Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Promotional Toolkit - Ideablob: where ideas grow

Promotional Toolkit - Ideablob: where ideas grow

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Easy and Free Ways to Support Indigenous Pitch!

1. Use as your search engine. Set it as your homepage and/or download the toolbar. Choose Indigenous Pitch as your charity.
2. Use for all your online shopping. Almost all of your favorite stores participate- iTunes, Target, Borders. Just access the actual vendor site through goodshop to have IPDC credited with your purchase. This uses the actual vendor site, no worries about giving your credit card info to a different site.
3. Go to RIGHT NOW and vote for Indigenous Pitch. We could win $10,000!
4. Tell everyone you know about these things! It's quick, easy, painless, and you are already doing #1 and #2 anyway, so help us out!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Creation Inspiration

I am thrilled to announce that Indigenous Pitch is doing two dance camps, in two states, AT THE SAME TIME!

That's right- while the usual team is still in NOLA doing week 2 of our program there, Charles and I (Nicole) are doing one in Ardmore. While we are not running this camp, we are providing the dance portion each day, as well as any other help we can give- child wrangler, cheerleader, gopher, etc. The camp is at the First Baptist Church in Ardmore, on the corner of Athens and St. Pauls, so it is right in the neighborhood. The camp is called Creation Camp and it seeks to develop the creative arts in children- visual art, story-telling, music, theater, and dance.

Creating is what makes humans different from all the other animals. Yet so often, we are afraid to create. What will people think? What will they say? Is it good enough? Am I good enough? At this camp, we are showing children that they have the skills they need to be artists. It doesn't matter if you have had years of training, or skilled parents. An innate part of being human is being a creator. We do not each create the same things, or in the same way. (And how boring it would be if we did!) Our skills may be verbal, musical, theatrical, or physical. Some may draw, some may sculpt, and some can interpret those things into words or movement. Giving the children confidence in their creative skills is important not just for art-making, but for creating confident citizens that see the potential in those around them.

In my time at camp yesterday, our youngest camper made up a word. The rest of the camp fell in love with it and used it the rest of the day! It even found its way into the camp song they wrote together in music class!

During my dance class we worked on steps and shapes. We did positive and negative space- this exercise requires teamwork and an ability to connect. For the first day of camp, connecting physically to new people is a pretty tall order. But our campers did it, and made some beautiful human landscapes.

We also worked on movements the kids already know- keeping with the theme of innate creativity. One of my favorite movement games is to play different genres of music, one right after the other, and watch what happens. Classical music=ballet, even if they have no idea what a ballet step is! Jazz music= struts and wiggling fingers. Rap music=head nodding, arm waving, and street moves. Spanish music=stomps and claps. My personal favorite yesterday was a piece of techno music that inspired a roomful of robots!

Music and dance are universal languages. They are linked in our culture and our souls. Children know this without being told, without being taught. As we get older, we let our fears shut down our joy and our intuition.

Follow the children- listen to the song and let it move you!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Donation Letter

Indigenous Pitch Dance Collective
10 E. Athens Ave. Suite 204
Ardmore, PA 19003

“…I need to play just to get stuff off my mind,” Tiffany, 10 years old. “…thank you so much for coming to teach my daughter. All of our neighbors are gone and she doesn’t have anywhere safe to play,” mother of Derian. “…I am learning the coolest moves!!” Jose, 7 years old.
These are just a few of the many words of encouragement and feedback we have been receiving the last two years from the children and parents that have been to our free dance camp in New Orleans.

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina brought devastation to the city of New Orleans. It is our current mission to help the neglected children of this city through the transformative power of dance. Our goal is to empower them as they rebuild their fractured community and re-establish hope.

Indigenous Pitch Dance Collective, Inc. is a collective of Philadelphia-based dance companies whose goal is to perform works of artistic excellence that reflect and highlight the diversity of our city and its native, homegrown dance styles. Through the art of dance, we also seek to assist and nurture children who have been affected by natural, and/or socio-economic disasters. We further this mission through performances, residencies and workshops throughout the United States and abroad.

This year, Indigenous Pitch will be returning to New Orleans for two weeks, from July 25th to August 8th, for our third year! Again, we will offer visual arts projects, music, theatre, and dance, as a form of therapy and teambuilding. We will continue honoring each camper’s personal story as s/he transforms these dire situations into ones of empowerment and hope. However, none of this can happen without your support. Our budget for the two weeks is $12,000…we are currently $8,000 short!!

By donating to our New Orleans project, you will be giving a voice to the children who have been silenced for so long. As a non-profit organization, we operate solely on donations. Your tax-free gift is vital to helping this mission succeed. No contribution is too small for this otherwise forgotten generation. Please make checks payable to: Indigenous Pitch Dance Collective, Inc., or IPDC, Inc., and mail to 10 E. Athens Ave. Ardmore, PA 19003. You can also donate online at And, please see the attached letter for information on how children can get involved in helping other children!

Thank you so much for joining IPDC in our steadfast efforts to bring hope and community back to the lives of these children.

Nicole LaBonde
Executive Director

I am so easily bored.

So I thought I'd take another job. That's right, why not? 10 hrs/wk at the Pilates studio, 20+/wk at Wellworks and then a few more here and there and the dance studio and gym was not enough for me.

I am now the Executive Director of Indigenous Pitch Dance Collective. IPDC was created 3 years ago by Lisa Welsh, who owns the dance studio where I work. After hearing about the devastation still lingering a year after Hurrican Katrina, she decided to do what she does best: love children through dance. She took a group of instructors from the studio and went to New Orleans for a week to provide a free dance camp.

Since then, the program has grown and we are now providing camps in New Orleans and Philadelphia. Lisa realized that she needed some help with the non-profit, because sometimes, being so close and so passionate can make being objective and business-like difficult. She asked me to come on board as the executive director.

This is currently a volunteer position, although we are working (practically around the clock) to secure funding for our programs. Along that line, I am posting our Donation Letter. If you can help in anyway, it would be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

It's Official!

Well, it's over. That's right, I received final word that I passed my written test! I am now an officially certified Pilates instructor. It is a huge relief to be done, to take my lessons for me and my body, and to really start to teach (and, therefore, hopefully make money).

So, thanks to everyone who made it possible:
  • My husband- super-supportive and encouraging
  • Brie- I learned more than I ever thought there was
  • The girls in the program- you can do it!
  • The rest of my family- for putting up with my crazy ideas

Hopefully this blog will now become more about the challenges and situations of teaching, as well as general wellness and fitness, in conjunction with my new job at Wellworks for You.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Psychology of Teaching

As I am starting to teach more, I am beginning to develop my own style, pace and wording. The problem with this, of course, is that it is mine. Working in an established studio, where some people have been with the same instructor for 5 years, can be a little precarious. They are now used to a particular way of doing things, hearing things, working. And here comes this new instructor, who looks like she's about 12, and asks for something else. Needless to say, there's some resistance. So, how do I break through? With little kids, it's a little easier. They will say "That's not how we do it in Miss So-and-so's class." To which the reply is "Do I look like Miss So-and-so?", and you can move on. Adults, however, require a little more information than that. (Not that I haven't been tempted to try it)

I think there a couple different attitudes of students out there:
  • those willing to give you a chance, mainly because their other instructor said to
  • those who will never like you
  • those who just want the work, they don't care about the personality

and those categories can be broken down into a motivation for being the student in the first place:

  • those who want a workout
  • those who are there for their own "me"time
  • those who are there because they feel like they "should" be (whether it's because everyone else is doing it and it's the hottest thing, guilt, or someone in their life made them come)
  • those who are there as a social outing

In a private lesson, you can connect with a person and get to understand their motivation and their willingness to work. Usually whatever the reason for being there and attitude, I can get through to them. At least for an hour.

Group classes, however, are another story. When I enter a group class, my goal is to give them a good, true Pilates workout, safely. But, I am realizing, because there is more than one person involved, I cannot make all of them happy. The chances of all of them having the same attitude and the same motivation is probably 0.

Last week, I subbed a group class. There were 6 people. 2 were there for the work. They left happy campers, and 1 has joined another of my classes. 1 person wanted nothing to do with me. I tried to offer corrections, and she wouldn't take them. She left frustrated and unhappy. One was disappointed that the class did not take the full hour, yet she said the class was good. My guess is that she was there for "me" time. Her goal was unfulfilled (on all our paperwork, it says "Classes are 50-55min", but whatever). Now know why she is there, if I have her in a class again, I can be more sensitive to the fact that she is the for an hour, an hour she doesn't have to be anywhere else, doing anything else, and she would like to keep it that way. 2 people I couldn't get a good read on. They worked out, they left.

It took me a good deal of reflection to understand that my teaching style is not going to fulfill every one's needs. That's why all the mentors have said "Not everyone will like your class. Don't take it personally." I've wondered, "How do I not take it personally?!" But know I can see that there are just too many variables in a group of people to meet all of their needs.

The attitude someone comes in with can change, if they want it to. I can't make that happen, no matter how much I change up my style. If they want their teacher, that's pretty much ballgame for me. If they want the work, or if they are willing to try, then we're in business. I think your motivation drives your attitude. Again, if they are there for the work, they are going to leave fulfilled. If they came for another reason, I may be able hit that, but it isn't my main goal.

Having these experiences has helped me to clarify my teaching style- Work, technique, safety. But that doesn't mean I get to ignore the fact that people come in looking for something else. I need to learn to balance my goals with theirs.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

As promised

The life updates:
  1. No, I'm not pregnant.
  2. Chris and I are in the process of buying a house. We are in negotiations for a house in Ardmore.
  3. I am joining the staff of a Pilates studio in Bryn Mawr, Pilates for Movement. I plan on being there about 20 hrs/week.
  4. I am re-joining Tegler McHenry and Assoc. as the manager of our new wellness company, Wellworks For You. I will be there the other 20 hrs. Very complimentary jobs.
  5. I'll be home for Easter. I hope to see you all soon!

Sorry! Let's get you updated.

Well, it has been a very, very, very long time since I have written.

First, the Pilates updates (life updates will follow in another post): I passed my Advanced practical with a great score at the beginning of March. I passed 2 of the 3 parts of the Advanced written, so I had to retake 1 section. I am still waiting to hear back on the retake.

Since I am basically done with the program, it is a good time to reflect. First of all, what an incredible experience it was. There really is no substitute for submerging yourself, day after day, in your area of study. Just being around Pilates and great Pilates instructors all the time provides great learning opportunities- you learn almost by osmosis! It is hard to believe that 9 months ago, I had no idea how to teach this work, and was terrified. Now, I'm getting paid to do it (although, sometimes still terrified).

Also, what the program and Pilates has done for me and my body is pretty incredible. I am a walking testimonial to the effectiveness of the method. I now have curves where I should have curves, muscles all over, almost even sides of my back, and am a lot more flexible. I even almost have a left split, which I never thought would happen. I have learned to work with my body and my issues: scoliosis, shoulder tension and I'm currently working through a little injury on my right side. The issues that I have make me a better teacher, as I now know the healing power of the work.

Pilates and this program have been great for my emotional health too. I am much more confident than I was before. I have done something incredibly difficult, that not too many people in the world have done, and done it well. I have achieved something that I wanted for my life. I am healthy and happy.

I have joined the staff of Pilates for Movement in Bryn Mawr. I am so excited to join them and look forward to building a schedule of both private lessons and group classes there.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another Update

I passed the Intermediate Written! I missed some points, but I definitely learned a lot from the feedback.
I also scheduled my Advanced Practical for March 6th. So, moving onward.