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RETURN TO BLOG Posted 20 January 2021

QnA with Dr Lisa from Dance Prescription

By Claudia Dean

DANCE PRESCRIPTION has launched on Coach Me World & we are so proud of all our platform dancers who are participating & improving throughout our Tilt Course. Dr Lisa from Dance Prescription has choreographed this course specifically for the Coach Me World platform, so that dancers all over the world can have access to these amazing drills to improve their jazz/lyrical technique, anywhere at any time. We touched base with Dr Lisa to learn more about Dance Prescription, why it is so important that Dance Prescription is available on Coach Me World & why her drills are so successful.

1. When and how did you start Dance Prescription?

I started DANCE PRESCRIPTION around 6 years ago now! I was actually freelancing at a few dance studios at the time (mainly teaching ballet actually!) and had some of my students approach me for private lessons because they'd seen some crazy turns and jumps on YouTube and they wanted me to teach them how to do them. So I thought sure, why not, let's see if I can help you get where you want to go, you know? I set up a few private lessons and within WEEKS, those students got really, REALLY good! Word of mouth spread so quickly that within a couple of months I had far too many students to be able to teach! There literally wasn't enough time in the week! I basically accidentally stumbled into a niche of dance that not many teachers were catering for - because between doing a warm up and stretching and combos and competitions and concert rehearsals, no jazz teacher has time to spend 45 minutes of a 1 hour jazz class on pirouettes alone! And it just turned out that I LOVE teaching technique and that I happened to be really good at it too, so I decided to set up a program specifically catering to those dancers who wanted to improve their jazz technique and voila - DANCE PRESCRIPTION was born! 

For the first year of DANCE PRESCRIPTION, I only had about 25 students audition, and every single year it just grew and grew and exploded! When I started DANCE PRESCRIPTION, I never would have imagined that within a couple of years I would have my own internationally renowned extension program that has 200-300 students from all over Australia auditioning every year! Not to mention that I would be able to travel and teach my methods to dancers all over Australia and the world - it's absolutely a dream come true! 

2. Why is it so important to you that Dance Prescription is available on Coach Me World?

For the longest time, I've wanted to be able to make my techniques accessible to anyone and everyone but there's a limit to how many classes and workshop you can hold and how many places you can go. Even whenever I hold workshops, I can never get to as many dancers as I want to get to because of timetable restrictions or venue hiring restrictions and Coach Me World allows me to help an incredible number of dancers and helps them to get access to my techniques even if we live on opposite sides of the world! The fact that dancers can access the lessons whenever and wherever they want was important to me too, because I know how busy dancers are between juggling school or work and dance and I wanted to give them exercises that they could fit in the time that they had, whenever they could find it. Coach Me World really is the best way for me to do that because it means dancers can watch lessons and repeat them as required, whenever it suits them so they can improve and learn at their own pace. In addition, I believe strongly that ballet is the foundation of both jazz and lyrical technique so to be able to have ballet on the platform as well was really important to me because dancers it means that dancers get training in both the flashy tricks and the important underpinning postures, muscle memory and lines. Coach Me World is the best place to find DANCE PRESCRIPTION key exercises and drills and my unique way of thinking about different jazz and lyrical skills and I'm so excited to be able to help dancers everywhere achieve their technique goals!

2. What is your biggest achievement to this date?

Ooooh tough question... Honestly I have so many things that I'm really proud of! In dance it would definitely be finally taking the jump to go online and being part of Coach Me World, I'm so so proud and excited to be able to take DANCE PRESCRIPTION to that next level and the reception that we've had from this collaboration has absolutely blown me away! I'm also really proud of our last international workshop tour for DANCE PRESCRIPTION where I took 4 of my dancers to Norway, Scotland, England, Wales and Gibraltar for the most crazy fun trip of a lifetime! It was my biggest international tour yet and the experience of visiting all those different countries and meeting lifetime friends through teaching dance was just one of the coolest things!

In life, my biggest achievement to date would be getting on to the plastic surgery training program which took years of hard work and dedication. Plastic surgery is one of the most competitive surgical training programs in the country and I've never worked so hard or sacrificed so much for a goal before; the fact that it paid off is just the best feeling in the world - I still pinch myself to remind myself it's true! Also I don't think I could talk about my achievements without mentioning possibly the greatest one so far; tricking my partner Rylie into thinking that I'm enough of a catch to marry when she literally is the best person on earth is quite a feat in itself! 

3. What are your goals and ambitions for Dance Prescription?

I have so many awesome plans for DANCE PRESCRIPTION, the first of which is continuing to explode the courses and content available on Coach Me World of course! I've also just started a coaching academy as part of DANCE PRESCRIPTION which is a program where young teachers can be nurtured to reach their potential as the next generation of insane dance coaches and I'm really excited about where that's heading at the moment - I would love to be able to make the DANCE PRESCRIPTION program more accessible worldwide! I also can't wait to get back into travelling for my workshops as soon as the Covid19 crisis calms down and it's safer for the dancers to gather in large groups, particularly I can't wait to get back to Norway and the U. K. ASAP and I'm also planning a Canadian tour at the moment so that's really exciting! I also would love to create an online course for coaches because that's something I'm really interested in and I also get asked about it constantly! I'm always expanding and evolving DANCE PRESCRIPTION to meet the needs of dancers as much as possible and that's one of the exciting things about working in this industry for me - you can literally take it in any direction you like!

4. Why do your drills achieve such incredible results on every dancer?

That's a great question. First of all, I really love breaking down technique in dancers and figuring out what their weaknesses are - it's something that I would just do for fun! And over the past decade I've taught thousands of dancers technique and although every dancer is different, after a while you find a pattern in weaknesses and faults so I've been able to gather a list of common set backs in technique. That way, when it comes to designing the drills for a particular exercise, I can draw on my anatomy knowledge from my medical degree and also on my experience working with all different kinds of dancers to create drills that specifically target commonly weak areas. My drills only target the muscles that need strengthening or lengthening in a particular exercise so there's little energy wasted on doing movements that don't actually get to the exact part of the problem and then fix it. I think that's why dancers get such incredible results, because I've figured out what the problem usually is for each technical skill, I understand the anatomy behind it and then I've found the bare minimum conditioning they need to do in order to allow dancers to get maximum results from minimum effort, which is so important for time-poor dancers! 

5. What is something that you love doing that isnt dance related?

I'm really passionate about surgery and absolutely LOVE my job at the hospital. I honestly get up every day excited about going to work and I know exactly how lucky I am to feel that way. Sometimes it can be really challenging but the rewarding days far outweigh the challenging ones and make me appreciate my job even more.  I love exercise and make sure to get in a session at the gym 6 days a week to keep me feeling strong and capable. I absolutely adore taking my dogs Rhubarb and Peanut Butter for a walk, it's probably one of my favourite things to do and it's always a great way to get some fresh air and clear my head and I also love hanging out with my family and of course my partner Rylie. One of my favourite things to do on workshops tours is to take my assistants to see Rylie's ice hockey games when she's playing interstate, it's so much fun to watch people you love be really good at what they do! I never thought I'd be someone who watches sport for fun but ice hockey has completely converted me - who would have known?! I'm a big fan of reading fiction novels but don't get time in the day to do it nearly as much as I'd love to and I also just love planning things. I love goal setting and thinking about the future and helping young people do the same thing, which I guess has brought us back to dance. I think between working as a doctor and teaching dance I possibly have the coolest two jobs in the world!