Kathleen Curwen-Walker L.I.S.T.D
When Dance For Life Academy Principal Kathleen Curwen-Walker L.I.S.T.D operated her previous ballet school in Christchurch NZ, she noticed a growing trend of adults desiring to learn ballet, not just for those who had danced in their youth and longed for a return to the joy of ballet class, but for those who never had that opportunity and hoped to experience what they saw as a more meaningful, artistic way to exercise and express themselves.
Kathleen, having trained in the beautiful Cecchetti method of Classical Ballet, was committed to teaching ballet with the same excellence that she had received, having being taught in Melbourne by Mr Athol Willoughby F.I.S.T.D, O.A.M who himself was trained by one of Enrico Cecchetti’s pupils, Madame Lucy Saranova, to whom Cecchetti awarded one of only 20 of his Teaching Diplomas to teach his method, in England in the 1920’s. Cecchetti at the time was the most sought after teacher of classical ballet and trained the likes of the Prima Ballerina Anna Pavlova. Kathleen feels a keen sense of legacy as she passes this knowledge on to her students today.
Whilst continuing to coach her child students, “Kathy” embarked on also developing an adult-specific program, teaching them from the very foundations, and using the carefully curated Cecchetti levels to build sound ballet technique in her adult students, and thus the Adult Ballet Initiation Course was created, which is now the cornerstone of programs that are offered at her new Auckland studio, since 2016, Dance For Life Academy (prev. Auckland Academy of Adult Ballet).
Through her Ballet Initiation Course, hundreds of adults each year are now able to realize their dream and learn the very basics of ballet, once a joy reserved only for the privileged children of parents who could afford such extras. They now can gain some of the extraordinary poise, flexibility and mindfulness acquainted with professional ballet dancers.
Returning dancers rekindle their love of ballet amongst peers and with a new buzz developing in the ballet world emerging…Ballet for Seniors, Kathleen in 2016 developed her SENIOR SWANS program for dancers over 50. The Senior Swans became well publicized and loved by the curious New Zealand media, on television, radio & magazines, the “flock” grew as ballet for seniors became more and more popular as scientific studies discovered the health & wellness benefits of ballet for the mind and body as we age.
From its firm basis of Classical Ballet, DFLA then added contemporary styles of Jazz, Lyrical and Tap to its class schedule for adult dancers wishing to extend their horizons with Body Conditioning, Floor Barre & BarreFIT adding a the dimension of dance conditioning required to round off well trained dancers.
We believe that at Dance For Life Academy, that we have created something unique for adults to be passionate about, that fills an artistic void often missing in many peoples busy lives.Ballet adds a dimension like no other exercise class in a wholesome, expressive and joyous way. You will be immersed in a complete experience of ballet culture through in-studio lessons, online coaching, relevant and engaging posts via DFLA’s private facebook group, video support for home practice and performance opportunities.
The inclusive, supportive and encouraging community at our elegant dance studio at 1 Pearce Street Onehunga will become your regular “Happy Space” and we can’t wait for you to be part of it!
“Young people can dance steps, but you have to be much older to really dance!”