Left, Deirdre Becher (Fiddle), Max Becher (Flute) and Tom Becher (Piano) play an Irish Tune for the large crowd that gathered at the Blanchard Community Library Right, Above are the Irish dancers that entertained the Blanchard Community Library audience. The dancers were Alouette and Eowyn Pettit, Zoe and Gianna Becher, Claire and Jacinta Quackenbush, Maire and Aidan Wood, Sela and Lilia Raley, Megan Daly, Mary Nunez, Abby Hidley, Lauren Fairall, Clare Bagdazian, Trulee-Grace Burris

“Bows and Toes” School of Traditional Music and Dance entertain Blanchard Library audience

March 14, 2014
Santa Paula News

“Bows and Toes” School of Traditional Music and Dance brought their dancers to the Blanchard Community Library recently introducing the crowd to Irish music and Irish Dance. Max and Deirdre Becher love Irish traditional music and dance with a passion.  They founded “Bows and Toes” in order to share the joy with people.

“Bows and Toes” offer group classes, private lessons, summer camps, performances, books and CDs, all with the aim of making traditional music and dance more accessible to those who are interested.

They offer classes and lessons in Santa Paula and you can learn more by logging into their website at www.bowstoes.com.

“Bows and Toes” teaches Irish step dance to boys and girls both soft-shoe and hard-shoe solo step dances, as well as Ceili dances and other group choreagraphies. They also branch out into other folk dancing traditions, such as Cape Breton step dancing, and American/Canadian square dancing.

“Bows and Toes” holds two recitals annually in Ojai, where they bring both Ojai and Santa Paula classes together with their fiddle students for a performance. 

Rather than encouraging children through competition, they use performances as their primary motivation for improvement.  This takes the competitive stress out of the dancing experience, and still gives kids a motivation to practice and improve.  Teachers keep careful track of each student’s progress individually, and give a detailed, personalized written assignment for weekly home practice.  They also offer prizes and incentives for students to practice at home, and recognize the “most practiced” students at each dance recital.  They believe strongly in the role that home practice plays in each child’s improvement, and do everything they can to encourage it. 

“What will my child get by joining your dance classes?”

 * Weekly dance instruction from teachers

 * Detailed, personalized practice sheets for home practice

    * Irish dance accompaniment CD

    * Online instructional dance videos as a memory aid during the week

    * Performance opportunities, both “in house” recitals, and public performances (optional)

“What can I expect my child to learn in dance class?”

As students move through the three levels towards advanced class, they will learn the following moves and steps.  All dance steps taught are either traditional dances, or steps created by the teachers within the vein of those traditions.

 * Irish softshoe basic dance steps

  * 8 reel steps

    * 7 jig steps (Light Jigs, Single Jigs, Slip Jigs)

    * Irish hardshoe basic dance steps

  * 10 hardshoe dance steps (including traditional set dances)

  * Cape Breton dance techniques and steps

  * Twohand, fourhand, sixhand and eighthand figure dances

 * Large group choreographies (hardshoe and softshoe)

    * Cape Breton square dances

“Bows and Toes” also offers private lessons for both classical violin and Irish fiddle. Their method is based on the Susuki style of teaching violin, which involves extensive ear training and listening exercises in addition to learning to read music. Students are free to choose whether they learn classical violin or Irish fiddle, or a combination of both.

For more information check the website www.bowstoes.com or call Max or Deirdre at 805 755-6828.

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