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presenting a brand new dance program Storytime Adventure Club
New Program! Storytime Adventure Club

UGOT Active Kids presents an exciting brand new program – Storytime Adventure Club!

Designed for pre-school and kindergarten children!

Exploring Beloved Characters from Children’s TV Series & Movies through Dance, Musical Theatre, and Drama.

Musical Theatre at any age can stimulate a lifelong love for performance, fun-filled storytelling, and character-building. Now you can tell the same stories as those you see on screen, with 10 lessons devoted to the most popular characters of children’s’ TV shows today!

Introducing Storytime Adventure Club, where “Chase is On the Case”, and so are you!  Featuring a wide variety of weekly themes inspired by Peppa Pig, Frozen, Aladdin and Paw Patrol! Children will explore the story behind their favourite theme songs and participate in a wide range of activities like dancing, acting, imaginative play, and storytelling while developing confidence, concentration, memory, and presentation skills.

Contact us today to learn more or book your program!

 

 

 

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Instructor Spotlight Headshot of Mariam Baklytska
Instructor Spotlight! Mariam Baklytska

Introducing Mariam Baklytska – amazingly versatile and talented dance teacher based in New York!

Mariam is a former Ukrainian gymnast and professional dancer based in NYC, specializing in a variety of styles like hip-hop, street/commercial jazz, broadway jazz, and dancehall.

Back home Mariam had a privilege of working with TODES, one of the most famous and prestigious dance companies in Russia. Mariam participated in international tours, TV shows, performances for music awards and other special events.

Since moving to New York, Mariam got certified at Broadway Dance Center, with the Professional 2-year Program and received her Pilates Teacher certification.

Mariam is currently fully submerged in NYC dance and teaching scene by being active in several areas of the industry: working as a teacher assistant at Broadway Dance Center, teaching elementary and middle school programs, as well as being a dance instructor with ASPIRA of New York and UGOT Active kids.

Performance Photo of Mariam Baklytska

“Being a dance teacher, it is really important to focus on making each class a joyful experience so my students can really step out of their comfort zone, explore new moves and be comfortable to share their own freestyle moments. Dancing is supposed to be fun, it should make dancers and everyone around them happy. I love gathering kids together and letting them do a little dance-off in front of the audience. It always creates an incredible experience for my students. I usually prefer to complete my teaching season with a unique showcase. This encourages children to learn about performing, stage presence, teamwork, and explore a story behind each dance piece.”

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Headshot of Sarah Robertson, UGOT Active Kids Dance and Yoga Teacher
Sarah Robertson – Featured UGOT Active Kids Instructor

Introducing Sarah Robertson – Our Featured UGOT Active Kids Instructor!

While Sarah currently teaches Dance, Yoga and Active Toddler programs for UGOT Active Kids in Toronto, she grew up in Vancouver.  While her formal dance studies didn’t start until she was 16, she was always dancing around the house and at her church.  She looked up to older teenagers who danced and admired their expression and passion.  “I have to do what they’re doing,” she found herself thinking.  Sarah had always had interest in theatre and had wanted to be an actor, but soon found herself drawn to dance.  She studied tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop and contemporary dance and then completed a 4-year semi-professional program called Mirror Dance Program which focused on dance and choreography.  Sarah continued her artistic education by studying theatre with Rosebud School of the Arts in Alberta.  After 6 years there, she continued heading East, moved to Toronto last year and had the experience of being a Governor General Performing Arts Protégé, under the mentorship of Tom Jackson.

After moving to Toronto is when Sarah started with UGOT Active Kids.  When speaking about the work she does with UGOT, Sarah says she appreciates that the programming is recreational.  Because of the non-competitive programming, as an instructor, she has the freedom to customize her classes to what each individual group needs.  “I know many dancers who left dance because comparison broke down their self-esteem,” she explains.  “Because UGOT focuses more on play and expression, rather than competition, I was drawn to it right away.  I love encouraging playfulness or silliness.  In structured days at school, there is so much ‘Pay attention and focus’.  But I get to have them move their bodies and express themselves.”

Sarah’s interest and passion in play and the importance of it is something she has pursued for years.  Over the last year, she has been researching the subject in more depth, looking at studies on the health benefits of play, and how both children and adults learn better through it.  She is putting her passion and knowledge towards a new theatre piece that she is producing – a playful and experimental piece about birthdays.

In her spare time, Sarah enjoys reading books, especially biographies of artists.  She names “Born To Run” by Bruce Springsteen as one she particularly enjoyed.  “I felt like I need what [he has] to say about life, success and sustainability of an artistic career.”  Another artist who Sarah draws inspiration from is Roberto Benigni, the director and star of “Life is Beautiful”.  She admires that he is playful and child-like.  “He’s always talking about ‘Chase down happiness.  Find it wherever you are.’”  And naturally, because of the playful nature of children, she gets inspiration from the young people she works with.  “I love kids so much,” Sarah gushes.  “They inspire me every time I see them.”

Sarah Robertson - UGOT Active Kids Dance and Yoga Teacher

Pop Quiz

  1. What would people be surprised to learn about you? I once did a vow of silence for 31 days!
  2. If you could travel anywhere right now, where would it be? Scotland. Those are my roots and I haven’t yet been.
  3. If you could live anyplace, where would that be? East coast of Canada for SURE! Newfoundland or Nova Scotia. I love the laid-back vibe, the story-telling culture, the kitchen parties and hospitality.
  4. What languages do you speak? English and Gibberish (I love playing around with language and speaking nonsense for fun!)
  5. What is your favourite thing about teaching dance to kids? I love kids so much and how much room there is for playing. They’re so ready to be silly and creative and express themselves. All I want to do is encourage that spirit and see it come out through whatever program I’m running.
  6. Who or what inspires you? Roberto Benigni (the actor from Life is Beautiful – if you haven’t seen it, I insist you do at some point!). He is so playful, so full of life, so free from lots of cultural/societal limitations. He is a very bright soul and speaks of chasing down happiness, looking for it everywhere until we find it, of falling in love NOW because that’s what we’re here on earth for! And children. Children inspire me EVERY TIME I interact with them. They’re so free, like Roberto. 🙂
  7. What’s your favourite food? Hagen Daas Coffee Ice Cream, good pink lemonade, my mom’s lasagna and spaghetti, and grapes!
  8. What is your favourite thing to do in your free time? I love really settling into a good book. Getting cozy, wrapped in a blanket or out in a park, and reading away the day. I also love spontaneous adventures, like exploring a new part of the city.
  9. Does dancing run in your family? Dancing doesn’t really run in my family, though my mom was a cheerleader like I was when she was young!

Interview and Article by Jeanette Hedley

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AJ Sharp – Featured UGOT Active Kids Instructor

Introducing AJ Sharp – Our Featured UGOT Active Kids Instructor!

For AJ Sharp, dance is her passion and her profession. “When I’m not dancing or teaching, what do I do with myself?” she says with a laugh.

When she was 11 years old, a friend of her mother’s – who owned a studio – got AJ started in Jazz and Hip-Hop. She didn’t look back. She started studying ballet and was a competitive dancer throughout high school. She first started teaching as a student teacher at her home studio, then eventually took on her own classes. She attended Oakland University in Michigan, on scholarship, and majored in dance. “There was no minoring in anything else, there was always just dance,” AJ states. After graduation, she moved to New York and started performing.

Inspiration comes easily to AJ through other art forms, be it a film or piece of music. In her last year of school, she watched a film that was selected by being “the most random title on Netflix” -then found herself creating her senior project inspired by the movie. But it was doing a choreographic mentorship with Doug Verone and Dancers that had the greatest impact on AJ’s artistic work and life. “[Working with Doug and Company], I knew I wanted to move to New York,” said AJ, “They were my biggest inspiration”.

AJ Sharp UGOT Active Kids Dance and Yoga Teacher in New York      AJ Sharp Headshot - UGOT Active Kids Dance and Yoga Teacher      AJ Sharp photo - UGOT Active Kids Dance and Yoga Teacher in New York

AJ continues to perform and create, happily living in NYC. Recently she has started her own company: Sharp Dance Company, a modern/contemporary focused company that works on experimental dance theatre in New York City (check it out on social media: Facebook @SHARPDanceCo and Instagram @sharp_danceco). Her passion and inspiration for dance is passed on to the students that she works with through UGOT Active Kids. “Introducing dance, music, meditation at a young age is important,” she says. “It becomes part of their lives from the start and helps them cope as they grow.”

Having taught with UGOT Active Kids since 2013, many young people in New York have been fortunate to discover a love for movement through their time with AJ. She leads classes and workshops in dance, yoga and rhythm. “I love that that I get to teach very young children. Nothing holds them back. They have no inhibitions. They hear the music, they dance and it feels good.”

She too, feels fortunate for the opportunities given to her through working with the company. “UGOT Active Kids really helped launch my teaching career in New York. It was the first teaching job I got in the city. It allowed me to connect with kids and day care centers. It made me love connecting with young kids and teaching.”

10-Question Pop Quiz

  1. What would people be surprised to learn about you? I LOVE junk reality tv! I know way too much about reality tv shows.
  2. If you could travel anywhere right now, where would it be? Anywhere tropical! 
  3. If you could live anyplace, where would that be? I love living in NYC, but if I could have a second home it would be somewhere on the beach.
  4. What languages do you speak? English. I took Spanish all throughout high school, but it stopped there.
  5. What is your favourite thing about teaching dance to kids? I love teaching dance to kids because they are not afraid to move their bodies! Especially the younger kids. I love seeing their smiles and knowing they are having so much fun.
  6. Who or what inspires you? Doug Varone and Dancers are a big dance inspiration for me. They are a big reason why I moved to NYC.
  7. What’s your favourite food? I have to try so hard to resist French fries!
  8. What is your least favourite exercise? I hate running, but I’m starting to work that into my gym routine so I can hopefully hate it less.
  9. What is your favourite thing to do in your free time? I enjoy reading and learning about astrology. A hobby of mine is to read tarot cards.
  10. Does dancing run in your family? I’m the only “dancer” in my family!

Interview and Article by Jeanette Hedley

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Yoga and Dance Programs for Kids in Chicago

“Chicago still remains a Mecca of the Midwest—people from both coasts are kind of amazed how good life is in Chicago, and what a good culture we’ve got. You can have a pretty wonderful artistic life and never leave Chicago.” – Harold Ramis

Kayla White and Andrew Coleman both thrive personally as artists and contribute professionally as teachers in Chicago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Involved in the performing arts since a young age, Kayla now delights in sharing her artistic passions with young people. She studied theater in high school, did her undergraduate degree in Musical Theatre and continues to both dance and sing. In addition to teaching dance programs for UGOT, she is also a yoga instructor. “I got into yoga before I realized I did. My university movement classes had yoga woven into it.” After graduating, when she decided to try out some yoga classes, she discovered “Something like home that I didn’t realize was home.” She chose to continue her yoga studies by traveling to Bali to participate in a yoga teacher training program. “It was 6 days a week, 7am to 7pm studies. We had Saturdays off and after the course, I stayed longer. We’d go into the city and do all sorts of fun stuff there. I took the month of August off to be there and be fully present.” Now settled in Chicago, Kayla teaches at a yoga studio, participates in theater and dance, as well as teaching for UGOT.

Andrew was inspired by dance from a young age. His interest in dance stems from watching his sisters and family. “At family events, we’d get together and dance. ‘Show me your moves!’ they’d say. ‘Make routines with your sisters.’ It intrigued me to do more.” His studies were initially focused on music and baseball, but he found dance to be a calling. Jazz was the first formal dance class he took. “It opened my eyes to music and movement,” he said.

Recently Andrew was involved in a touring production called “The Good Body”. He created the show with a disabled artist, exploring how one moves in a disabled body. “I spent a month creating the show, learning how to move like his body, learning his everyday struggles and how to put it on the stage.” The show traveled to New York and included a lecture along with the performance. When asked about other passions, Andrew replied, “Dance is all I know. It’s all I do.”

While Andrew and Kayla come from different training and experiences, together they share a passion for the work they do as teachers.

“What’s great about teaching,” Kayla explains, “if I’m not having a good day or week, I leave classes feeling better connected to my creativity. Kids give a fresh perspective. They have no expectations of better or worse, they just want to be there. It’s rejuvenating.”

Andrew agrees. “The kids I work with [inspire me]. Moves I’ve created independently come from watching them move.” While he personally gains inspiration from his students, he strives to spark their creativity too. “Every time I come in, they think they know what’s coming next, so I switch it up. I ask, ‘What can you do as an individual?’” He sees first hand how the students benefit from his approach. “Dance builds their self-esteem. I see breakthroughs. When they’re encouraged, they’re not being afraid.”

Kayla believes in the importance and value of the programming she delivers through UGOT Active Kids. “Preschools in Chicago have good programming. What we do compliments it well. Children learn how to pay attention to their bodies, listening. Kids come out of their shell, discover they have a voice. They realize who they are.” She also believes UGOT’s clientele benefit from the variety of teachers available. “We all bring different things to share and give a new perspective, even if it’s something they’ve done before.”

The passion that Andrew and Kayla bring to their work is infectious. Students in their classes reap the benefits, but the feeling is mutual.

“I love working with kids,” Andrew gushes. “It’s the best start to my day. I can’t stress it enough. Their smiles . . . It’s a great experience.”

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Yoga @ Work for Fitness and Team Building!

UGOT Active Kids Presents YOGA AT WORK designed to bring the benefits of Yoga practice into your workplace. Let us create a custom ONSITE Yoga program that will improve employee morale and productivity while promoting optimal health and harmony. Our instructors are Yoga experts with impressive credentials, training and a wealth of experience.

There are many benefits to our YOGA AT WORK PROGRAM including:

  • Improved energy and focus, leading to a boost in performance levels
  • Creating a sense of teamwork and connectedness
  • Reduced stress, absenteeism, and turnover
  • Improved decision making, creativity, and productivity

We will be happy to create a custom program based on your budget, schedule, and space:

  • Choose from weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly classes to one-time events
  • Flexible scheduling (early mornings, lunch time, or after-work arrangements)
  • Variety of programs to work with your space (try our Chair Yoga series if space is limited!)

YOGA AT WORK provides a convenient and affordable way for your employees to be healthier and happier.

Contact us today to see how YOGA AT WORK can help you revitalize your workforce!

Phone Inquiries: 888-224-7774 ext.229

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New! Online Interactive Classes

UGOT Active Kids is now offering real-time interactive programs streamed directly into classrooms. Children have fun interacting with their instructor and seeing themselves in real time on the screen.

EDUCATIONAL, ENGAGING, AND FUN

Children learn to enjoy the benefits of physical movement while getting introduced to the elements from the common core subjects. Lesson plans are supported by themed backgrounds, music, and storytelling.

AVAILABILITY, CONSISTENCY, & QUALITY

Our most experienced and popular instructors are now available anywhere, anytime, regardless of location. Our consistent and high-quality programs are delivered by the dynamic and talented instructional faculty, with every instructor handpicked for their extensive professional training, impressive credentials, and ability to deliver exciting, engaging, and high-energy classes.

EASY ONE TIME SET UP

Equipment is set up and tested in less than an hour by a staff member or UAK representative. The only requirement is a hi-speed Internet connection.

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2014-2015 School Year at UGOT Active Kids!

As leaves are changing color and weather is getting cooler, we can’t be more excited to start the new school year. Our instructors and thousands of children are waiting to get started on practicing new dance moves, mastering challenging Yoga poses or experimenting with new percussion sounds.

The annual instructor meeting took place at the Central Toronto Office on September 5th. It was inspiring to see our talented instructors full of energy and motivation to get back into classrooms where they will facilitate workshops or curriculum classes, creating fun and unforgettable experiences for our students.

The annual meeting was a huge success; the agenda was to focus on the new developments such as company’s focus on providing programs for childcare centers, the launch of Active Toddlers Program, and the new and improved internal processes and tools to help our instructors be more efficient and in sync with the overall company programs and objectives. The meeting was wrapped up with instructor awards. Three of our instructors were presented with certificates for outstanding performance as well as getaway gift certificates, courtesy of Randall Munger and Creemore House Inn. Congratulations to Ashley Jones, Jeanette Hedley, and Kaylan Shearer for their achievement!

 

Picture 012Teachers_Winners

 

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