Level 1 Teacher Training

For Dance Teachers and Health Professionals

COVID UPDATE: Due to the current global and local travel restrictions this unique course has been converted to make it available online, with two different options. Feel free to contact us on if you have any questions on either option. 

No two dancers bodies are the same, so it is no wonder that when 20 students in the same class are given the same exercises, their bodies will react differently. The secret to all students achieving their full potential is in individual assessment of specific key areas and careful prescription of individualised exercises and mobilisation techniques to correct the core issue, allowing each student to perform at their full potential.

This unique course gives both dance teachers and therapists a deeper understanding of the exact mechanics of optimal performance, to easily assist dancers to recover from injury, improve their technical capacity and prevent injury at critical stages in their training.

The original three day course has now been reformatted for online delivery, with a combination of live teaching, pre-recorded content and personal exploration.  In the Live Virtual Workshop the content is delivered over five Zoom workshops with the basic outline as follows: 

Alternatively you may work through the content at your own pace via our new Self Guided Option

Timetable for the Live Virtual Workshops

Call #1 

 (4 hours)

Introduction & Navigation of the Portal: We spend the first few minutes getting to know each other as participants often have a wide range of background training. We also go through a quick orientation of the Level 1 Teacher Training Portal where everything is filmed for later reference. This allows you to review the content at your own pace. 

Postural Control: Mastering subconsious, dynamic and subtle control of basic standing posture is essential before moving on with any higher level strengthening. We look at the subconscious drivers to habitual postural positions and the various ways that this can shape the dancer's body.

The Dancers Warm Up: We look at the common isues with how dancers approach their warm up, along with ways that this can be easily resolved. We introduce two unique additions to the warm up sequence that can have profound impact on any dancer's training and performance. 

Flexibility Training: We begin our work on flexibility by assessing a simple roll down, and analysing what various restrictions mean. 

Warm Up vs Flexibility Training

Call #2 

(4 hours)

Flexibility Training: Dancers in all genres struggle with mobility, but many never achieve thair potential because they are working on the wrong resrtiction. We look into several different systems (especially the Fascial and Nervous Systems) that can restrict mobility. We continue our analysis of differnt wualities of restriction, and safe and effective strategies for improving range for all individuals. 

Core Stability: There are many myths in the exercise and dance world about what Core Stability actually is. Some of these are variations on a vaguely correct theme, however many are outdated and explained poorly.

Traditional "core" exercises such as 'crunches' and 'plank' are not ideal for young dancers and can cause several other issues. To understand why, as well as learn how to do them properly, we need to look at the anatomy of the abdomen and understand what true Core Stability is, and what it is not. Mastering the subtle art of true Core Stability can have dramatic effects on a dancers adage as well as dramatically decreasing back pain.

What is Core Stability?

Call #3

(4 hours)

Basic Classical Technique: The importance of a physical screening process for any dancer can never be underestimated. This assessment may be done either by an experienced dance teacher or a therapist with a good understanding of the demands of dance.  A huge number of issues that dancers face stem back to errors in their basic technique. Understanding the anatomical considerations behind the basic positions and steps required in classical ballet helps enormously, not only in preventing injury, but in enhancing performance.

We look in detail at:

  • Standing in 1st & 5th position
  • Demi Plié and Grand Plié
  • Dynamic control of the foot on rise
  • Tendu en Croix
  • Retiré

We then work through exercises to improve each position based on the individuals own anatomy. This includes various massage and mobilisation techniques as well as specific mobilisers and activation exercises to move past previous restrictions.  

Basic Classical Technique

Call #4  

(4 hours)

The Dancers Hip: Not all hips are created equal, and this creates quitea challenge for Dance Teachers. Within one class of 20 students you will have a wide-ranging selection of natural turnout range, spinal mobility and hip control. This makes it very hard to train all students to their full potential while still keeping things safe.

Anatomy of the Hip: The amount of anatomical variation in the placement and angle of the hip socket (acetabulum) and femoral neck often determines our base line capacity for turnout. However, do not be too quick to blame your bones! Understanding all of the tissues impacting turnout range can result in a massive improvement for some dancers. 

Assessing the Hip: The secret to optimal development of turnout in all dancers must include individual analysis and assessment of their hips, and development of a personalised hip program. This section goes through simple tests to understand the quality and location of restrictions in each dancer. 

Improving Range in the Hip: This section give a set of effective options for each locationa ndtype of restriction. Dancers may need different mobilisers for different aread and can curate their own ideal program after some experimentation. 

Improving Control in the Hip: We then work through simple sequences of training exercises to improve Standing Leg Turnout, Turnout en Fondu and Turnout Devant, which are three very different movements. 

Common Hip Injuries: Finally we look at the application of all of this knowledge in understanding the many common hip issues that dancers may complain of. 

The Anatomy of the Hip

Call #5

(4 hours)

Returning to Jumps Following Injury: Understanding the anatomy of a jump helps improve the quality and ballon of your healthy dancers allegro. However it will also help dancers return safely to jumping after being off for any period of time. We work through a program of exrcises to keep dancers conditioned while in "Relative Rest" from jumping, and to physically, and psychologically, prepare them for jumping in a progressive way. 

Foot Injuries: We look at a comprehensive set of  foot and ankle injuries that are far too prevalent in the dance world. You will quickly see how your new knowledge gives so much more insight into why these issues occur and how simple intervention strategies can help prevent them, as well as hasten recovery and prevent recurrence. 

Spinal Mobility: Unfortunately, there has been a progressive increase in the number of serious spinal injuries in young dancers due to the extreme ranges of motion that are becoming commonplace in recent years.  Most of these injuries come from a lack of mobility in specific areas, or poor segmental stability of the mobilie areas of the spine. It is possible to create beautiful extensions safely, however this must be approached gently and intelligently to develop maximal range and control. 

Arabesques: Achieving the ultimate arabesque line seems elusive for many dancers. Most people simply push the leg up in the hope that it will improve, but this is one of the slowest, and most risky, ways to improve the arabesque line. A more intelligent and effective approach is to carefully analyse each element, train it in isolation, and then rebuild it back into technique. This approach can have rapid and safe improvements in the arabesque line, no matter what the age of the dancer! 

Why NOT to point into a Theraband

Coaching Calls


One of the hardest things after completing a course is applying all of the knowledge gained in your day to day life afterwards. As a part of the Online Teacher Training Portal I offer weekly / bi weekly coaching calls to dive deeper into various topics.

These calls are a great way to ask any additional questions, and to learn how to use all of the content covered in the course for various issues that you come across. You may atten the live calls each week, or worth through the topics you find most interesting in your own time. 

Previous calls include:

1. Knee Pain, The Roll Down & Hip Pain
2. Lisfranc Injury
3. Hip Pain in a Professional Dancer
4. Shoulder Placement in Hypermobility
5. Avoiding Overwhelm - Part 1
6. Avoiding Overwhelm - Part 2
7. Planning the Year
8. Stress Fractures, Pronation & Pointe Range
9. Pointe shoes, Bunions & Plantarfascia Pain
10. General Q&A
11. Os Trigonum Surgery
12. Pain at the back of the ankle
13. Growth Related Injuries
14. Hip Popping, Clicking and Other Noises
15. Plantar Fascia Pain & Q&A
16. Managing Tendinopathies
17. Tendinopathy Prevention Plan
18. Hypermobile Knees
19. Working From Home & Online Classes
20. Self Care in Lockdown
21. Shoulder Pain & Instability in Acrobats
22. The Impact of Sub-Standard Flooring
23. Managing Back Pain
24. Correcting Children's Posture
25. Upper Limb Neural Tension
26. Persistent Foot Pain
27. Diving Deep into Hypermobility
28. Clicking Hips Program - Part 1
29. Clicking Hips Program - Part 2
30. Perfecting the Penché - Phase 1 - Assess & Mobilise
31. Perfecting the Penché - Phase 2 - Isolate
32. Perfecting the Penché - Phase 3 - Integrate
33. Perfecting the Penché - Phase 4 - Function & Load
34. Gait Analysis
35. Improving Gait - Part 1
36. Improving Gait - Part 2

What others think!

It is always nice to hear what others think, so here is a selection of comments from Teachers and Therapists who have attended previous workshops. 

“Hi Lisa, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the Teacher Training workshop with you over the past 4 days! Since we were able to go through everything in the online portal over an extended period of time, it made for a much more relaxed experience on the Zoom calls as I wasn't being overloaded with information, and was able to absorb more as well. The work you are doing is phenomenal, and I have learned so much that I can't wait to pass on AND apply to myself! The way you present everything makes it interesting, straight forward and clear, and I was really impressed with how you were able to give personal corrections and see small details over Zoom. I love your attitude and positive energy! I'm so pleased we were able to go ahead with this workshop, even though the pandemic kept you from travelling here. Thank you so much, and I hope one day we can meet in person!” 
Denise - Toronto

Plus! Get 6 months free access to the Online Teacher Training Portal

(Valued at $741 USD)

  • There are over 250 content based videos in the program, organised into 12 carefully structured modules, to enhance the ease of learning.
  • In each module there are multiple Downloadable resources including assessment sheets, progress charts and exercise sheets to make it easy to integrate the work into your dance classes or clinical practice.
  • As you complete each module you will receive a certificate to claim CCE points with your governing authority.
  • The course is designed to be completed in sequence, as each of the later modules build on the knowledge gained in the earlier modules, organically deepening your learning.
  • All of the content is arranged in an easy to navigate dashboard to help orientate you through the training
  • We have also included handy progress wheels to easily track your learning.
  • Live Coaching Calls - You will also be able to join me on any upcoming coaching calls, which are a wonderful way to deepen your understanding of the content.
  • You will also get instant access to the library of over 35 videos of previously recorded Coaching Calls. These valuable resources each examine a particular topic in detail and look at the application of the content in the course in a real life scenario.
  • Become a part of a community of like minded professionals all focussed on training healthy dancers through our Private Facebook Group. This allows you to ask questions at any time and tap into a global group of extremely knowledgable professionals from all genres. 

The Modules

All of the modules in this Level 1 Teacher Training course are based around the areas that I get most the questions about as a Physiotherapist for Dancers. They also include many tips and techniques that I have developed while working on injury recover, injury prevention and performance enhancement in dancers for the last 20 years.

I have been working closely with thousands of Dance teachers and Therapists who work with dancers for the last 20 years and have realised that many individuals are struggling with the same issues globally. Part of this seems to be  due to how dance teacher are taught to teach. There is often very little focus on the analysis of the individual dancer's anatomy when working towards a certain step, which can make all the difference in the success of some students. 

Posture - L1 Thumbnail - Teacher Training - Lisa Howell - The Ballet Blog
Warm Up - L1 Thumbnail - Teacher Training - Lisa Howell - The Ballet Blog
Flexibility Training - L1 Thumbnail - Teacher Training - Lisa Howell - The Ballet Blog
Core Stability - L1 Thumbnail - Teacher Training - Lisa Howell - The Ballet Blog
Basic Classical Technique - L1 Thumbnail - Teacher Training - Lisa Howell - The Ballet Blog
The Dancers Hip - L1 Thumbnail - Teacher Training - Lisa Howell - The Ballet Blog
Allegro and Returning from Injury - L1 Thumbnail - Teacher Training - Lisa Howell - The Ballet Blog
Safely Improving Spinal Mobility - L1 Thumbnail - Teacher Training - Lisa Howell - The Ballet Blog
Improving Arabesques - L1 Thumbnail - Teacher Training - Lisa Howell - The Ballet Blog
Common Injuries and Optimal Rehabilitation - L1 Thumbnail - Teacher Training - Lisa Howell - The Ballet Blog
Case Studies and Coaching Calls - L1 Thumbnail - Teacher Training - Lisa Howell - The Ballet Blog
Resources and References - L1 Thumbnail - Teacher Training - Lisa Howell - The Ballet Blog

“Hello Lisa, I wanted to send a personal thank you to you and your team for a fantastic experience on the Toronto Level 1 Workshops.

I have been waiting about 5 years, since I first discovered you, for your workshop tour to come to Toronto when I was available. When I saw that it was happening this year, I jumped on the site and registered immediately. I was so looking forward to learning from you live and in person. I loved that your workshops were only for a limited number of people. I couldn’t wait to have you hear to talk about your exercises and ideas, give feedback in live demonstrations and answer unthought of questions that tend to arise.
To say I was disappointed by your tour being cancelled due to COVID-19 and all the crazy is an understatement. I do want to commend you on how quickly you shifted course to this online/zoom course mode. I really wasn’t sure how I was going to enjoy this format, or how well I was going to learn and retain the material either. I signed on with the idea that something is better than nothing, and to have trust in the changeability of life. Coming out on the other end of things, I have to say that I really enjoyed all of it!
Working through the online material, I continually reflected on having to learn all of it in 3 days and became overwhelmed for that self! I LOVE the depth and breadth of the material, but could not have taken in so much at one time. I would have been writing mad notes, trying to get down all of your wisdom and knowledge, while missing the nuances and detail. Doing the course online myself first, I was able to take things a few hours at a time, and pause and rewind as many times as needed. I never got so fried on the brain that it turned off and I missed things.
Having done all that homework, similar to doing your readings before the lecture in uni, I was able to relax more and really listen and watch during the zoom calls. I found I really only needed to note down a few extra things. This gave my brain space to view the work from a greater distance and make connections to the whole in a way that would have been impossible had we done the course in its original format.
I also found your ability to watch through the Zoom lens and still give articulate and detailed advice to each of us while trying things out was incredible. You could forget for a moment that you were across the globe! I believe that April is your behind the scenes wonder? The follow up emails with all the cross referenced links and notes are so helpful. Again, it  allowed me to relax, knowing that I would get the links later in an organized manner and didn’t have to worry about getting down then and there.
With all that said, please come back to Toronto, and I promise I will sign up! I would still love to learn from you in person. I feel there is still so much value in this, but I did want to let you know how wonderfully successful this adaptation has been. I will let you know all the other specific fabulous things in your feedback form, but wanted to send this as well.
I am so very grateful to have gotten the chance to learn from you this summer. I will be forever changed as a teacher as well as a student of my own body. Thank you ever so much!"
Megan - Canada

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