We’ve had a fantastic year and couldn’t fit it all in, but we’ve had a good go. So here’s our Christmas newsletter! Try Ctrl scroll to be able to read it better. If that doesn’t work we’re happy to email or post you a copy.
Tag Archives: Sun Pier House
MDN9… A busy meeting to hear about national big events as well as the usual networking discussions and, because it’s Christmas, mince pies! There will be discussions about U.Dance Medway and Big Dance 2016 and how you can encourage others to get involved. So please join us to have your say, find out more and hear how you can be a part of dance opportunities in Medway.
Tuesday 15th December, 1 – 3pm
At The Tea Room in Sun Pier House, ME4 4HF
In our last Lunchtime Pilates Class we were asked to reach forward and touch our toes during warm up. The class was a mix of complete beginners to intermediates and then those who have been touching their toes all their lives so, as you can imagine, there were various responses. It got me thinking about the health benefits of being just a little bit flexible and able to touch your toes. So many people can’t, but with a little bit of stretching they could benefit a lot!
Touching your toes is about flexibility in the back, hips and thighs, calves and feet so stretching these out goes a long way to helping you touch your toes and, if these four areas continue to stay flexible, the benefits as one gets older are great. Think of how breathing is affected if your back is hunched, or how your stride would be reduced if the calf muscles are short.
The most simple, but quite slow way to get closer to touching your toes is to just try it everyday. Perhaps each time you get out of and into bed reach down and touch your toes, hold it for ten seconds, breath and get a little closer. Repeat this twice everyday and it’s possible you’ll notice a small difference.
If you want to speed up the process and feel the other health benefits more quickly there are some other stretches I would recommend as well. Standing stretches for this are well documented and I have mentioned them below, but as we work with a lot of people who are unable to balance and stretch standing up I’ve decided to outline some seated stretches and adaptations. As always, only moving how you feel like moving. Don’t stretch to hurt yourself, you shouldn’t feel pain, just a gentle pulling. Also, if you already have a physiotherapist, it’s best to check with them before doing this. You wouldn’t want to mess up the things they’ve already helped you achieve!
The most obvious way to stretch your back out is to curl it, also known as the cat stretch. On a chair you should begin sitting upright, spine stacked and legs uncrossed out front and hip width apart. Place your palms on your knees and curve and lift the back to stretch.
The Hips and Thighs
There are many standing stretches for this including lunges, reaching forward and down, twists and lifts. The best stretch to do whilst seated to help you with toe touching is the thigh stretch. Walk yourself to the front third of your chair. Straighten one leg and place the heel on the floor. Keeping the back straight and putting both hands on the still bent leg lean forward slightly. Only go as far as you can without curving your back. Repeat on the other leg!
Very similar to the thigh stretch above, but with subtle differences to work a different muscle. You still move to the front third of the chair, put one leg forward and sit up straight, but this time your hands hold each side of the chair and your feet flex so your toe points to the ceiling. Repeat with the other leg!
There are more than 100 muscles in the feet and many of them, the ones in your soles, get involved when touching your toes. Grab a tennis ball and put it under one foot. Roll it around for up to a minute to warm up, loosen and stretch the muscles. It will feel like quite a a massage. Don’t forget the other foot. If you don’t have a tennis ball try lifting the heel, keeping the toes on the floor. Repeat, slowly padding through the feet.
Once you’ve done these stretches try touching your toes again, I’m sure you will be closer whether your trying to touch them whilst seated or standing. Don’t stop there though, repeat the stretches at least once a day and you’ll get there eventually.
At the end of the Pilates class I mentioned above, we did cool down and had to touch our toes again. Grunts of surprise came from everyone when they realised they were all that little bit closer! it just shows how much of a difference a few stretches can make!
Good luck and please let us know if you reach your toes!
This is meant to be more of a factual post, but if you want to come to Pilates and you live near Sun Pier House in Chatham, we do it every Tuesday, 12.15 – 1pm and it’s wonderfully relaxing! Click HERE for more information.
So for now we’ve sadly had to put Croquis Events on hold and so the pages are going to be removed from the website. We didn’t want to loose everything that’s been uploaded though so you can now click HERE for the links to the old Croquis Pages.
I had a wonderful time working with both Richard Squarecube, the original inspiration behind Croquis Events, and Marissa Mardon, who continued Croquis Events with me when Richard was unable to. What a fantastic time we had and perhaps we’ll be back someday with a one off Croquis Event!???
Medway Dance Network, or MDN for short was recently created after a conversation over coffee between Heather Burgess of Sun Pier House, Luci Napleton and I. We thought it was about time that people in the dance world of Medway had the opportunity to come together on a regular basis.
It’s in the very early stages of development and it’s hoped that members (anyone interested in, working in or developing dance related activities in Medway) will influence it and make it their own. So far 2 monthly meetings have taken place and Medway Dance Network is beginning to get an identity. It’s even got a logo!
The next meeting will be held next week…
Thursday 26th March, 5-7pm
At Sun Pier House, Chatham
Here at The Right Step Dance Company we are taking an active role to help ensure its success and will be involved both as a company and as the individuals already involved in TRS. The TRS Teachers are getting involved both as TRS Teachers and in their many other roles as dance teachers, dance company owners and workers for other companies that relate in some way.
As well as supporting the organisation of a monthly networking event, we are already providing some of the first classes to be rolled out under the umbrella of Medway Dance Network. Ballet with Natalie and Clare and Pilates with Taigh are already under way and there are more classes to come.
We hope to see you at the next meeting and welcome you to share about your projects and needs or to come along to listen and find out more about what’s going on for dance in Medway.
To join the MDN mailing list please email Heather, firstname.lastname@example.org or Rebecca, email@example.com
November 2014 was the month to try out Croquis!
With Richard Squarecube, we held three taster sessions at Sun Pier House. There were different dancers to sketch each week, lovely refreshments and plenty of arts materials every week. We thought it might be nice to blog in photos as that’s really going to give you more of an idea of what Croquis is…
‘It’s wonderful to have such a vigorous energetic session. It makes us respond without thinking too much about it. You can draw instinctivly then. It’s an instinctive reaction. ‘
Taster Session Two, ‘Explore Croquis in your Own Way’
Artists who now understood Croquis a bit more brought their own materials to use, Richard bought us all a Croquis badge, we added a prop and did a dance focusing just on hands to add interest.
‘In situ, you have to go with very broad strokes in order to capture the essence of what’s going on, but the lack of time cuts out self censure and you end up with images that you’d never draw if you had more time. I love it, it’s unlocked something in me that I never even knew was there.’
Auto Awesome Video of Croquis Events Taster Two…
We were in the paper!
Taster Event Three, ‘What Can We Do With This?’
The Medway Messenger reported on The Right Step on Friday 26th September 2014. We were on Page 37. How exciting!
Click on the image to see a larger version that you can read. Use Ctrl, scroll to zoom in even further.
Our Promo Croquis Event was a great success!
Richard Squarecube of Squarecube Artisans and I have been plotting Croquis Events for a while now. Having been unable to get them off the ground for one reason or another we are pleased to announce that, having joined forces with Sun Pier House, we now have three taster events planned for November and the official launch of monthly events will be January 2015, but more about that in a moment.
Yesterday evening we were joined by a few invited artists and dancer, Clare Wilders (yes, the TRS Teacher who also blogs on our website!) for a promo session. The idea? To gain feedback, photos and video footage to make future Croquis Events excellent!
Croquis is a traditional French art form. It’s a little like life drawing, but the models move occasionally. Richard and I have taken this a step further by adding dancers. The artists have to sketch very quickly, capturing the shapes or movements they see.
There were a few nerves at first, but they were completely squashed during the first go. Artists stood ready, drawing implements in hand, someone pressed play on the iPod and Clare and I were off… very, very slowly!
“I enjoyed the taster and could have carried on for hours…it was really out of my comfort zone yet such a refreshing change to sketch quickly and with abandon, not worrying about the images being perfect nor the end result. I ended up experimenting and creating images unlike anything I have done before using unfamiliar materials (to me) such as charcoal and pastel.”
The artists used various materials, including an iPad, to capture what they saw. Some used multiple pieces of paper, finishing each round with a floor covered in sketches, others draw movement upon movement and created a layered effect. Its was apparent everywhere that, whoever you are, whatever your experience, the event was inspiring.
From a dancer’s point of view Croquis Events are very self-indulgent. They are an opportunity to move however you feel like moving (slowly of course!), really getting into the moment and forgetting the stresses of the day.
As a Dancer how was the event for you?
“It was great actually, quite selfish, because it meant I could get involved in the music and express it how I felt at the time.”
Clare, Croquis Event Dancer
I especially enjoyed the moments when artists moved into the space to dance. First I danced with Jo, an artist who, I’m told, will try anything. Jo’s influence made me move differently and she gave the surrounding artists further inspiration.
Isabella joined me towards the end and we focused on hand movements. It’s an unusual experience for a dancer to focus on the many ways our hands can move. We were told afterwards that, though our movements were intricate, varied and interesting, for an artists, they were a huge challenge. “Us artists don’t draw hands often, we really should” said Richard. Perhaps this is a challenge we focus on at some point!
Everyone asked when they can have another go so we’re pleased to have dates ready and set! To keep up to date and see some more photos and our video please like our brand new Facebook Page or see the Croquis Events web page.
The first three dates for your diary…
Sunday 16th November, 2-3.30pm ‘An Introduction to Croquis Events’
Sunday 23rd November, 2-3.30pm ‘Explore Croquis Your Own way’
Sunday 30th November, 2-3.30pm ‘What Can We Do With This?’
All held at Sun Pier House Gallery and Tea Room, Medway Street, Chatham, ME4 4HF
Just £15/session or £10/session if you bring your own materials.
Book one of the limited places now…