Categotry Archives: Schools

A World of Dance

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World DanceTwo schools are ending the term with a big, World Dance, bang. St Mary’s Primary School and Hoo St Werburg Primary have both organised a whole week of dance workshops that represent the diverse and exciting world of dance.

The first week of workshops was held at St Mary’s Primary School where Steph, Karen, Gemma and Sophie all went in to lead workshops. Every pupil had a go!

Reception used the book, Tydilik, and a video about a cockatoo to learn about Aboriginal Dance.

TRS Teacher, Sophie said ‘I was with reception in the afternoon. We watched a video of an Aboriginal tribe performing a dance about a White Cockatoo. When we got into the hall we tried out some of the steps we had seen and put together a dance. Comments from the class included ‘I like the flying jumps’ and ‘My favourite bit was the funny knees!’

Year 1 had a workshop about Aliens, not quite of our world, but if they’re there we’re sure they’re dancing somewhere!

Year 2’s topic is Britain so Sophie taught them Country Dancing, she said ‘I had an enjoyable day at St Mary’s, staff and children made me feel very welcome. I first had country dancing with year 2 and both classes were focused and got their head around the fancy formations and changing partners! I split the class half and half for everybody to have a chance to perform and watch. Comments from the audience included ‘how we stand in little groups looks good’, ‘I noticed we made a cross with our arms when we went round’. When asked what their favourite part of the dance was one girl said ‘I liked changing partners’.

50s-danceYear 3 had a Rock ‘n’ Roll workshop with a twist, it linked to their topic, The Rainforest so they ended up with a fantastic Rainforest Rock ‘n’ Roll Party!

Year 4 brought in their wellies and did Gumboot dancing, a very loud African dance style.

Year 5 had a South American themed Samba Dance lesson and last, but not least, Year 6 did STOMP, full of rhythms and sounds, this was a very loud session too!

“The Year 4 classes were so musical and rhythmic and the excitement of the wellingtons helped them even more with their expression.”
Steph, TRS Teacher, February 2015

The TRS Teachers, School Teachers and Pupils all decided who they thought had worked hardest at their dances. These small groups performed in a celebration assembly at the end of the week.

“Dancing was great, I tried to pop in on most sessions.  Everything went well and all seemed to run to plan. I’d be more than happy to run something similar next year, finances permitting.
Thank you for all of your help with organising the week, really helped me out and was a great experience for all.”
Miss Jessup, Teacher at St Mary’s Primary School, February 2015

 

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Following the fantastic week at St Mary’s Primary, some more TRS Teachers went to Hoo St Werburg Primary School.

Foundation Stage had a theme that we’d not done before, China. Year 1 did Country Dancing and Year 2 had South American dance, both with Gemma.

“The children were really well behaved and concentrated well. They had nearly an hour and did really well.”
Foundation Stage Teacher at Hoo St Werburg School, February 2015

“The dance sessions today were fantastic, the children seemed to really enjoy it.”
Mr Tyler, Teacher at Hoo St Werburg Primary School after the first day of classes, February 2015

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Over the week Year 3 did Australian, Aboriginal style, dances with Steph and Clare (see the photo on the right), Year 4 danced The Charleston, Year 5 The Samba and Year 6 had Butoh, a Japanese dance style.

“I was really impressed with the dancers’ ability, they picked up steps really quickly and I even had to add extra steps for them.”
Clare, TRS Teacher, February 2015 

At the end of the week there will be a performance assembly to celebrate all the dances that have been learnt!

 

More about what we offer schools can be found HERE.
We are happy to help schools timetable events such as these world dance weeks. We take the stress out of making sure each class has the opportunity to take part and we make sure that each class has the most suitable dance teacher for the style or topic they’ve asked for.

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Living Longer

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Or more importantly Living Well for Longer:

There has been much publicity recently regarding the increasing of our life expectancy in light of which, we thought we would also look into the recent announcement that one in three children born today is likely to live to 100! In fact this statistic was first announced by the ONS (office for national statistics) back in 2012. Meaning that some of our teachers already have students that stand a one in three chance of seeing their hundredth birthday.

There was quite a focus on the wealth aspect, and how people might have to work for longer or pensions last for longer, however as a dance company thought we were in the perfect position to focus on the health issue. It is all very well living to a hundred, but we want to live well for those hundred years, not spend the last few decades struggling with health issues. Thankfully further research has shown that regular exercise can help prevent or delay the onset of many diseases that can show up in later life, such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and lung problems. Here is just one article of many about the health benefits of exercise.

As a result, we have decided to focus on fitness in our chlidrens’ classes. Habits learned early can stick for life, so why not instil some healthy habits? As pension plans are best started young, why not start your child’s health pension really young? Whilst this is not simply about obesity, excessive weight gain has been shown to be one of the major health issues in children in middle childhood, with this also potentially leading to a number of serious conditions in later life. (Boyd & Bee, 2009).

Rocking Through The Stone Age at Miers Court Primary

Rocking Through The Stone Age at Miers Court Primary

And hence our decision to focus our current dance classes on fitness. Of course In reality, any well-planned dance class is going to help improve fitness. They would all include some gently increasing levels of cardio vascular exercise to warm up, toning and dynamic stretching exercises to prepare muscles for dancing, and further stretching cool them down afterwards. And the dancing itself is a lively activity, so it doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to shift the focus a little more towards the fitness aspect of our classes. Already major dance educators such as the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) have included longer jumping sequences in their new syllabi, realising not only the importance of increased cardiovascular fitness but also the fact that modern children are more likely to get their most regular exercise through organised classes as opposed to playing outside in their own time. Here is quite an interesting article on this by the BBC.

So… our dance teachers will be planning their classes with this in mind, increasing the cardio-vascular elements of their classes just that little bit more. This way the children we teach will be getting fitter without even realising. Learning healthy habits in a fun way that will hopefully help them lead a healthier and livelier later life.

The Jungle Book at Singlewell

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Written by Stephanie Vezmar (Level Two TRS Teacher)

When I try to remember my year 6 leavers’ assembly (it’s fair to say that the memory does feel distant and hazy!) I certainly don’t remember dancing. There may have been a small song or two, lots of speaking and shaking of hands… most prominently I remember being handed a dictionary!  So when I was offered the opportunity to choreograph some dance numbers for Singlewell Primary School’s Year 6 leavers’ assembly I, of course, jumped at the chance.  The Year 6 at Singlewell were about to start rehearsing for The Jungle Book. The show had been cast, script edited and now all they needed were some dance routines.

In Rehearsal - The Bear Necessities

In Rehearsal – The Bear Necessities

 

I was instantly impressed with the professionalism and enthusiasm of all students in the year 6 class. On my first visit I told them of my plans for their choreography, what I expected of them in rehearsals, and how, in just 3 hours per group they were going to have learnt and rehearsed a dance number ready to perform to the rest of the school, teachers and parents. There were no concerns, no fear…the year 6 were raring to go!


As always, with any forthcoming performances, I will always ask my students to rehearse and practice. It soon became clear, as each group returned to me they had been working very hard and rehearsing without me (in turn making me a very happy dance teacher!) With all that practice and precision of the routines under their belt, we were able to set the routines on the stage. It always exciting the first time things start coming together,  as we were setting the spacing on the stage, Mr.Harrison, with the help if other students, we’re starting to set the back drop and scenery.

In no time, the 6 weeks has flown by and today I sat at the back of the school hall waiting for the performance. The scenery looked great, the costumes were fantastic (animal onesies were popular!) and the acting was very impressive. I was placed in position so that the students could see me, and should they have needed to, they could copy me for their dance routines. As they had demonstrated in that very first rehearsal, there was no fear…their dance routines were fantastic! Brilliantly rehearsed, humorously characterised and clean choreography. Once again, a very happy Dance Teacher!

The Bear Necessities

The Bear Necessities

I Wanna Be Like You

I Wanna Be Like You

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The magic of theatre and dance certainly brought this year 6 leavers assembly alive and ensured everybody left the school hall wearing a smile.  I have been most impressed with the students professionalism and willingness to try (and accomplish!) everything I challenged them with. But overall, and most importantly, I was humbled by their complete enjoyment throughout the whole process.  I wish the year 6 at Singlewell a very bright future at their new secondary schools.

To see all of the photos please go to our Photo Gallery.

What does the school think?
Mr Harrison, the School’s Sports Co-ordinator send an email to thank us for our work over the year. He also gave us this testimonial…

“With the sports funding directed towards primary schools I felt that an area that we could improve on would be dance. It is a very popular form of sport within our school and we have managed to get every child participating from Reception through to Year 6 with a variety of taster sessions as well as after school clubs.
Our school headteacher and I have been very impressed with the Right Step Dance Company and as such have secured their services for 2014/15.
Mainly focusing on Street Dance this year, we have also had Bollywood and Interpretative Dance. Next year we will try a few more dance forms.
We would like to thank Rebecca, Natalie, Georgia and Stephanie for all their hard work and the school are now looking forward to seeing the choreographed dance routines for this year’s School Production of the Jungle Book. ”
Mr D Harrison, PE Coordinator at Singlewell Primary School, Gravesend, June 2014

Music Through Time

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This term I’ve been working with Year 5 at Miers Court Primary School. We’ve had a fantastic time exploring music of the past 100 years, with the help of Doctor Who, of course.

The first class began with a warm up about the various aliens in Doctor Who. Soon the dancers were making shapes and travelling like Judoon, Weeping Angels, Cyber Men, Darleks, Krillitane, and The Ood. For a few weeks we only used these shapes and movements in warm up, but by the time we’d finished the dance, everything became clear and we had managed to include all the different aliens in the dance.

There’s so much music to choose from over the past 100 years. I had to be ruthless and pick only 5 songs! I chose songs that were very different from each other and that already had a movement style linked to them. I mixed all the songs together, along with the Doctor Who Theme Tune to make the music for their performance.

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Week One – Vogue by Madonna, 1990
I taught a voguing motif and the dancers embellished it with their own ideas. They soon noticed how closely they had to listen to the music and each group work really hard to keep in time with the other. I was pleased to see that from the first class all the dancers were concentrating hard and excited to get on with it.

Week Two – Thriller by Michael Jackson, 1982
We made up a motif as a whole class. There were all sorts of grotesque zombie inspired movements. I think this was the favourite song for most of the dancers. Something about it seemed to appeal to them!

Week Three – The Twist by Chubby Checker, 1960
This time we did some improvisation and then each group decided on their own structure. The rules were that each person had to do a short solo at some point, but they also had to include twisting as a group.

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Week Four –  Sing, Sing, Sing, 1937
The hall space wasn’t available, but the sun was shining so we went outside and I taught the dancers some Swing Dance steps. The dancers had dance with a partner or in groups of three this time. They were so imaginative and I especially liked that some of the boys took a few football foot work exercises and adapted them into Swing Dance.

Week Five – Mars from The Planet Suite by Holst, written between 1914 and 1916
We didn’t use a dance style this time. Instead the dancers used the shapes and travelling movements from our warm up and at some point in this sequence they had to turn into their group’s alien.

The final week was our last rehearsal. By this time we’d put all the separate bits together and the dancers had worked really hard to remember everything. The classes watched each other and Year 2 joined us to watch as well!

The dancers performed so well. Both groups finally managed to stop talking as they danced (they did this accidentally in most rehearsals because they were so excited to get it right!) and the audience really enjoyed seeing so many different dance styles in one performance. The Year 5 were very proud of themselves and I was very proud of them.

I will be back in September to work with another year group and if they’re half as good as the groups I’ve already taught, they will be fantastic. I can’t wait!

To see all of the photos please go to our Photo Gallery.

Here’s a video that was Automatically created using randomly selected photos and videos.

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18 dancers, 12 minute dance, 3 shows, proud TRS

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Balfour Infants School’s Year 2 Dance Club have worked spectacularly hard this year to choreograph, tie together and rehearse for their Year 2 performance, a tradition at the school. The dancers have all been a pleasure to work with. They all performed beautifully and should be very proud of themselves.

The dance was choreographed by the dancers and myself over the past two years. They are a creative bunch, full of energy and ideas! The dancers chose their favourite bits and I mixed the songs together for them so we could perform them all! Four of the dancers joined us part way through this year and so didn’t know a lot of the material. They set their mind to it and, by the performance, you couldn’t tell the difference between them and any of the others so well done them!

This was the group’s second performance. The first was at The Rats Bay Shindig in April 2014. They performed ‘The Upside Down Dance’. Some of that dance was included in the final performance. The dancers were fantastic at the shindig as well. You can read more about that HERE.

I also teach a Year 1 Dance Club at Balfour Infants School. I asked the group what they thought of the performance and here are some comments I received from them.

‘The show was fantastic because the year 2s kept practising and they were really good at it.’
Willow

‘I liked the Happy dance that they did in it and they mixed it all together.’
Rubi

‘It was fantastic because it just was. My favourite bit was probably the bit when they looked like an egg at the start and then they grew into something.’
Ella

So, what you’ve been waiting for! Here’s the video…

‘The Upside Down Dance’, ‘Storm Vs. Sun’, ‘Lion King’, ‘The Oompa Loompa Dance’, ‘James Bond Warm Up’, ‘Happy!!’

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Maths and Dance and Such a lot of Feedback!

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Lorraine went to St Nicholas Infants School today to lead some cross-curricular dance workshops with a Maths and Dance theme! Here are some of the things the participants and their teachers said about the classes.

Comments from Class 1 (Year 2) after their Maths and Dance class
‘I liked my group doing the turn.’
‘Liked it all, was a good thinking game and fun as well.’
‘Liked going round circle saying names and going fast.’
‘Liked group balancing and turning.’
‘Great warm-up [think they mean the games as we didn’t do a normal warm-up’

‘That was brilliant! The children loved it. Was great to see how easily they could learn a sequence in a group, without pressure. We will use the station idea in our next session [country dancing].’
Year 2 Teacher, St Nicholas Infants School, June 2014

 

Comments from Class 2 (Year 1/2) after their Maths and Dance class
‘Enjoyed the jumps.’
‘Liked all of it. Liked watching group doing the snake move.’
‘Liked making shaped and ‘can you’ game.’
‘Wonderful. It was really fun. Especially spaghetti and meat balls [from the ‘can you’ game]’
‘I liked the station moves.’

‘I loved watching my class working as a team, and without speaking!’
Year 1/2 Teacher, St Nicholas Infants School, June 2014


Comments from Class 3 (Year R/1) after their Maths and Dance class
‘Liked balancing and low shapes.’
‘Liked turning.’
‘I liked everything. I liked the spinning.’
‘I liked balancing.’ 


Class 4 (Reception) after their Maths and Dance class
‘Liked the balances’
‘The lying on the floor, and spiderman picture’
‘Liked picture of girl balancing’
‘Liked picture and move for spiderman’
‘Liked the spin’
‘Liked the jump. Really high.’

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We’ve Gone International!

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Yes it has been a very multicultural couple of weeks here at  The Right Step.

Our cross curricular classes have really been in full swing. There we use dance to enhance primary school education. And this month we seem to have been travelling the world!

First off we had National dance classes at Greenvale Infants School as part of their music week. Students from the whole school had been learning about different types of music, discovering how music can be quiet, loud, fast, slow and how it can also have different rhythms. They all then learned different national dances, with Reception getting to grips with the stately Polonaise dance from Poland, Year one the Trepak from Russia and Year two mastering the Mazurka also from Poland! Here is a quote from the day:

Processed with Moldiv‘Me and Yatunday were the first and second to be walking down the yellow line. We did Russian dancing. It was brilliant.’
Paige about Russian and Polish Dance at Music Week, Greenvale Infants School, June 2014

This week we moved to warmer climes. With the World Cup, Balfour Infants School had their Brazilian week, Singlewell went all Bollywood on us, and Hilltop Primary School in Frindsbury were learning Samba as part of their Caribbean week.

I was teaching the Samba class and had been warned that some of the lads refused to dance… just didn’t like it. But today they did… all the lads were going for it as we learned the core elements of the Samba movements. Being a fairly complex version of the shimmy, I chose to break it right down for them and was so impressed with the results. We had some fantastic Basic Samba steps going on, we moved on to the Box Step and even got in the Box Step and Kick taking the choreography up a notch. Brilliant stuff.

Hmmm so… where will we be off to next?

Mighty Metals!

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Last term I worked with Year 3 at Miers Court Primary School on a cross-curricular dance project designed to enhance the pupils’ learning.

The Plan
Each year group in the school has a different theme to focus on each term. Last term, the theme for Year 3 was Mighty Metals so, using a cross-curricular approach, we explored magnets, metals, forces and movement.

Miers Court Mighty Metals

 

The Process
We began by watching Honda Cog, a fantastic video that shows how parts of a car come together in an unusual way to make a car start. From this we got lots of ideas for words that describe movements. There were six groups and they each created their own production line, passing their group’s chosen object down the line of people in an unusual and interesting way. After a few sessions we ended up joining all the groups together to make one, very long production line. It was very impressive and all the dancers did so well to keep going throughout the long dance. One class even came up with a plan to make a robot!

 

The Performance
There were four weeks to get ready, on the fifth week was the performance! The year 3 classes performed to each other, to the year 5 classes and to staff who included the Deputy Headteacher!

The rehearsal on the day was tense and very busy. At the last-minute a robot dance, choreographed by everyone in each class together, was added for a spectacular ending.

The audience arrived and were asked to sit right in the middle of the hall, very unusual some said. It worked perfectly for the performance though, the audience were surrounded by the robot production line and then, towards the end, the robots came towards them, dancing, before collapsing to the floor, all tired from the hard work!

The Video
We were very lucky because Clare, The Right Step’s Social Media Guru was able to join us to film and take photos. You can find the photos in our gallery or on Pinterest, http://www.pinterest.com/therightstep/mighty-metals/

Here’s the video…

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