A Note From Beverly's Desk — Learning from Lisa Howell

This February, I had the pleasure of attending Lisa Howell’s Level One Dance Teacher and Health Professional Workshop in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. The first time I met with Lisa was in Australia, and then she worked with me on the Leading Edge Dance workshop in Lafayette. Spending time in Canada was much colder than we were used to, but we thoroughly enjoyed our time shared together. We took in the beautiful frozen scenes like Lake Ontario and Niagara Falls, shared stories over dinner, did a lot of learning, and even made plans for future collaborations. 


The workshop was the in the middle of February, and I can already see that the information I learned during the workshop has made a positive difference in my dancers! I truly believe every ballet teacher should take level one of Lisa's dance teacher training. The information and techniques learned are essential to teaching dancers of all ages.

My niece Danielle (in the picture above with Lisa and me) is recovering from an injury and ankle surgery, and she has been diligent about doing her “Miss Lisa exercises” several times a week. She is now able to stand on the surgery ankle without wobbling and has learned to activate the muscles needed to maintain her rotation and alignment without the support of the barre. We are very excited to see such progress in a little over two weeks. I do believe that with Lisa’s prescription of exercises she will be stronger than before her surgery by the time she is able to return to fully dancing and performing. All of her exercises were learned in Lisa’s workshop.

I am now starting each class by implementing Lisa's rotation activation exercises with my students too. I am taking time to teach each exercise so the young dancers (ages eight and up) are able to understand and perform the exercises on their own. Once I know they are able to perform them correctly on their own, I will ask them to do the exercises on their own prior to the start of their class. So instead of just talking in the hallway before class, I expect them to be doing Lisa's exercises. Many of the exercises are done with a partner so the young dancer’s friendship and social needs will also be met while preparing for class. After a dégagé exercise today, one of the nine-year olds turned to me and said, “Wow, Mrs. Bev! When I stand on my leg, I can feel my turnout muscles working ever since we started those new exercises!” Lisa would be proud! I know I am!

Finally, I am very excited to announce that Lisa will be at the August Leap ’N Learn Workshop! She and I will be teaching a session on safely and effectively training turnout in young dancers on August 6th, the special day for returning Leap ’N Learn studios — in other words, all of you! She will also be holding the same training that I attended in Canada on the three days before the LNL workshop. You can click here learn more about this Dance Teacher Training and Health Professional Workshop in Lafayette. She is graciously offering all licensed LNL teachers a 10% discount on the workshop. Simply enter "leapnlearn" at the checkout (the offer is good until April 30, 2015). 

Lisa is very excited to meet everyone involved in Leap ’N Learn and looks forward to sharing, as my niece calls it, her “Miss Lisa exercises!" 

I can't wait to welcome you to Lafayette this August for our annual workshop (don't forget to register as soon as you know you can make it) and to hopefully having you stick around to learn from Lisa too! 

Happy learning!