In 2016 Leeds Beckett Student Rachel Harris joined the Leeds Aerial Arts team as a teaching assistant to support her dance teaching studies. Rachel became a valued and much loved member of the team, renowned for her impressive flexibility when demonstrating new moves! Here is Rachel’s account of her placement.

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“As a University Dance student I undertook a placement as an teaching assistant at ‘Leeds Aerial Arts’ helping in beginner Aerial Hoop classes. My initial role was to shadow and observe the beginner Aerial Hoop classes. I supported the ladies in the class when working in groups, helping them to remember moves and transitions. Towards the end of the course, I began to lead the warm up and cool down. Through this placement I learnt and developed my communication skills speaking to adults as well as building my awareness to situations as they arise. Therefore I was quickly able to assess situations and help the students in a clear and calm manner if they were stuck in the air! Also during this time, as I was showing different movements to beginners explaining the process of each move, I developed a stronger technique and gained further strength in my movements.

I thoroughly enjoyed this placement, as it gave me many skills in teaching and in the aerial hoop. I was able to see how each lesson was organised, planned and given, viewing beginner’s progress into an intermediate level. I learnt a lot of how the school was being run and the technical and administrative requirements that go into having an aerial class.

Since finishing my placement I have carried on training in aerial hoop and other aerial skills and have even taken part in an aerial festival in Edinburgh. I have now moved to Scotland and hope to start teaching aerial hoop and begin my own classes.

I thank Leeds aerial arts for giving me this opportunity as it has given me the skills and ambitions I needed to start a career and has not only helped me in my aerial work but I have been able to transfer the teaching skills to my dance classes.”

Three months on Rachel has been successful in gaining work as a dance teacher for ‘Sparkle Arts’ and ‘Dundee Dance School.’ Rachel has also continued to work in aerial supporting children aerial classes for ‘Adventure Aerial Circus,’ and performing at ‘Pole Position’. Rachel hopes to run her own aerial hoop classes for adults in 2017 and we wish her the very best of luck!

Well done Rachel! x x

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