May

16

Less is More – promoting appropriate effort with External Focus of Attention

The Appropriate Effort, an excerpt from Attention and Focus in Dance In our endeavour to achieve the desired line and movement form as seen from the outside, we regularly adopt a more-is-more approach. We strive ceaselessly in Western dance to do more – pull up more, turn out more, hold more — with the assumption that more effort, more control, more hours and more repetition will eventually lead to mastery. This more-is-more approach persists even though we have the evidence from sport science that more conscious effort, more conscious control and more physical repetition lead us to more of the same result. It is counterproductive and inefficient and can lead […]

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Sep

06

Inspiring Creativity – External Focus of Attention in Practice

Clare Guss-West and David Leventhal In conversation with us, dance educators often bemoan the challenge of creating their own repertoire of diverse EFA ideas appropriate for different learners and skills levels. However, in an interactive exchange of a recent webinar we facilitated, participants suggested a plethora of inspirational EFA feedback. These ideas enhanced aspects of our performance and our artistry for our short dance excerpts based on a poem The Clearing by Morgan Farley. Imagine the range of possible EFA types as a spectrum ranging from more tangible to less tangible foci: REAL   –   DANCE CONTENT   –   SENSORY   –   IMAGINARY Example types of External Focus of Attention: REAL […]

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Mar

30

So why is attentional focus important for dance?

Clare Guss-West is interviewed by the Swiss Dance Association on the origins of her fascination with attention and focus in dance. Get a glimpse into the background of this innovative work. CGW: Dance is my life: it’s been a lifelong path, almost a spiritual path – a physical mediation that provides my daily physical and mental grounding and it’s the place where I feel at home, wherever I am in the world.   In the last few years you have been working intensively on the topic of attention and focus in dance. What particularly fascinates you about this topic?  Returning to dance to dance at 45yrs, my first surprise was that despite 15 years […]

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Nov

25

Supporting Attention Deficit in Dance

Its well researched and documented that individuals suffering from an attention deficit (ADHD) have many more challenges with the learning and coordination of motor skills than individuals without this barrier to learning. So we might imagine that the profession of ‘dancer’ would not be an obvious fit when thinking of a suitable career path. Yet surprisingly, the dance sector boasts a higher than average percentage of individuals with ‘overactive brains’ and displaying the recognised symptoms of ADHD, than the general population. (Shuliman and Terry, 2017) Further research is necessary to understand whether it is the sheer amount of information that dancers are required to process and focus on at any […]

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Oct

29

The best ‘you’ that you can be

mind and attention strategies to free your power and precision. An open access, professional development webinar aimed at Professional Dancers and Trainers. Tuesday 9th November 11am ET / 5pm CET on line Join us for this 5th and final webinar in the ‘Bridging IADMS’ series that I have been hosting this year – Discovering Attention and Focus strategies in practice: Interdisciplinary tools to enhance performance, learning and recovery. This webinar for professional dancers is kindly hosted by Finnish National Ballet and we are joined by artistic director, Madeleine Onne, colleagues Jani Talo, Johanna Osmala, and Laura Nuutinen, and company dancers. We all want to do and be our best, but […]

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Oct

29

Improve Your Dance by Mastering Your Mind

Attentional Focus Learning on the move – professional development Pod-Casts with author Clare Guss-West. Here you can find two easy access podcasts to further your attentional focus in dance learning whilst on the move, thanks to two recent educational recordings: In October I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Aleksandra Efimova for her 5, 6, 7, Eight Pod Cast series on dance and together we discuss the role of the mind in dance and life and much much more. Listen in to our conversation, Episode 123 via apple podcasts or directly on the 567 Eight website: 5 6 7 Eight Website, Episode 123 with Clare Guss-West Apple PodCasts – […]

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May

16

IADMS Webinar: How to use an external focus of attention in effective teaching

Saturday 29th May at 11am EST/5pm CET Dance Educators: The 1st guest of attention and focus specialist Clare Guss-West MA, in the IADMS interdisciplinary webinar series “Discovering attention & focus strategies in practice” is Ellie Kusner, MSc, IADMS Dance Educators’ Committee Chair. Join us and learn more about using Attention & Focus in your Dance context. IADMS – International Association for Dance Medicine & Science. Registration Join Clare Guss-West and Ellie Kusner on a metacognitive journey to explore the role of attention and focus in dance teaching. This relatively uncharted territory in dance provides rich tools for teachers to enhance the performance and learning of dancers. Ellie and Clare bring ‘internal’ and ‘external’ attentional focus approaches to […]

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May

03

Discovering Attention & Focus strategies in practice: a new 5-part free webinar series with IADMS

‘Bridging IADMS’ Webinar Series – May – September 2021 Interdisciplinary tools to enhance performance, learning and recovery. The interdisciplinary skills of Attention and Focus get the exposure they merit through IADMS – International Association for Dance Medicine & Science. I’ll be hosting this 5-part webinar series with amazing guest presenters Ellie Kusner, David Leventhal, Astrid Sherman, Johanna Osmala and Madeleine Onne, artistic director Finnish National Ballet. Open to the public and free access, this 5-part practical, interactive webinar series spans the disciplines and some specialist focus groups of IADMS with the objective of promoting interdisciplinary exchange. The webinar series aims is to provide a background introduction and application to the […]

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Feb

12

And the virtual goes on . . .

Attention & Focus strategies to enhance on line learning and teaching. Still teaching virtually? This is the perfect moment to shift learners attention on line to an external focus whilst dancing by using imagery or focusing in on sensory feedback and proprioceptive feedback. The stress and frustration of on line learning will be relieved and as a secondary benefit – technique progression sharpened despite the virtual environment. Learn more in this Human Kinetics post . . .

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Dec

22

Attention and Focus in Dance – virtual resources for all

2020 has been quite a year and dancers and dance teachers have had a steep learning curve to embrace technology and develop the skills sets to deliver effective distance and on line dancing and learning. The up side of this year is the incredible accessibility to learning that this new virtual medium has afforded. Dancers from as far and wide as China, Canada, the US and New Zealand have been able to participate together in my recent workshops, lectures and conferences. We are sharing knowledge and best practice in dance training in a way previously unheard of in my whole dancing life time. So if you participated in our on […]

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