Benedicte Schoyen- The Music Box
- Tuesday, 20 July 2010
I have always wanted to learn how to dance. My favorite T.V. show is So You Think You Can Dance and I even enrolled my daughter in ballet and my son in Hip Hop so I could live vicariously through them! After interviewing Benedicte, she shows us how easy it is for kids to get up and dance with her new DVD – The Music Box.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): At what age did you start dancing?
Benedicte Schoyen: I started dancing at the opera in Oslo at nine years old. My mom was terrified for me to do gymnastics so she had me attend dance classes instead. I started working as a professional dancer 18 years old.
I came to the U.S. [for three weeks] to study with a teacher I loved 20 years ago and I am still here. Once I settled in the U.S. I opened up my own dance studio and started teaching. I am also at UCLA’s musical theatre program. I work with kids 3 to 16 years old.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): What inspired you to create the Music Box?
Benedicte Schoyen: I wanted to start producing, so I decided the best way to do it was by creating the “Music Box” - it is a fairy tale and a story all in one. I wanted to inspire young children to dance and I wanted to create something that wasn’t already on the market. So many kids nowadays aren’t exercising the way they should be which is leading to childhood obesity.
My husband wrote all the music so you can call it a family operation. I also have some amazing professional dancers in it. It really turned into an amazing project.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): That’s a good point. Dance does encourage kids to move, especially if it is fun and interactive.
Benedicte Schoyen: I grew up in a different time – there was lots of physical work to do and I was always moving. Nowadays kids miss out on so much exercise that should be done daily. They get driven around or they choose to play inside on their computers.
When I worked at summer camp at my studio the kids brought in unhealthy snacks and I notice that the kids got tired too fast. Kids need to move more, they need to be physically active - the Music Box makes them move. From my experience, kids love DVDs and this one can get the kids active, up and moving.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): What type of dance do you focus on in the Music Box?
Benedicte Schoyen: There is an element of jazz, ballet, modern hip hop – a little bit of everything. It is meant to open up kids eyes and get them moving and see different types of dance.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): Who is the optimal audience for the Music Box?
Benedicte Schoyen: The Music Box we created as a dance-along for pre-school teachers and kids. The teachers use it as an exercise tool and the kids use it to have fun. Currently there are 100 pre-schools in Norway who are using it to get their kids “up and moving”. Kids can dance and create characters and be as creative as they want to be.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): How do you eat?
Benedicte Schoyen: I shop at farmer’s markets. My husband is from a ranch in Ojai so we get a lot of our food from his parents’ ranch -- eggs, mulberries, oranges, lemons, avocados, etc. They are so fresh. I grow my own tomatoes. We eat meat but we know where it comes from because my husband’s cousins also have ranches. In Norway, I didn’t grow up with big farms, rather the cows go free and there is more organic – everything is just organic but it isn’t necessarily called organic. The animals roam free whereas in the U.S. is all mass produced.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): How do you maintain balance in your life?
Benedicte Schoyen: Teaching ballet. It’s my form of meditation. When I’m under stress, I drop everything that’s going on in my head and I focus on my students. It’s like I take off time when I work -- which sounds so funny but teaching is my sanctuary.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): Thank you Benedicte. To learn more of to purchase a copy of the Music Box, visit: www.borntoplay.net