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Categotry Archives: Schools
This term I’ve been working with Year 2 at Miers Court Primary Schools. The theme was Medieval Castles and I’m so proud of how hard both groups have worked, it’s been fantastic.
We began learning castle parts using our warm up and cool down. Each castle part (battlements, buttresses, ramparts, drawbridges, the moat and the great hall) had its own movement, stretch or shape and we even had a Jester dance move and bowed when The King arrived. We played a game to make freeze frames about different parts of the castle and used the countdown music to make it more exciting.
Soon we had plenty of movement material all about castles!
We did more than that though. Each lesson I taught the dancers a little section of Tudor themed dances. In the end we had The Pavanne, The Chain and The Circle. I showed them pictures of the clothes the Very Important People (VIPs) might wear to dance in the castle and they learnt how the clothes would affect their movements.
Towards the end of term we put everything together to create a dance. They’d worked so hard that it was a lot longer than I’d expected. We had a practice show which was filmed (the video is below!) and some school staff watched too. Miss Bulldock nearly cried because she was so proud of her class!
The last week was show week! We had a short rehearsal and then performed to adults and some younger brothers and sisters. Some school staff even crept in to watch. The performance was made extra special because the children had dressed up in Medieval costumes for the day. They’d had a banquet in the morning, made castles and then came to dance. A busy day!
I’m really proud of both classes. They worked really hard to choreograph and perform their dances brilliantly then they sat and watched each other as though they were a perfect, grown up audience.
Here’s the video of one of the rehearsals. It was automatically created using some of the photographs and footage from that day!
In the Summer Term of 2015, Level Two TRS Teachers Alix and Shanice worked with the Reception classes at Miers Court Primary School. This was Alix’s first time working with a cross-curricular Approach, though she’s taught many many lessons working to a specified theme. Shanice came along to see what cross-curricular dance is all about and, by the end of the sessions, she decided it’s something she’d like to work on in the future.
Here is what Alix had to say about it.
Shanice and I have just finished our cross-curricular classes at Miers Court Primary School and we have thoroughly enjoyed working with both the school and the children.
The classes focused on ‘Journeys’ so we took all of the Reception year on a fantastic journey to a hot dessert island so they could find treasure.
Firstly we had to go on a few other journeys before we could reach our destination. We visited the beach where we started our adventure. The children played in the sand, rubbed on their sun cream, enjoyed ice creams and even ensured our hats and sun glasses were on to protect us from the sun. Next we stepped into the sea to go on a number of boats. We went on a rowing boat, a canoe and on speed boats that were very fast. On our boat journey we saw many sea creatures. The children enjoyed pretending to be a shark, octopus, crab and fish.
At last, after our speed boat adventure, we stepped onto our very quiet, beautiful dessert island. The children searched behind palm trees and even used a map to find the treasure! We eventually found the golden treasure and the children were so excited they created a disco dance to celebrate!
The children worked very hard and were committed in all of their sessions. They were supported by their teachers which was lovely.
The lovely reception classes even created their own moves for the dance and performed the whole piece with lots of energy.
Shanice and I were very sad to leave, but we hope Miers Court enjoyed the dance. Well done Year R, it has been a pleasure!
I’ve been working with Year 2 at Balfour Infants School for two years now and I’ve seen them transform from a timid Year 1 to fantastic dancers in Year 2.
I remember the first session in year 1. The girls all got their socks muddled up because the patterns were so similar. It didn’t take them long to get into the dance routine though and by the third week they were prancing about making up dances.
Over the two years we’ve used themes such as Ice, Magical Creatures, Aliens (a very popular Dr Who based theme!) and Carnival. The dancers have learnt choreography and choreographed so many of their own dances too.
In one of the very first classes we used a giant elastic for warm up and they were enjoying it so much that I took some photos. The photo to the right is one of the first photos I ever took of this group!
The end of year performance is a chance for Year 2 to show bits of their favourite dances. I let them choose and then mix the music together to create a very long piece. We then work together to remember the dances, because some were a very long time ago by this point, and create transitions to make sure the different themes flow together smoothly.
This year both Year 1 and 2 also worked with another TRS Teacher, Katie in term 6. They had learnt the chorus to the Frozen dance with me and then Katie helped them choreograph the verses. As Year 1 had worked so well they were invited to join in with the performance as well. The photo to the left is the ‘Let It Go’ bit of the chorus!
I’d like to congratulate all the dancers for their fantastic performance. They worked so hard and deserved the big round of applause they received at the end of the dance! Really well done to them all. I hope to see the Year 2s at Balfour Junior’s Dance Club when they move up. I like to go and visit, see how they’re getting on with Alix!
Below is a photo of me with the dancers after their first performance and below that is a video of the dance they did. Enjoy!
So this week we we were in Greenvale Infants School studying the differences between dances from the North Eastern (in relation to England) and South Western parts of the world as part of their geography workshops.
The whole school was involved with a series of classes held over two days in which we learned elements of a Russian and Hungarian dance notably the Sappoggi and Czardash respectively as well as elements from the Dominican Republic and Cuba with our Merengue and Salsa dance steps.
The aim was to compare the two styles, and actually as a dance teacher this was quite interesting for me too.
I noticed that the basics were very similar… the Merengue two step was very similar to the Czardash, and the basic solo Salsa step a much lighter version of the Sappoggi step. So we then looked at the differences.
A big difference was in costume… with the Russians and Hungarians wrapped up nice and warm agains the elements, and the Latin Americans wearing… well very little actually! I guess being so hot, warm, cosy clothing would not be conducive to dancing. I also noticed that possibly as a result of this, the slavic dances were very much about the costume… such as the dusting snow off the boots in the Sappoggi or the showing of rings on fingers in the Hungarian dances. With Latin American dancing it was still about the costume to some extent with fabulous headdresses or feather skirts being shaken and shimmied, but also very much about the movement of the body and arms.
I will say that much as I love teaching the Hungarian and Russian dances, as they are so strong and proud, I found that the minute I put on a spot of Latin music, the whole room erupted into wiggles! It was fantastic! I wish I had had a video… something about this music just makes you want to wiggle. Which the children really enjoyed.
What a great fun way of learning about two different parts of the world.
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In the Medway Messenger on Friday 12th June 2015
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The blog post is here… http://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/2015/05/20/carnival-comparisons/
And the video is here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=27&v=Q7wTPDhzgjQ
We took inspiration from three carnivals, Rio Carnival, a carnival that has non stop dancing for a whole day, Nice Carnival, possibly the oldest carnival in the world, and Notting Hill Carnival, the biggest carnival in Europe. The dancers choreographed most of the movements and used colourful feathers as props.
Nice Carnival uses lots of giant puppets called Grosse Tetes (French for big heads). I taught the dancers a short motif that they danced in partners, one as the puppet and one the puppeteer. I was really impressed with how they understood the concept. They even choreographed their own dance moves.
In the fourth lesson we took all of the carnival dances (motifs) and squashed them together to make a long dance. We only have four lessons per class, but the dances were over five minutes long. They remembered them though!
Alix filmed and took photos and here’s the result! I had a fantastic time working with Year One, I’m sure you can see why!
Today was our final lesson of the term and we ran around the school hall 6 times.
This might sound like a strange thing to do in a dance lesson, but running around the room has become a regular occurrence at Balfour Infants School and Greenvale Infants School recently. I’ve been adding extra cardio into my classes in a bid to explore the participants’ views on exercise. I have been surprised by how excited they’ve been by it all!
Our theme this term was Doctor Who and I based our warm up around the idea of a clock…
I laid numbers out on the floor (in the shape of a gigantic clock, or as close as I could get it!). We then did a circle warm up in the middle of the clock (everyone took turns to lead a movement that looked like the Alien of the Week and would help warm us up). Then we walked, marched, galloped, skipped and ran our way to each number in turn (clockwise, was one of our key words).
Once we reached number 12 we started the main section of cardio and ran around the entire clock. On the first week we only ran around it once, the second week twice, the third week three times and so on until this week we ran around the clock 6 times in a row and then the children each ran to pick up a number and bring it to me as well.
They are only Year 1 and 2 so that is quite a feat!
This week I asked the dancers what they thought about running around the hall so many times and these are some of their comments…
“I want to do it 20 times!”
“I ran around the playground 12 times once!”
“It pumps your bones… I mean it pumps your blood. It’s good for you.”
One girl said, before the warm up this week…
“I can only run around the hall 5 times. It makes me worn out.”
And then, after the warm up…
“I did it 6 times! I’m getting better”
She was surprised and I wondered why?
I think giving the dancers the opportunity to do this has allowed them to see that they can run around the hall this many times. They know it’s good to exercise, they’re taught that in school, but we now need to find ways to make exercise fun, to make it a habit and to make it something they want to do.
As I’ve seen in this class and as we’ve read in many articles and studies, it’s really important to start healthy habits early and I adding extra cardio to class has been a really good start. It’s not only good for the children, but as I’ve been doing this three times a week I was surprised to discover that it got a little easier for me too.
I’m now thinking up my next exciting plan to increase the amount of cardio for next term’s Creative Dance Clubs.
This term I worked with Year 5 at Miers Court Primary School, but I didn’t have to write a new scheme of work because I was asked to use the one from last year. Last year I worked with Year 5, now Year 6, and had a fantastic time so I was really looking forward to doing the same theme again!
We began by watching a video showing how fashion has changed over the years. You can watch it by clicking HERE. The dancers were excited to see what people wore ‘back then’ and to see what their parents might have worn ‘in the old days’! The aim became to make a dance like that, but with dance and music through time instead.
Of course I had to complicate things, so as with last year, I added Dr Who aliens into the mix! They were incorporated into the warm up (a circle warm up using movements inspired by alien of the week), cool down (The Weeping Angels game!), the team names (the Judoon, The Krilitanes, The Weeping Angels, The Darliks and The Oods) and into the last section of the dance (Mars from Holst’s, The Planets Suite).
We worked on the dances for six weeks using different music each week and choreographing as a whole class, in small groups and as individuals. It was a very creative time with lots of movement exploration and experimentation!
We ended up with two fantastic dances both including Dr Who’s Tardis and many different dance styles. Below is an Auto Awesome video about the process!
You can read more about last year and see their video by clicking HERE.