This year J’Adore Dance celebrates its 12th anniversary. Over the years J’Adore has had thousands of dancers pass through its doors and has grown from a portable studio started by Jessica Baudin-Griffin offering classes at different locations, to a permanent studio with two teaching spaces in Lendrum Shopping Centre now owned by Chantel Sampson and Jenna Brenan. J’Adore’s philosophy of offering non-competitive dance in a supportive and welcoming environment has helped to make it a favourite among dancers of all ages and abilities. They believe that movement is more important than medals and continuously updating their curriculum as well as creating new programming keeps them current and fresh. But what sets J’Adore Dance apart from the rest? – Their award winning programming, their expertly designed curriculum, their all-inclusive philosophy- Yes, all of these things but most importantly their highly educated and trained staff!
Did you know that all J’Adore Dance teachers hold university degrees in either Education, Dance, Science, Music Therapy, Psychology or are currently working towards completing their degree? Many J’Adore teachers also have additional training beyond their initial degree, holding Masters’, PhDs, and/or additional certifications such as Yoga Instruction, Pre/Postnatal fitness, Coaching, Fitness Leadership, Infant Massage, Integrative dance and non-violent crisis intervention. This makes them experts in curriculum design and delivery.
Owners Chantel Sampson and Jenna Brenan both hold Bachelor of Education degrees with distinction from the University of Alberta. They were both nominated for Excellence in Teaching awards and together they have a combined 28 years of teaching experience. Chantel and Jenna have been classroom teachers in inclusive arts settings as well as having designed and implemented dance programs for Edmonton Public and Catholic Schools. They also recently became members of the Alberta Dance Educators Association and completed their Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification holding a designation in Exercise Theory and Group Exercise with portable equipment and are working on their post-natal exercise certification. Both attend yearly dance educator courses such as the Summer Dance Teacher Intensive offered at the Creative Dance Center in Seattle, Dance Teacher Web Summit in Las Vegas, or the annual Alberta Teacher’s Association Fine Arts Council’s Annual Conference (where they will be presenting this fall). Chantel also recently returned from New York where she completed a Certificate in Performing Arts Healthcare through the American College of Sports Medicine.
But that’s not all! All staff are encouraged to have and maintain their first aid and level C CPR. All instructors teaching Intellidance® classes have gone through the Intellidance® method certification program developed by Jessica Baudin-Griffin. The in-person certification is a comprehensive course including 40 hours of in class learning, observations, written assignments and practical assessments.
As a staff they also come together multiple times throughout the year to review lesson plans, discuss things such as choreographic process and technique and dancer skill development and assessments, as well as to review basic teaching techniques for working with dancers of all ability levels. Instructors are able to attend each others’ classes at the studio as a form of peer professional development. J’Adore also organizes and offers new professional development opportunities for its staff.
But why is all of this so important?
Having a highly trained staff that not only understands dance and movement but how children learn and what developmental stages they are going through makes them experts in the classroom. They understand that children are not ready to skip before they can hop on one foot. That if a child is not able to isolate and ground their lower half of their body that there may be some emotional grounding concerns that will be present in the classroom setting and will need addressing. That including shoulder stabilization activities such as bear walk and crab walks not only work on upper body and core strength and coordination but are vital for fine motor development such as penmanship. Emerging studies reveal a substantial connection between movement and cognition, meaning that the more students move, the better they may learn. Highly trained dance teachers understand this and can make a significant, life-long impact on children and adolescents.
At J’Adore Dance, they feel having this level of instructor knowledge and understanding of the growing and developing child is absolutely necessary to giving each child the very best experience and is why their programs are such a success. J’Adore classes not only offer a safe, encouraging environment for kids, but also provide children and adolescents important developmental opportunities. Because of their ongoing training and professional development J’Adore instructors are able to recognizing the nuances of a child’s stage of development and drawing on their enhanced background knowledge and depth of experience they are able to find ways to modify an activity to meet the needs of each individual dancer. In essence J’Adore Dance has instructors that are highly trained in all areas of dance and movement education and great teachers and great owners make J’Adore Dance the number one choice for inclusive, non-competitive dance education and dance fitness.
Looking forward to a wonderful year of Dance!
Chantel Sampson – Artistic Director of Full Year Performance Programming
Jenna Brenan – Artistic Director of Sessional Programming