Ali McGhee is a journalist, creative writer, and academic. Her work has appeared in The Edgar Allan Poe Review, Romantic Circles, Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary...
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Many of us will step out of the stormy seas of 2016 and into the (hopefully) calmer 2017 with a few goals for ourselves. Whether you call them resolutions or not, you may have you own list of ways you want to improve yourself in the new year. This time around, why not join fitness, education, and transformation by signing up for Christine Garvin Dance + Transform's new certification program?
Since 2012, Christine Garvin Dance + Transform (CGD+T) has offered courses designed to reshape students' attitudes towards self-acceptance and wellness. Now, CGD+T is offering a Level 1 Certification Program that will begin on January 5th. Students will choose six classes, in areas that include dance, yoga, qi gong, and conditioning. The overall goal is to nurture wellness and transformation on a multitude of interconnected levels--physical, mental, and emotional. Founder Christine Garvin is starting the new certification program as a next step for students looking for transformation that begins in physical health and spreads across all areas of their life. "Dance has helped me heal on a lot of levels," says Garvin, "and movement is so important. It's important that everybody feels they have access to it no matter their background."
Garvin has a MA in Holistic Health Education, and the certification program's design reflects her goal of bridging this subject with her dance background. Students who go through the certification will be given opportunities to deepen their own relationship to movement and their bodies, and will also be given teaching opportunities. According to Garvin:
We bring together the mind/body/soul aspect. To me it's a deeper dive into the whole person, and I think healing and evolution come from doing that. Our students become more aware of things that they might not get if they just go to a dance class. I want to give those students who are really interested in taking it to the next level the opportunity to do focused study, to take multiples series of classes at the same time. And if they want to teach there's opportunity for that. The whole goal is to spread the love and empower different women, and I'm really excited about doing that. I have seen so much growth in some of the women who have been with me for a while.
Classes offered for the certification cover a broad range of topics and modalities, from BellyBalance to Hip Hop Soul&Funk Express, Storytelling Modern Dance to Jazzy Showgirl 101. For the full list of classes in the certification program, click here. The only required classes are one session of Deep Power Stretch or Mind Over Monday Yoga. Garvin notes that some students might "gravitate towards just dance, so I'm making it clear that they need to bring in this other element. We live in Asheville, and obviously there's a lot of spirituality and soul work happening here, but that also tends to be the least comfortable or least known area for some people, especially if they're just coming through the dance route. It's grounded soulwork that anyone can do. People respond really well to it, even if they're less familiar with it."
CGD+T has always made inclusivity a priority, welcoming all experience levels and body types. Their approach has provided many students with a safe space to engage in processes of healing and self-acceptance, both central tenets of CGD+T's programming. The certification is open to anyone, but is particularly geared towards women and people who identify as women.
In line with their mission of community building and inclusivity, CGD+T will also be donating a portion of proceeds to a different local or national non-profit each month. Participating non-profits are listed on their calendar. This month, funds were split between Gatlinburg fire relief and Standing Rock. Asheville Black Lives Matter will kick off the new year in January. Garvin credits her own past involvement with social justice work as inspiration for this. "I would sometimes get frustrated," she says, "because we wouldn't always know the best steps to take for our goals of implementing a plan and bringing people together to really get things done. My goal personally and professionally is to help to guide the world into a better place. I want to put money from my business towards local, national, and international organizations. Some [like the ACLU, last November's beneficiary] have been on the ground for a long time dealing with things. They've been helping people for a long time and they know how to face a lot of what we're going to be facing in the future. And I'm also focusing on local non-profits and groups that may not get as much money from other places."
For Garvin, it's all about empowerment. "What I do is women's empowerment," she says. "We've got to keep creating that community and keep bonding the individuals trying to do the best for the most people in the world."
Upon completion of the certification, students will receive a certificate of completion and will have the opportunity to substitute teach classes at the studio. They will also have opportunities to join CGD+T instructors on the road, will receive discounts at the studio, and will be invited into Level II Certification, which will certify them to be instructors at the studio. Payment plans are available for students (see details here). The first Level II certification will be held next Spring/Summer, and a second Level I certification will be offered then as well.
CGD+T is also hosting some other fabulous programming for the chilly winter days and nights ahead. On January 7th from 1-3 pm, check out their free Winter Workout Extravaganza, which will give you a taste of all the classes available at the studio while you enjoy snacks, wine, and beer.