Sharon Howells School of Dance has operated from the Upper Riccarton-Avonhead area of Christchurch since 1999. The school is recognized as one of the best ballet schools not only in Christchurch but also throughout New Zealand.
Ballet classes are held from Pre School (four years old) to Grade 8/Intermediate level.
Silver Swans classes are also held at our main studio
The work covered is based on the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) programme for children and students which provides:
Thursday 9th February - Thursday 6th April (incl.)
Thursday 4th May - Saturday 1st July (Incl.)
Monday 17th July - Saturday 9th September (Incl.
Saturday 7th October - Saturday 2rd December (Incl.)
Pink Ballet Tutu
PRE PRIMARY PRIMARY
GRADE 1 GRADE 2
GRADE 3 AND GRADE 4
GRADE 5 UP
All uniforms can be purchased at Dance Pacific, corner of Colombo St and Stanley St
|5.45-6.45PM||INTER FOUNDATION/GRADE 6|
|6.00-7.00PM||GRADE 6 (A ONLY)|
|6.00-7.00PM||INTER FOUNDATION/GRADE 6 (A&B)|
|4.00 - 5.00PM||GRADE 3|
All students PRIMARY and above to sit full exam at the end of the year must attend 2 classes per week throughout the year.
Here are my thoughts as a dance teacher and how I operate. Everyone and every school are different and every student is unique.
For those who know me and work in my studio understand I do not own a dance studio for the money. I own it as I love to teach. Something I have done for over 40 years and still I am learning from the students. I have a passion to see young people grow in their strength and confidence and appreciate good safe classical dance training. Only the student themselves will determine if they want to follow the career of a dancer, but if they have the correct foundations laid then anything is possible. As parents and teachers, we should be there to open the doors of opportunity as much as we can so that by the time the student is of age then they themselves find a passion on what they want to do in their life.
I feel I am more like a Master. If I were a teacher, I would begin class on time, finish on time, and not worry if a student misses the next class and would only correct physical and musical mistakes and steps.
But I would like to think I am more than that when I teach, as I study the students on what makes them tick so I get to understand who they are.
Not every child is going to be a Great Ballerina but if trained in a correct way they do achieve good posture, poise, self-confidence, discipline, musicality, creativity, perseverance, respect, acceptance and understanding of body alignment and strength which carries them through to so many other possibilities of their career choice. It is this disciplined poise that Dance Students stand out amongst their peers. As I endeavor to teach most of the students, the school has a strong feeling of family. Classes are run with discipline, respect and fun for all.
Students learn in the school to work with what they have been born with. I have seen a lot of young teachers wanting students that have the physical ability from nature, but it is the good wise teacher that can bring out the depth in correct safe training that will be the foundations of a good dancer.
Students that work with continuity in a methodical way learn that results happen, and this can be a gift to adapt to whatever path they wish to follow in life.
After 5 years in our school, students begin to have what I call ‘a Mystic Thing.” It is what they rely on as when they are dancing, be it, good or bad. Students that believe in the Mystic Thing, realise that Dance helps them when life deals them the cards of self-doubt and despair.
In my school I am realistic with the students building on their strengths as a human being but also, they are made aware of their weaknesses, so they become more balanced young people. Students learn not to be too critical of themselves but to see what is good and fix what is not so good. They learn to start to think and focus their minds.
To me teaching is pulling out from the student’s body everything that is possible for them to pull out to make them aware of their own potential.
In all my years of teaching it has been about teaching me to teach – and I’m sure with students of today there is still a lot more for me to learn. I take my work seriously but not myself and this is something I instill in my students.
I love the drama of Dance, but it is the Music. Dance is the words and feeling the Music brings to the core of your soul. Students learn to listen to music not just to hear it.
In our school I pride myself to protect students physically and more importantly their mental wellbeing. I have been in this business far too long to see great dancers and young people destroyed by the pressure put on them by themselves, their friends and families and teachers. Personally, when they succeed in something I say Well Done! But if they miss out on an examination mark or an achievement or are disappointed. I say with a wink Well done for trying! To me it should not make much difference. As a friend of mine who was Knighted gave a wonderful reply the day after his award’: “I still got to take the rubbish bins out today!”
What is produced from that student comes from that individual alone. Teachers, friends and families should be there to share their ups and downs but always with support. Perfectionism is very common among young dancers and sport players. Friends and family may wonder why someone would put such strain and demand on their minds and body. My point of view is “Why strive to be perfect when perfection is impossible?” Positive Perfectionism! Yes, now that’s possible.
Lydia Ko recently said after a Golf Tournament “As long as I am still having fun then I ask of myself nothing more”.
Finally young people are only young for a very short time. It is for my generation to empower these young people for them to enjoy their youthful experience with memories that they can cherish and use the tools they can carry them through the rest of their lives. It is just a matter for these young people to explore themselves and to find realistic views of doing their own personal best.
I am thankful to parents who entrust their children to come and attend lessons in our school and so they feel that even if they can’t quite get to the Moon they still can dance with the Stars with pride.
ROYAL Academy of Dance Reg. Teacher
Royal Academy International Examiner
Royal Academy Silver Swans Licensee and Tutor