Highland Dance Company Teacher Loves Hanging Out

Courtesy of Erin Patrick

Courtesy of Erin Patrick

Ana Toronto, Staff Writer

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Many dancers enjoy the feeling of freedom while they fly across the stage. This why many are drawn to this art form. Highland dance teacher Erin Patrick takes this feeling of flight the next level. She enjoys floating upside down from her ceiling.

To find balance, harmony and energy renewal from hectic bustle of everyday pressures, Erin Patrick participates in Anti-Gravity yoga. Instead of paying thousands for a chiropractor, Patrick chooses a better and cheaper way in which she participates in at least once a week. The feeling of floating from silks attached to the ceiling it one of Patrick’s favorite feeling because of the endorphins being released. Coming back from a stressful day at work, it is nice for her to relax by coming home to her own personal studio and ending her day with Anti-Gravity Yoga.

“It makes me feel lighter than air and releases a lot of good feel good hormones,” Patrick said. “And your spine has lengthened and everything is in alignment and its kinda like going to a chiropractor without the manipulation.”

Anti-Gravity yoga uses a hammock to help perform postures that are not ordinarily attempted on the yoga mat. It combines traditional yoga with moves inspired by pilates, dance and acrobatics. Patrick loves yoga and was a college dancer, so Anti-Gravity yoga was a perfect match for her. There are a lot of perks of participating in Anti-Gravity yoga that intrigued Patrick. Every time it creates new space for the nerves and the vertebrae and it lengthens the back. It also increase neuroplasticity of the brain creating what the Imagination Place, a profession yoga studio, calls a “Happy Hormone Cocktail.” Many of these benefits is why Patrick continues to do Anti-Gravity yoga.

Patrick was one of the first to start Anti-Gravity like dance in Utah. At the University of Utah she got into aerial dance but there wasn’t anything in Salt Lake back then. So she got a grant from the university to do an isolation piece and tour it around Utah. The money she got went to building the set. The set had a frame and ropes hanging on it with harnesses to support the dancers. This experience guided Patrick’s love for Anti-Gravity yoga.

“I ended up falling in love with swinging and hanging upside down,” Patrick said. “And then I discovered it can be very relaxing and can make your body feel better.”

Not only does she teach yoga, but also all the dance classes and Dance Company. Patrick started over seeing Dance Company five years ago and has been a great influence to the members of the team. She runs Highland Dance Company a little different than the other schools in this area.The dancers have a lot of the leadership and what they produce is their work and their ideas.

“Erin has really challenged us to be better dancers,” student Melissa Orlandi said, “She brings in really creative choreographers that help us learn new concepts of dance and grow as we dance. Creating our own dances helps us become better dancers and also helps us be really responsible. It makes dance company a lot of fun and it helps us work together as a team.”

After graduating at University of Utah with BSA in modern dance and a master’s degree in education, Patrick still practices Anti-Gravity yoga. She has her own yoga studio at her house and uses it weekly. There are mirrors surrounding the studio and a yoga hammock for her to use. When she does Anti-Gravity yoga it helps her spine and relaxes her whole body. Her children ages six and three love to use the studio with her and swing around on the hammocks.

Highland didn’t have a yoga program before Patrick became part of the facility. Once Karrie Jarret found out she frequently did yoga, Jarret quickly suggested that Patrick could start the program. This is the second year yoga has been offered and the program has grown immensely. Yoga a very popular class and many students take it and continue on to the advanced classes. Patrick is very reflective, sympathetic and caring and she loves to see her students grow and develop their talents.

“I loved yoga,” said student Aidan Utley, “It was so nice to get out of the usual classroom setting and move around. I always felt more relaxed for the rest of the day after I’ve had yoga. It was a class that I never had to stress about and knew I was always going to have a fun time. My favorite part was definitely the meditation at the end! Mrs. Patrick was so cool and I loved how she made yoga so much fun!”

 

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