Categotry Archives: Dance Clubs
This months our social media focus is Inspiration. We’re going along the lines of April, new and inspiring things! With this in mind, we thought we’d share what inspiration we use to plan some of our dance classes and Georgie has written a blog about it. It’s just a little introduction to the many things the TRS Teachers get up to, but it might be helpful when planning a dance lesson. Enjoy!
Written by Georgie, Manager of TRS South Kent
There are so many things you can use for your inspiration for dance classes, from the style of dance to the class topic of the term. Here at TRS we follow guidelines to help us both in our Educating Dance classes as well as our usual dance clubs.
You can start with the learning styles to develop your inspiration for your class. These include auditory, visual, kinesthetic (practical/learn by doing) and read write. This will help the dance teacher appeal to all pupils and their various learning styles. We also explore social inspiration and tactile inspiration alongside this.
Visual is a popular one to use in our classes by our TRS facilitators. Using images throughout the lessons allows those who are visual learners to really grasp the idea. You can use images such as the stages of growth for a plant, the water cycle as well as lots more. Also using videos from online can be very useful and participants respond well to them.
For auditory inspiration you can use music, perhaps a particular song that you like or think that the participants will respond well too. Sounds like rain forest, the sea etc. would also work or you can even use some of the participants to create the sounds for the dance, using instruments, instruments they’ve made themselves or body parts like in Gumboot Dancing (photo on the right).
Tactile can be very exciting to use as inspiration, especially for younger ones. You can use different materials and express how they feel through movement, furry, shiny, slimy, rugged, squishy and so on. You can also bring in objects for the participants to explore and study like historical artefacts. Props are also used in many TRS classes and can come in all shapes and sizes, whether you buy pompoms or make your own jingle sticks, these are a great to get everyone involved. A TRS favourite is our tactile scarf. It is made from lots of different materials all tied together to make one giant scarf.
There are also a lot of practical ways to find inspiration for your dance class. These are experienced things so they are often things that are experienced elsewhere and brought into class in other ways such as current events. Fireworks (the bonfire flames in the photo on the left) is a fun theme. You may want to use certain holidays like Easter or even what’s happening around us now. For example, when The Greatest Showman came out everyone was so inspired and excited to use the ideas and music.
Styles of dance can be used as inspiration, you maybe looking at a world theme and you could explore different types of dance from around the world such as Latin, line dancing or Bollywood. Practical inspiration can be as closed or open as you want it to be when using it in your lessons or for your inspiration and it can be shown through other sorts of inspiration that is auditory, visual or tactile.
Book Week is a great opportunity for us to use read/write inspiration. Books are always a useful tool.
Other ways to find inspiration can include things like focusing on a particular area you want to develop with your participants, for example motor skills, balance or extension.
So as you can see there are so many ways to find inspiration for your dance class. You can also use a combination of these ideas, especially the learning styles as that way you can ensure that all your participants are gaining from the lesson. TRS teachers will always use a combination in their lessons. Start off with a focus and then you can extend and explore further.
We also love hearing your ideas at TRS, they inspire and challenge us as teachers and that always makes our classes interesting and enjoyable.
Steph, Level Three TRS Teacher, Level Two Active Armchairs Facilitator and Educating Dance Teacher (what a mouthful, she’s reached the highest levels possible at TRS!) was voted TRS Teacher of the year 2017 by TRS staff in November last year. As we are coming up to this year’s vote I asked her to write about her year and I’m pleased to say it’s really varied and has been very exciting!
This is how young dancers in Steph’s classes put their hand up to talk… in any funky position!
A Year in The Life of Steph…
One of my favourite things about my work with The Right Step Dance Company is the variety it brings each day. The past year has been no exception to this. Teaching all over Kent and Medway, I’ve covered thousands of miles, planned hundreds of classes and had a wonderful time sharing my love of dance and movement with hundreds of class participants for another year.
Flicking through my diary, I’ve been reminded of some of the new schools and care homes I’ve visited this year amongst my regular classes. I’ve been teaching for The Right Step Dance Company for over 5 years, and whilst there are new classes and ‘one off’ sessions happening all the time, I have some brilliant regular classes too. One of my longest running classes is the Friday afternoon Dance Club at Byron Primary School. I wrote a blog post (read it HERE) about their Dance club earlier in the year after their fantastic Summer Term. Often we get to see the development and enjoyment children have in their dance classes, but there isn’t always a show or opportunity to share the brilliant work the children have achieved. To overcome this, we decided to film the last class of term so they could share their achievements and experiences. I was so pleased to have been able to put this video together for the Dance Club participants at Byron Primary.
Another filming day, and definite highlight of my year, would have to be the BBC Filming Day at Hale Place Care Home. We were honoured and utterly thrilled to have been asked to be part of the filming as one of the home’s favourite activities. We continually see the positive impacts of Active Armchairs, but when others can really see and feel the benefits of the classes too and wave the Active Armchairs flag of joy it’s a brilliant feeling! Myself and Rebecca had a wonderful morning with the residents and carers, and I think its fair to say we both left that morning with big smiles on our faces! Hale Place was a relatively new class for me at the time, and has now become one of my regular weekly classes. I have loved getting to know the residents even better over the past year, and look forward to another year of dancing and singing with everyone.
There have been great team moments throughout the year too, with our twice yearly All Hands Meetings and training sessions. We usually find ourselves teaching alone, so having the opportunity to meet with others teachers on the team at All Hands meetings means we can share experiences and advice. It’s also just a lovely opportunity to have a good catch up over a cup of tea and some biscuits! We often have training within these meetings, and in our most recent one we had a session with confidence coach Andrea Barker. The session was not only a great team bonding experience, but also enabled us to take strategies away to implement into our practice. Catch us striking our power pose below!
I really enjoy the opportunity to work with other TRS teachers, and as a Level 3 TRS Teacher, I had the opportunity to mentor one of our newer teachers to the team this year. When teachers join me in my classes for training, I love to share experiences and tips so it’s been great to be able to focus this into a mentoring process. I know myself I find it very beneficial to be observed, and to share teaching practices with other teachers, so combing this with my experiences as a freelancer made for a great first mentoring experience.
As I reflect upon the year, It’s very hard to pin point a few favourite moments, as in all honesty every day and every class brings something magic. I mentioned the notion of ‘Magic Moments’ and how we capture them in classes in an All Hands meeting a few years ago and it has since become a wonderful way to share these little snippets of joy with everyone. There are plenty of Magic Moment quotes to be found on TRS social media; Whether it’s a comment about the participants class experience, a child that expresses their enjoyment and pride at learning a new dance step, the older adult that taps along to the music for the first time or feedback from a teacher/carer about how a participants response is a breakthrough….we are so lucky to be a part of so much magical! Here are two of my most recent Magic Moments.
“Year 5 at Singlewell Primary School have been learning Bhangra Dance this term and will be showing some of their moves in their assembly this week. They were looking fantastic in their dance class earlier in the week and we can’t wait to hear how it went!”
“Singing in the rain is my tune of the day today!! We had a great sing along at Fort Horsted and reminisced about the great Gene Kelly and his wonderful dancing in the rain and swinging around the lamppost!”
As the final school term of the year approaches, and I begin to think about Christmas classes and plans for the new terms in 2019 (!) I find myself feeling very grateful for having another great year of classes and experiences with the Company. This year especially seems to have flown by…but maybe that’s because I’ve just been having too much fun dancing!
Travel stop is a good game to improve balance. The participants move around the room in a way that relates to the class theme or using a travelling movement such as a gallop. When the teacher shouts stop and/or holds up a sign to signify stop, the participants hold a still position in a similar way to musical statues. The next stage of this game is to call out a position for participants to get into. For example, in an opposites theme you might ask them to make a low shape and the next time a high shape. This is where the balance comes in, state that they need to be on one leg or show them the balance position you want them to do.
This involves stimulating the receptors in the skin and is great for developing an inner ‘map’ of the body. Movements like rolling, crawling like a baby or a bear, army crawling, crab walking or being a worm or snake are great. All you need is an empty space like a dance studio or school hall!
We can provide you with the things needed to make a display board about dance club. We will organise for photo consent to be obtained, take and print photos and add club details (including what they’ve been doing, logos and a leaflet etc.). We give all these things to the school to put up. This way the finished product can match the school’s current displays.
As we move into the 9th year of dance at Byron Primary School (yes we have been visiting them for breakfast and after school clubs for 8 years already!), Steph reflects on her time there last year and talks about the video performance!
Blog post written by Steph, TRS Teacher of The Year 2017, Level Three TRS Teacher and Level Two Active Armchairs Facilitator.
As the new term starts for Schools this week and planning is in full swing, it’s always nice to reflect on previous work.
I have been leading the after school Dance and Cheerleading club at Byron Primary for the past four years, and we’re about to go into our fifth year Dancing fun! Byron Primary dedicate their Friday afternoons to clubs, and we at TRS love to be a part of their programme. Over the past four years I have taught many of the Children across both Key Stage One and Key Stage Two and have had the pleasure of many of those returning each term. We have covered lots of different genres from Bollywood to Creative Dance, Showstoppers to Street Dance and most recently Cheerleading.
Cheerleading is always a fun, vibrant and popular class! Children love to shake, wiggle and learn new skills…and when you add sparkly pom poms into that equation the excitement and smiles on the participants faces say it all. The children at Byron Primary had 12 weeks of Cheerleading for the Summer term and in that time picked up lots of new skills, learnt and danced three different routines (!) and made up their own cheer motions. They were an absolute pleasure to teach, always running into class to tell me they had been practicing at home and eager to share their ideas for new creative moves to add into our routines.
One of the most poignant moments that stands out for me when I reflect on the last term is the strength in team work from the students. Aside from attending the same school, quite often the children do not know each other very well at the start of a dance club as they may be in different classes or year groups entirely. It is wonderful to watch them grow in confidence and see friendships develop and flourish over the term. The children at Byron became a truly strong team over the weeks and by the end of term they were supporting each other throughout the class. And they did all of this with a smile on their faces!
In the last class of term I filmed their most recent dance routine so the children could watch themselves. Standing at the front of hall, I always have the pleasure of seeing their hard work, smiling faces and fabulous moves so it’s really great when we can show the children what we get to see. After lots of giggles, and ‘oooos’ and ‘ahhhhs’ from the children I think it’s fair to say that they enjoyed watching themselves back. You can take a look at some of the things we got up to in our video here:
I cant wait to return for my fifth year of Dance Clubs at Byron Primary and meet some new participants as well as seeing returning Dancers.
Here’s the video from last term!
We have lots to celebrate because last year we had some wonderful performances at the end of term. Here’s what some of the TRS said about their clubs and shows before the summer holidays:
My two end of year shows at St Andrew’s Pre-school and Burham Primary were incredible and really were an amazing way to end the year.
At Burham Primary I teach Creative Dance to KS1 and we had a great term discovering opposites. We performed a dance to Upside Down! The children had to work in small groups and were tasked to start close together and find ways to spring apart and move in the opposite way to their partners. Our second dance was based on the circus and we performed a dance to a song from The Greatest Showman! They started with hoops and then performed their own movements with colourful ribbons and beanbags. The dancers performed with confidence and all of the practicing meant the students really knew the movements. The audience was so impressed, we had a standing ovation and the audience were clapping and whooping to congratulate the children. I have never been so proud and I cannot wait to work with this group again next year!
At St Andrew’s Pre-school I teacher ballet to very young children. Some are just 2 when they start! As this was our last show at St Andrew’s, we worked really hard on our dances and learning our ballet words. We worked hard on a skipping and our arm positions this term, and enjoyed performing these movements. The children loved performing to their adults and dancing with their butterfly props. We were all very proud.
Having waited all year for this day, with copious amounts of: ’when are we doing the show?’, the Balfour Infants School dancers certainly made the show worth waiting for! The year two group started preparing for their performance in January, when summer was a distant thought, and we let our imagination grow, with the theme of flying being the starting point for the dance. Later in the term, they welcomed the year ones into their team, and they quickly and impressively learnt the moves and injected their energy straight into the rehearsals.
In the end, the dance was nearly six minutes long, and the children managed to remember it all off by heart (including the lyrics)! They performed to a mega mix of five songs, culminating in the all time favourite of ‘Can’t stop the feeling’, which seemed a fitting way to say goodbye to the year twos as they leave Balfour Infants, and also to express the hard work and fun that they’ve all had leading up to this day. The year twos will definitely be missed but they have certainly inspired some budding performers in the year one children!
I go to St William of Perth Primary School for before school dance club. The creative morning classes with this kids last term was great! The last few weeks we went back on some of our old routines, which were songs from The Lion King and Aladdin! The kids absolutely loved going back over the dances and even performed them all to me on the last class of term! Very proud teacher moment 😊.
At Burham Primary School I teach a fitness class called “Clubbercise” where I teach KS2 kids. We have been working up too our performance to their adults for the whole of the July term.
I did a Clubbercise routine with them all together to “Power” from Lil Mix which was one of girls favourite tracks. They did so well picking up the routine and we even managed to get it all clean and tidy before performing it.
The second part of the performance was the creative part. The girls had learnt loads of different Clubbercise moves throughout the time I have had them so I let them take it In their own stride and come up with a routine. Both groups agreed on the theme of Micheal Jackson and picked the song “Thriller” and they took it very very seriously, in a good way. They did make up , hair and outfits and really really thought about the story and routine in what it was showing.
I’m really am proud of each and every one of them, and it was such a great performance and parents seemed that they loved it. It was also an emotional time as many of them are moving onto their next chapter in secondary school so it was a great high to finish on.
We had a lovely start to the year with our school clubs, and to celebrate at the end of the term some of the schools put on a show for fellow students and parents. Here are some of the TRS teachers telling us about their shows this term:
Abi, Level One TRS Teacher at St William of Perth Primary School
“This term I’ve been teaching at St William of Perth Primary School, teaching creative dance. This term I decided to go along the Disney theme of The Lion King. The kids have absolutely loved it, from showing me their loudest roars to knowing all the choreography. One girl even said to me this morning, ‘Abi I’ve been practising The Lion King dance over and over in the week to show you!’ That comment really made my morning and I can’t wait to teach them something different next term!”
Alix, Level two TRS Teacher at Balfour Juniors school
“Balfour put on a mini performance this term. The parents enjoyed the performance and we did a mix of themes and styles:
The students performed a circus theme dance, where the children had the chance to act out different performers eg: clowns , tightrope walkers, gymnastics, puppets and more. They performed amazingly, not only remembering the dance moves but performing in their faces and getting in to character was amazing. They really enjoyed the theme! One of our dancers also learnt how to cartwheel just so she could do the gymnastic section of the dance!
Next they performed ‘Singing in the rain’ where one dancer had a solo. This dance was street dance. They also had chance to choreograph their own group dances. Each group had to choreograph a short routine based on the tempo of the music when it was their time to perform.
The last dance was a simple pop routine which they all enjoyed performing and it was a nice routine to finish the performance.
We had also been looking at electricity – Circuits, batteries, negative and positive. We looked at their relationships and how a circuit works. Our routine had group work in as well as solo sections and partner work. They decided they didn’t want to perform this one.
I look forward to the next show :)”
Georgia, Level 2 TRS Teacher
Towards the end of term I had two great shows in two schools, St Andrew’s Pre School and Burham Primary School.
St Andrew’s Pre School
The children had been working really hard in their ballet sessions throughout the term to remember the dances, exercises and ballet words. Our first exercise to share was with a hula hoop! While I held the hoop low to the floor, the children pointed their toes through the hoop, ran through the hoop and then did a beautiful turn once on the other side of the hoop. We then performed a dance to ‘Mary, Mary quite contrary’ and this dance was based on us picking flowers. The Ballerinas held a colourful flowers throughout the dance and we reached up high to pick them from the trees and plied to pick them from the grass. We gathered our flowers together as a group and took a deep breath to smelled them before spinning with them and blowing the petals! Our last dance was performed in pairs to ‘Walking on Sunshine’ and was about us being very happy that the sunshine was on its way so we could play with our friends. In partners, we skipped, turned, galloped and gave high-tens! We showed our partners our ballet moves such as First/ Second Position, Tendus, Plies and Jetes. I had a wonderful time with the Ballerinas and I was very proud of them. The parents clapped and told me how wonderful the show was.
Burham Primary School
Throughout the term, we had been learning a dance to ‘Sun Comes Up’ that was based on street dance moves we had created about rising and falling. Throughout the term we had also completed lots of creative tasks based on the idea of superheroes. For our show, I wanted to share two dances, our street dance one and one that the group would choreograph themselves. I chose three pieces of music and the group had to decide between them which one they would like to use. I then assisted the group to piece together their superhero dance. They started off with two groups at the side of the room and ran towards each other in slow motion before meeting their partner and showing their best superhero moves such as cat girl hand gestures and shooting spider web from their wrists! They finished their dance by running forwards towards the audience and then performing their signature move in canon before ending on the floor in true dramatic superhero style! It was amazing to be able to tell the parents that the first dance was created by the dance group and the students were incredibly proud of themselves. At the end of the show, the audience clapped and cheered and even asked to see it again!
I really enjoyed the shows this year and cannot wait for the term to start so that we can start all over again and prepare and create for our summer shows!
Burham Primary have a weekly Clubbercise after school club with Shanice. Shanice was so impressed with their dancing that she filmed them to show them what they’d learnt. Here’s what Shanice had to say.
We did this dance as they where performing in their assembly as we needed the class to get a bit busier. When the school asked us to do this we only had 2 weeks to learn a routine and make it perfect. The girls worked really hard in both those lessons to perfect the routine and to make sure they would remember it. I really loved how they really enjoyed working on it and I was really proud so I videoed and wanted to share it with Rebecca. I didn’t manage to actually see them perform as it was in school time but the following week after the performance I asked all the girls how it went and they said they loved it and it went well. We also got 2 new recruits which was great!
Here’s the video!