by Ana Sousa Gavin

How do we tell stories with our bodies? How can rhythm enhance our message?

Heather Rodocker, the middle school dance director at SAS, led us through a fun and liberating workshop, where we discovered a new language to tell stories—the language of dance.

Heather Rodocker joined SAS in 2005 as the middle school dance director. Her husband Geoffrey Rodocker is the director of athletics and activities in the SAS Community Sports and Activities (CSA). Their daughter Mia is the third grade. 

Heather Rodocker has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise Health Science, Theatre/Dance, and a Post-Baccalaureate in K-12 Education. She is passionate about dance/movement education and loves working with students to help them grow as individuals and become lifelong, confident movers.

In this workshop, we felt like what Mata Hari once said, "Dance is a poem of which each movement is a word".

There was (almost) no sitting down in this highly participative workshop. The only way to really understand is to do, to feel, to dance.

Rodocker started by asking us to find a gesture to match our names.  

We explored rhythm and beat tapping with our feet and using the space around the room until we were introduced to a poem and asked to translate it to another language—the language of dance.  

How do we translate words into dance?

Easy, if you learn with Rodocker that is! You find gestures to represent a couple of keywords and you then connect them through movement.  

What about emotion?

Speech without emotion is monotone and so is dance. That’s why we danced to music. We tried the same choreography to different soundtracks and felt the poem transform in our minds, heart, and body.

Music brought a new dimension to expressing our message, by changing the mood and guiding our rhythm.

Rodocker inspired us by saying, “Instead of watching what other people are doing, be inside, feel the music” and we did!  

After repeating our choreography, Rodocker gave us another precious tip on how to deliver a clear message, valid for any language: “Have a clear start and ending: pause”.

It was a truly memorable experience in so many ways, and here are some comments from participants:

"Rodocker taught us to combine movement, music and words, so it flows naturally"

"I thought I couldn’t dance and then I could and I did and enjoyed myself so much"

“Sometimes I’m nervous when telling a story just with words but when I used movement I felt so much more relaxed. I didn’t have to tell, just show..."

" learned that there are many ways to tell a story"

"I loved it and wish we could do it again and we will stay tuned to the SAS Storytelling Club updates on our Facebook page." 

After this amazing experience, we still had time to practice a few stories for the following week. Library time will be a little different for classes from Preschool to Grade 5, as eight storytellers will be popping-up, and telling stories!

Meanwhile, make sure to reserve your seat for our first meeting in 2018!

Prescott Gaylord is back with more Improv, he will be coaching storytellers into improvising stories through fun games.

You (think!) never told a story before and would like to get started? English is not your first language but you enjoy telling stories in your mother tongue?

The Storytelling Club at SAS is the perfect safe space to get started. Join like-minded people from the SAS community, discover the storyteller within you and have fun, in our workshops and meetings.


Thursday, February 8, 2018
9.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. | PTA office (behind the uniform shop!)

Workshop Topic: “Improvisational Storytelling” by Prescott Gaylord

Free admission to SAS parents and staff. Email to register!

The Storytelling Club @ SAS welcomes adults (SAS parents, faculty and staff), who wish to grow their storytelling skills: to tell stories to a live audience, without reading, with the goal to inform, entertain or influence. We create a safe space to build your confidence, the base to grow all other skills (e.g. speech, face and body expression, using props, etc).

In each meeting, we do easy and fun exercises to release your natural skills and get in touch with your intuition, allowing your stories to flow within a structure. It’s easy! You can participate as a storyteller in our events at SAS and spread the joy of telling and listening to stories to the SAS community. We help each other prepare our stories, it’s fun. Telling stories is a very rewarding experience, from the wonder in their eyes to compliments, SAS students are a great audience.

If you’re not yet a member of the Storytelling Club at SAS then make a request on our Facebook page

The Storytelling Club @ SAS is organized by Ana Sousa Gavin, an SAS parent, and a professional storyteller and storytelling coach. We meet monthly! Just drop in and find out what we are all about. 



Recent Posts

Didi Hari Krishnan

Did you miss the high school PTA parent coffee on Monday, December 6? Our high school leadership team and high school students shared how we support student wellness in the high school and how we respond to student data and trends. Parents also shared tips and strategies with each other to support our students at home.