The Medway Messenger reported on The Right Step on Friday 26th September 2014. We were on Page 37. How exciting!
Click on the image to see a larger version that you can read. Use Ctrl, scroll to zoom in even further.
The Medway Messenger reported on The Right Step on Friday 26th September 2014. We were on Page 37. How exciting!
Click on the image to see a larger version that you can read. Use Ctrl, scroll to zoom in even further.
Our Promo Croquis Event was a great success!
Richard Squarecube of Squarecube Artisans and I have been plotting Croquis Events for a while now. Having been unable to get them off the ground for one reason or another we are pleased to announce that, having joined forces with Sun Pier House, we now have three taster events planned for November and the official launch of monthly events will be January 2015, but more about that in a moment.
Yesterday evening we were joined by a few invited artists and dancer, Clare Wilders (yes, the TRS Teacher who also blogs on our website!) for a promo session. The idea? To gain feedback, photos and video footage to make future Croquis Events excellent!
Croquis is a traditional French art form. It’s a little like life drawing, but the models move occasionally. Richard and I have taken this a step further by adding dancers. The artists have to sketch very quickly, capturing the shapes or movements they see.
There were a few nerves at first, but they were completely squashed during the first go. Artists stood ready, drawing implements in hand, someone pressed play on the iPod and Clare and I were off… very, very slowly!
“I enjoyed the taster and could have carried on for hours…it was really out of my comfort zone yet such a refreshing change to sketch quickly and with abandon, not worrying about the images being perfect nor the end result. I ended up experimenting and creating images unlike anything I have done before using unfamiliar materials (to me) such as charcoal and pastel.”
The artists used various materials, including an iPad, to capture what they saw. Some used multiple pieces of paper, finishing each round with a floor covered in sketches, others draw movement upon movement and created a layered effect. Its was apparent everywhere that, whoever you are, whatever your experience, the event was inspiring.
From a dancer’s point of view Croquis Events are very self-indulgent. They are an opportunity to move however you feel like moving (slowly of course!), really getting into the moment and forgetting the stresses of the day.
As a Dancer how was the event for you?
“It was great actually, quite selfish, because it meant I could get involved in the music and express it how I felt at the time.”
Clare, Croquis Event Dancer
I especially enjoyed the moments when artists moved into the space to dance. First I danced with Jo, an artist who, I’m told, will try anything. Jo’s influence made me move differently and she gave the surrounding artists further inspiration.
Isabella joined me towards the end and we focused on hand movements. It’s an unusual experience for a dancer to focus on the many ways our hands can move. We were told afterwards that, though our movements were intricate, varied and interesting, for an artists, they were a huge challenge. “Us artists don’t draw hands often, we really should” said Richard. Perhaps this is a challenge we focus on at some point!
Everyone asked when they can have another go so we’re pleased to have dates ready and set! To keep up to date and see some more photos and our video please like our brand new Facebook Page or see the Croquis Events web page.
The first three dates for your diary…
Sunday 16th November, 2-3.30pm ‘An Introduction to Croquis Events’
Sunday 23rd November, 2-3.30pm ‘Explore Croquis Your Own way’
Sunday 30th November, 2-3.30pm ‘What Can We Do With This?’
All held at Sun Pier House Gallery and Tea Room, Medway Street, Chatham, ME4 4HF
Just £15/session or £10/session if you bring your own materials.
Book one of the limited places now…
Last month I was inspired to ask some of the people we work with this question and I was amazed by the responses. I’d like to thank everyone who answered as they all took time in their busy schedules to think about their reply. They really are fantastic.
The Right Step Dance Company provide many dance opportunities for people in Medway reaching all ages and abilities. Through their different programmes they can adapt their teaching to any environment. Whether it is with children and young people in schools to vulnerable older people in day and residential care settings.
Through provision of education and training they are up-skilling the dance workforce in Medway and increasing employment opportunities for not only their teachers, but for dance artists within the region.
They are capable of working in partnership on many levels, with schools, day and residential care centres, stakeholders and not forgetting the public, successfully.
Their outlook is far-reaching and inclusive, providing benefits within the community, contributing to dance education both formally and informally and dance to help increase health and well being.
Luci Napleton, Dance Development, Arts Team, Medway Council, August 2014
The Right Step Dance Company is committed to driving throughout the community an awareness of, and participation in, the enjoyment and benefits of dance. Right Step provides a very wide range of different dance styles as Princess Anne said to Rebecca Ashton “so you can teach everything from the Waltz to the Military Two Step!’ The Right Step’s approach is summarised in its own statement of “Dance at Any Age, for Any Ability” – this includes in-school dance lessons and dance clubs, training of teachers in dance and assisting schools with cross-curriculum support on specific topics as well as its proprietary form of chair based exercise for the older market called “Active Armchairs”.
In addition to its longer term activities with schools, care homes and Age UK, Right Step is especially talented at creating individual events for schools such as end of term concerts or events highlighting a particular topic of interest to the school.
Of particular importance to the company is its involvement in other community activities, For instance, its warm up routine “dancing santas” as precursor to the Rotary fun run is rapidly becoming institutionalised. The company was commissioned in both 2012 and 2013 to create, choreograph and participate in events as part of the FUSE Medway Festivals, in 2012 the theme was to create “Changes in the Current” a visual memory bank about the Medway Esplanade at Rochester. The programme for 2013 lead to the creation of The Sirens of Cetham, which was featured again in 2014 and is likely to be a recurring theme in the future.
Rebecca regularly leads her colleagues through programmes of training in new styles but especially in continuous professional development in order to ensure that the company delivers its services and meets its customers’ expectations at the highest possible level.
Ian Goodwin, Mentor for The Prince’s Trust, August 2014
The Right Step Dance Company are a professional company who place community values at the heart of their organisation. With a dedicated and trustworthy practice, you can rely on them to deliver high quality arts to those who require them within the Medway Towns. With a wide repertoire under their belts, classes range from Active Armchairs for older citizens, to school friendly curriculum based classes. They deliver a professional and friendly service every time.
Since The Right Step Dance Company have moved to Sun Pier House they have been actively involved with community events. They contributed to The Big Dance and Medway River Festival with their Sirens performance, which involved creating a site specific piece, fusing modern dance with mythology. They have also held a series of dance training events for teachers, and raised community awareness for Dementia Friends.
Since their time at Sun Pier House their connections have widened, networking with arts based practitioners to commission new work and enrol new teachers.
Keely Augustus, Sun Pier House, August 2014
As someone who has only recently located to the Medway area, The Right Step gave me work. As a self-employed dance teacher I had been concerned about my prospects in a new area, and The Right Step have used my services on a regular basis, thus enabling me to establish my business.
As far as benefitting the Arts, The Right Step are up there at every Medway dance event championing the genre, with their teachers providing free dance workshops for people of all ages and abilities. They have also collaborated with professional dancers and choreographers to produce live dance performances at these events (Medway River Festival and The Big Dance for example) for all to enjoy. As well as this they bring the art of dance into primary schools and care homes with their Cross Curricular and Active Armchair programs.
They have also provided relevant training for all Medway residents with their Social Media Strategies and Assertiveness and Behavioural Management workshops, as well as providing continuing professional development specifically for teachers in the area with their Active Armchairs and Cross Curricular teacher training programs.
As a dance teacher, they have also helped improve my own business by enabling me to broaden my network simply by being open and sharing of their knowledge, contacts and expertise.
Being a part of the TRS team is not just about teaching a bit of dance, it is about being a fundamental part of Medway’s Creative Community and opening that creativity to all the residents, not just an elite few.
Clare Wilders, Dance Teacher, Rochester, August 2014
I have been fortunate to work with Right Step Dance Company as a collaborating artist, and also to witness some of their performances and workshops as an audience member and the parent of an involved child.
Across all these activities I have been struck by the personal energy exuded from these activities, whether in presenting the concepts and stories of performance dance works, or involving and instructing others. With Encouragement and education through these activities, The Right Step proves this is a medium that can be enjoyed, regardless of ability and able-bodiedness.
There is currently an Arts explosion within Medway, and Becky and her team seem to be fully ‘in-step’ with this. Working collaboratively with a multitude of other arts forms and media. Incorporating fine arts, musicians, textiles etc. Into astounding and above all enjoyable works. Which can only add to and encourage by example others to venture into these areas whereas before they might have been reticent? Making arts, especially performance arts; which at a minimum increase health and personal wellbeing through movement and involvement, accessible.
Richard Jeferies, Artist, July 2014
It’s to do with stimulating people isn’t it. Whether old, young or what, it’s about giving them the opportunity they need to release energy through exercise.
The Right Step offers the right, trained staff to do that. It’s a service that the schools and care homes of Medway find invaluable. The Right Step offers added value, a service that enriches people’s lives.
Tim Dawson, Zoo Design, July 2014
The Right Step is an important part of Medway. It offers work and professional development for dancers and dance teachers and encourages all ages and abilities to dance – everyone has the opportunity to innovate, build confidence, focus their thoughts and allow expression of their feelings while promoting physical and healthy well being.
Gemma Quinnell, TRS Teacher and Dance, Health and Fitness Professional, July 2014
Nikki Price Photography received a private performance from The Sirens of Cetham Team when she came to photograph them before their River Festival and Big Dance performances in July 2014. We’re so pleased she braved the weather because her photos, as always, are fantastic.
This album contains just a few of her photos, these are The Faces of TSOC. Keep your eye out as we will post more in the near future.
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.
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 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
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!
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.
Our first part in this special day was a performance by Ginny and Maude. This time they were at the seaside for a hilarious adventure involving indecision, ice cream, Charleston dance and lots more! The Mayor was present and was amused to receive one of the very special comics drawn by Richard Squarecube. Richard is an artist based at Sun Pier House and, as well as his comic, his Ginny and Maude painting was hung on the pier and his Sirens of Cetham water colour could be found in the Big Dance green room. I’m so pleased our dance performances have inspired him so much!
Next for us were dance workshops. I had just enough time to squeeze in an Active Armchairs workshop that I co-facilitated with Georgia. Active Armchairs in the sunshine, on the pier, beautiful! Georgia also lead a very popular Creative Dance workshop and fellow TRS Teacher, Alix was there with her dance company, AMG Dance, so she lead a workshop too!
As if that wasn’t enough, we then entered The River Festival’s domain for a spectacular performance of The Sirens of Cetham. The promenade between Big Dance and The River Festival was long. The sirens and musicians got tired in the hot sun, but it was well worth it as they collected the audience up with their haunting sounds and intriguing presence.
The performance at The River Festival had a huge audience. I was pleased to hear that one mum said, “My son is normally all over the place, but he sat still and watched captivated. When I asked if he wanted to see something else he said no and he stayed for the whole piece. Fantastic.”
Then I walked back as the promenade went back to Sun Pier and Big Dance for yet another performance. This time the audience had been warmed up by The Big Sing. 12 minutes later, and the final performance was over. Luci Napleton who organised Big Dance 2014 in Medway thanked everyone for coming. I would like to thank Luci for doing such a brilliant job and for including us in so many different ways.
Throughout the day I did get a few chances to see other things that were going on. The water displays were especially exciting. A jets ski flipping record attempt and a man doing dolphin dives with water shooting out of his boots and propelling him into the air. There were boats and barges everywhere. The tea room in Sun Pier House was packed. The Artists of Sun Pier House had multiple displays of their work as part of Medway Open Studios. In the Sun Pier House Gallery Kent Association for the Blind (KAB) and edna had an exhibition of art and photography. So much to see and do!
I took lots of photos and video footage during the day and was pleased that my phone made an Auto Awesome, a video automatically made of randomly selected photos and video, very clever! So many people, organisations and mythical creatures featured, Big Dance, The River Festival, The Edith May, Silversmith Dance Theatre, Ginny and Maude, Richard Squarecube, Sun Pier House, Jacob Bride, Sophie Wophie, KAB, Active Armchairs, The Dance Community, Luci Napleton, AMG Dance, Medway Open Studios, edna, Dementia Friends, The Sirens of Cetham, Jet Stream Tours, The Big Sing and many more!
Our final rehearsal with the sirens was in their favourite type of weather, rain!
We were lucky enough to be joined by our musicians, Jacob Bride and Jamie Godfrey, and to have vocals from the lovely Sue Coxon. They promenade with the sirens from Sun Pier House all the way to the grass under The Mayor’s Lawn.
Jacob Bride also composed the music and with Jamie’s help they played the many instruments and produced it too! A multi talented pair!
Our fantastic costume developer, Rosie was with us, making sure the sirens’s kept their jewels in the right places and don’t squirrel them away, we know they like to do that!
Nikki Price, the siren’s favourite photographer, was present to capture it all. We are very thankful to Nikki for the fantastic photos she took last year, I’m sure you’ve seen them, and can’t wait to see this year’s photos too. I’m sure they will be quite a contrast, one set in beautiful sunshine and the next in cloudy weather!
Even with the weather, the rehearsal went really well and I’m looking forward to everything taking place at The River Festival and Big Dance on Saturday.
See you there!
This year Medway celebrates Big Dance with not one, but two big celebration days! One on July 6th at Medway Park in Gillingham, the second on July 12th on Sun Pier in Chatham. Of course, we couldn’t miss either event and this blog post (to be updated as the events progress) will tell you all about it.
Today was Big Dance at Medway Park. There was a fantastic mix of dance performances and workshops from new companies such as Vez Dance to the more experienced Loop Dance Company who were, this year, commissioned to create a new piece with Boy Blue Entertainment. We especially liked that there were dancers of all ages. From little Pop Dancers with AMG Dance to the ladies from Moving Memory Dance Company, showing that just because you look older doesn’t mean you dance like it.
As well as things on the main stage there were lots of stalls. We shared The Right Step’s stall with Alix, one of the TRS Teachers, and her dance company, AMG Dance. We had a great time meeting the dancers who take part in her classes in various venues in Rainham/Gillingham. The stall next to us was another TRS Teacher, Gemma Quinnell, with her dance and fitness company. Just along the way was Georgia, our Adult Dance Coordinator and TRS Teacher. Georgia manned Loop Dance Company’s stall. What a good bunch!
The day was a great show of how integrated in the local dance and general community The Right Step has become in the past few years. I was proud to see so many of the TRS Teachers there as well as people we’ve worked with on various projects and in our regular work. They included Luci Napleton (organiser of the whole fantastic event) who works for Medway Council’s arts team and who also organised edna, an inspiring dance, arts and health project I was involved with last year.
Heather Burgess from Sun Pier House had a stall all about Medway Open Studios and two artists were with her. I took a few minutes away from the stall and ‘Made a Face’ out of paper with them. Next week we will be on Sun Pier for Big Dance, right next to Sun Pier House. We are very thankful to them that we can use some space there as our Green Room, especially as Sun Pier House is playing host to Medway Open Studios at the moment!
As with many of these events, we made an Auto-Awesome, a clever app that takes a random selection of photos and video footage from the day and mixes it altogether. remember, it’s random so it doesn’t always make sense, but it is a fantastic overview of the day and we hope you enjoy watching it. Can you pick out all of the TRS Teachers!
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.’
‘I liked the Happy dance that they did in it and they mixed it all together.’
‘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.’
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!!’