Pelvis: The Meeting Point of the Body written by colleague, Clara Fischer Gam.
As a 5K race newbie, I needed all of the help I could get! Being a dancer for many years, aerobic fitness was always quite challenging. So to make things even more challenging for myself, I signed up to my first 5K (as you do). However, their beginner’s training schedule helped me out the most (along with dog-sitting). This website offers a lot inspiration and information about running that I never knew existed. It also helped me, as a beginner, to just get out there. From essential running gear to ‘survival tips’ this just might be your one-stop shop.
4) Live to 110
Where do I start? This fantastic website has been created by Wendy Myers and it is very in depth. I met Wendy back in Los Angeles at In-Spiraling Movement Arts (where I used to work) a few years back. She first told me about her post on the Infrared Sauna, that she often came in to use. Ever since then I was hooked. The website focuses on detox, nutrition (currently Paleo), dealing with health conditions, and how to pursue longevity. Not to mention her recipes are a downright blessing.
Keep exploring my fellow health and fitness enthusiasts!
Happy 1st of April, internet world!
Hope no one fooled you too badly today. I have been very excited to get this blog rolling. Thank you to everyone for the positive energy and London for the sunshine and flowers.
For those of you who may or may not know, I am a certified GYROTONIC® trainer and contemporary ballet dancer who has been living in London for the last 4 years. I have also studied Dance Science at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. My passions are movement, fitness, well-being, dance, and sharing them all with you.
Today’s post will be a little recap of what will be in store for the rest of my blogging life. I have created this ‘highly exposed electronic source’ to share and acknowledge the importance of taking care of the body and mind through experience, research and the GYROTONIC® Method.
I wanted to a space where I can break down the facts and, most importantly, make the Gyrotonic Method and everything else in between accessible to you (which means loads of discounts, workshops, feature blogs, and other great stuff).
Over the coming months, the points I mention below will be explained in full, but I would like to, firstly, pick out some key points to share about the Gyrotonic Method.
Top facts about the Gyrotonic Method:
It makes you feel great
Some of the top athletes in the world are using it
It’s easier than it looks (honest!)
It helps with posture, core strength and flexibility
It mobilizes spine
Encourages flow of energy
What does this mean for you?
it can be a part of cross-training
suitable for injury recovery
will find overall improvement in other areas (such as running or even walking)
a more calmer and happier you