Tag Archives: dance

Volunteering—Teaching Gymnastics at Balance180 Gymnastics

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Today was my second time volunteering at Balance 180 Gymanstics for children with special needs. Today I worked with a boy named Liam. Last time I had worked with a young girl. Liam was wonderful to work with because he had so much energy, and he really wanted to do all of the activities! He did a great job jumping off of two feet, jumping from hula hoop to hula hoop, walking on the balance beam, and doing flips on the uneven bars. He struggled a little bit with jumping on the trampoline—I was trying to encourage him to jump higher and to tuck his knees sometimes when jumping–but I am sure that will come with time. I was told not to help him through the exercises like we might with the other kids because Liam may be moved to the more advanced gymnastics group. He really had a lot of energy, and we had to often keep him from bounding ahead to the next station when it was not our turn yet! He was really delightful.  I really enjoy working with Balance180 Gymnastics because they employ the concept of movement as a useful tool for kids with disabilities to express themselves and have fun. I really believe that physical activities (dance in particular, and yoga) have helped me through some of the abuse and suffering in my life, and I hope that I can do the same for these kids. I will not be volunteering next Saturday because of my sister’s wedding, but I will be back for the month of July, and I may be teaching dance at that point along with gymnastics. That would be wonderful because dance is more my area of expertise, although gymnastics and dance have a lot in common!

For more information about Balance 180, click here:

https://www.facebook.com/Balance180Gym

And here is a picture of Liam, the great and enthusiastic gymnast:

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My Thoughts for Today on Dance and Yoga!

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I also enjoy Mermaid pose. It is a very deep stretch in my leg. We do an interesting variation on crunches…one crunch with the legs up, then bring the legs down, then lower them slowly…then back to crunch. Crunch is always on the exhale, not the inhale. You get a better crunch that way. Interesting 🙂

We get to pick the music for the class using Spotify, which is interesting. The other day we were trying to hold Triangle pose to the angry beats of “Paper Planes” by M.I.A. The part where she says “All I wanna do is..(insert gun sounds here) and (more gun sounds) and (sound of shot being fired) and take your money!” our yoga teacher, Stark, announces, “I really hate this song!” and everyone laughed. I don’t mind the song, but it is kind of the wrong song for yoga, in my opinion. It makes me feel angry and aggressive, which is kind of the opposite of how yoga is supposed to make you feel. Maybe I will edit the playlist before next week and put some good music in there.

Today I went to one of Extreme Dance Company at UF’s classes, which are always fun. We did some across-the-floor exercises (switch leaps, good times) and we learned a combination to the song “Pop, Drop, and Roll” which one of Dancin Gators’ former E-board members, Kimberly Barton, had choreographed a fan dance too a while ago. It was interesting to see the differences in choreography between the two girls. I always wanted to participate in both Dancin Gators and Extreme Dance Company while at UF, but I always found myself too overwhelmed with schoolwork to do both. But who knows what the future may hold? I will upload the video of our Extreme dance later today when it is up on Facebook. 🙂
For now, though, here is a video of a combination we worked on a few classes ago. It’s kind of a rough draft, but it was an enjoyable dance for me!

Disclaimer: This is not my choreography. These dancers were choreographed by members of Extreme Dance Company at UF.

“Sweet Nothing” Lyrical Combination, Choreographed by Samantha Marshall