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