Categotry Archives: Cross-curricular Dance

Everybody Moving – Families at Home

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With so many families stuck at home we thought we’d share ideas about how you can do movement activities throughout the day. Parents are doing a fantastic job home schooling and brain breaks are really important when learning. Also, young children learn really well whilst moving, just see our Educating Dance blogs to find out more.

Many children, and adults, are doing morning PE (us included!). This blog isn’t really designed for that, we will share some excellent PE session links soon though. This blog is about little moments of activity throughout the day for fun and for bonding.

A Little Boogie

Some of the TRS Teachers have been filming themselves dancing our participant’s favourites. Georgie has filmed I Love Rock and Roll to start with and there will be others soon. Participants from some of her dance clubs will recognise them so maybe they could teach the people they live with!

You can find the videos on our Youtube channel, therightstepdc and we have created a playlist called Everybody Moving or click on this link… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=381I6FzN7N8&list=PLVZOGYX_NfRnJ7BIb7zLlu6AkxihRbulB

Have a flick through to see what you can find. 

Paint a Dance

get a piece of paper, any size, and drop some random blobs of paint on it in lots of different colours. Play some inspirational music and let your body dance to move the blobs. This could be done with fingers and hands, feet or a paint brush! Maybe you could do a huge table sized family one?

Follow The Leader

Play some music and follow the leader. Everyone in the household has to copy the leader exactly. This could be a great way to sneakily get some chores done. You could use props too. We’ll be getting a list of props we have at home out soon!

Disco Dress Up

Find sparkly clothes, accessories and wigs. Use whatever you can find. Put the disco music on, turn it up and have a family disco!

Trigger Word

This one gives the adults some power! Think of a trigger word and choose a movement such as an octopus wiggle or freeze shape such as a star (arms and legs out). Whenever the trigger word is shouted throughout the day, the children have to do the movement or freeze shape. You could also do a run to the nearest wall when the trigger word is shouted.

Air Guitar

Put on some classic rock and air guitar your hearts out.

Make a Shape

Choose a shape announcer or take turns. Say a shape and see how you can make that shape with your body. Try using your whole body, not just your hands. We’d love to see them so please share your ideas.

Material Fun

You need a quite a large piece of material that you can hold onto such as a single bed sheet or large towel and a small ball, or a few balls. Each hold a bit of the material, put the balls on and see if you can keep them there. Balfour Infants School demonstrate in the photo.

Adapt an Action Song

Choose a fun action song like the Cha cha slide or YMCA. The challenge is to change some of the movements to make your family’s own actions!

Dance Game

Not strictly all about moving, but a really fun idea. Older children could design a dance board game for the family to do. Forfeits must be dance related. Our mini challenges blog might be inspiring. 

Just a few ideas. We will add more so keep an eye out. You can also read more on our other blog posts.

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

 

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Magic Spells

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This is definitely ideal for those who love Harry Potter, but it can be for anyone interested in magic or who just wants to feel like a witch or wizard! 

This is an idea for people at any age, for any ability. Just adapt it to suit you and the people with you. 

Please make sure you have a safe space to do this in, warm yourself up appropriately and adapt everything to suit your needs.

You can begin by talking about Harry Potter or generally about books that include magic in them. This is a great idea for care homes due to the reminiscence and learning elements. It would also be fantastic for families who could have their own Harry Potter duel afterwards. There are also so many home schooling ideas that could be undertaken with Harry Potter as the theme. 

Cast Your Spells!

Each person needs a magic wand. This could be a stick from the garden, a lolly stick, spoon held backwards or, if your lucky enough to have them rhythm sticks. Some people may also have some really Harry Potter character wands at home if they’re big fans!

Next, learn some magic spells from Harry Potter. Think about the type of movements you would do for the result of each spell. Some people might know the real movements for the spells to. Swish and Flick!

Wingardium Leviosa – this spell levitates objects (or trolls) so swish and flick then hold your wand as you levitate the object.

Accio – the spell to bring things to you, you’ll have to hold onto this spell until the object arrives of course.

Alohamora – A little tap that unlocks doors.

Augmenta – Create water. Shake your wand as if water is coming out of the end.

Expecto Patronum – The Patronus charm to ward off Dementors. A big sweeping arm movement.

 

You can take this further by making up movements for how you might react to someone casting a spell.

Engorgio – make things larger

Reducio – make things smaller

Ridiculous – used for defeating a Bogart. This spell makes you look hilarious.

Expelliarmous – Disarming spell

Lumos – Turns the lights on, they might be quite bright!

 

If home schooling you could also think about your Patronus might be and why. You could draw it or make a model.

Reading is so important for all of us at the moment. Why not have a Harry Potter marathon and read them all!

 

For more ideas about how to keep moving at this time please read our other blogs designed to help people have fun and move throughout the day.

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home

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Dance The Tale

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Anyone can do this, it’s good serious or silly fun at any age, for any ability.

All you need is a well loved story, (short or long), some music or if the book is short, someone to read the book and some dancers. For those who are home schooling at the moment this could be a fun English lesson. If you’re in a care home or retirement home you could do this with residents in the main room or just outside their doors. If you’re a family at home this is such a fun bonding activity.

Just adapt it for your needs.

Please make sure you have a safe space to do this in, warm yourself up appropriately and adapt everything to suit your needs.

Dance The Tale

We love to ‘Dance The Tale’. We celebrate World Book Day by making books come to life in our Educating Dance workshops and you can read more about it here: https://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/2020/03/29/book-week-2020/

Here are two examples. One that is a children’s book that could be danced as a family and the other one is aimed at older children, adults or care homes. The Snail and The Whale and The Chronicles of Narnia! You can do your own ones easily though and we’d love to hear about them. 

 

An example from The Right Step’s Director, Rebecca Ashton

The Snail and The Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The easiest way to do this is to read the story and have the children improvise (find out what that means here) around the themes on each page. You’ll be amazed what they come up with.

Here’s a list of words and themes you could pick up on for each page, just take it as it comes though. Let them be free with their moving story telling!

Pg 1 – “Tiny snail”, “great big blue humpback whale”, “the sea is deep”, “the world is wide”
Pg 3 – “The silvery tail looped and curled”, how does the snail move?
Pg 6 – “This is the whale”, how ford the whale move?
Pg 7 – “This is the sea”, how does the sea move?
Pg 9 – “Firey mountains”, explode and jump like a volcano
Pg 11 – “These are the waves that arched and crashed”, how do the waves move?
Pg 12 – Fish and sharks swimming
Pg 13 – “Thunderstorm”, “Lightening”, “Flashing”
Pg 16 – “I feel so small”
Pg 17 – “Zigging and zooming all over the place”
Pg 20 – “I can’t move on land! I’m too big!”
Pg 21 – “Sit straight! Don’t talk!”
Pg 22 – “This is the trail”, write your name as a snail
Pg 23 – “running” , “digging”
Pg 25 – “Travel safely away”
Pg 28 – All the words about the journey coming back excitedly!
Pg 30 – “On the tail” looking around ready for the next adventure

You could take this further with some of these ideas. I’d love to plan a workshop or medium term plan about this book. There are so many options!!

The snail loves to write with his body. You could do other things to do with writing with your body such as writing in huge letters with your arms or feet. You could link this to art and use crayons on their sides to write like the snail, great for fine motor skills!

Saving whales and the ocean in general is a really important current theme. Whilst home schooling children could use persuasive writing to discuss conservation, draw posters about whales or play more dance games around the theme. We also have a blog about conservation in the pipeline so keep an eye out. 

 

An example from TRS South Kent’s Director, Georgie Tedora

For another story that’s well known, you could use The Chronicles of Narnia. As these are novels, they are a lot longer to look at page by page and there are also 7 of them, that’s right 7! So I’ve chosen, not only my favourite, but probably the most well known one: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. This is a wonderful story set in war times and really uses the imagination from not only the writer, but allows the reader to interpret it too.

Like I said, this is more of a novel so I have chosen some key parts to give you some ideas, but feel free to add more!

Starting off with the setting of war time and when children became evacuee’s. There are 4 siblings who are moved away together. For this you could use the simple idea of packing your things, or even the train the children travel on. Remember, it was wartime so the train would have been a steam train, lots of mechanisms and noises. You can really experiment with that.

When the children are in their temporary home, which is quite a large country home, they are playing and exploring the house when Lucy – the youngest sibling – stumbles across a wardrobe. She hides inside and discovers something amazing. The wardrobe is a magical door that leads to a new world called Narnia. You could use lots of ideas here, creating magical worlds to your liking. You may create a world entirely under water, something in out of space, or a snowy kingdom (like Narnia itself).

As I mentioned, Narnia is covered in snow. The White Witch has put the land under a permanent spell to always make it winter. Lots of ‘cold’ movements here. Perhaps even winter games like snowball fights!

The children, unbeknownst to them, are in danger in Narnia. The White Witch has ordered any humans to be captured, anyone who breaks these rules will be turned to stone by the Witch. You can really break down this part, by getting participants to imagine each singular part of the body becoming stone and unable to move. You can also reverse this (which is what happens later in the story! It is a happy ending I promise).

The children meet some more animals in Narnia, but they end up getting chased by a pack of wolves. You can use the idea of a chase, or hunting even searching for this. Or you could use the idea of the wolves fur. Imagining what they feel like, soft? Coarse?

After they have run for a while, they bump into…. Father Christmas! Yep, that’s right. Lots of ways to interpret this part of the story. You could pretend to be Father Christmas. You could use your favourite part of Christmas to move, like decorating the tree or cooking Christmas dinner?

From Father Christmas, the children each receive a special gift to defeat the White Witch. A Magical horn, a bow and arrow, a healing potion, a dagger, a sword and a shield. Lots of images to use here. Stretching the arms to pull the bow and arrow. Swiping motions for the sword and lots more. Really use your imagination to create different moves for the story.

The next part is where the ‘hero’ of the story comes in. Aslan, a beautiful, brave lion who has set up an army to defeat the queen. Each participant could become the lion. Show of their manes. Big strong powerful movements, but graceful at the same time. After all, Aslan should be king.

The Battle! The army takes on the White witch and her army. You can use some army moves (some of the participants may remember the movements). Again, using strong powerful moves. Different ‘weapons’ in battle. Really get involved in the movements here.

Finally, the happy ending! The children and Aslan defeat the witch and in doing so, Aslan undoes the spell the White Witch put on a lot of animals by using his breath so they are no longer stone. As well as this, the seasons go back to normal and the sun comes out with lots of flowers and trees growing. You can imagine yourself being a plant and growing from a seed to enjoy the sunshine.

Those are just a few key parts you can use from the book. But, like I said, there are more and there are also 6 other books! Enjoy dancing the story and let us know how you get on.

 

If you would like us to do more examples for Dance The Tale please let us know and we’ll see what we can do! 

If you would like some more ideas about how to keep moving throughout the day please see our other blog posts.

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home

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Book Week 2020

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Thank you Georgie for compiling this blog post…

This year we had lots of wonderful Book Week sessions. We went back to schools we’ve been to before such as Halling Primary and Balfour Infants, but we also got to go to new schools to, like Rosherville Primary and Palace Wood Primary School. The TRS teachers has some wonderful lessons and they wanted to share their experiences with you, so here you go….

 

Rebecca Ashton – Company Director

“I opened The Whale by Vita and Ethan Murrow expecting to read it before planning my dance lessons, but was surprised to find out that it was a picture book! A really beautiful picture book. The artists have done an amazing job and I was excited to find lots of inspiration for the workshops with Year 4 at Palace Wood.

I already knew some of the dancers from dance club and it was lovely to see how excited they were to do dance during school time. We started off with a warm up about the things that are negatively affecting whales. 6 out of the 13 great whale species are endangered and it’s no surprise when you look into what their up against. We had a movement for each item such as frantically trying to get out when ‘Entangled’ in a net or doing stretches that cover your ears for ‘Noise Pollution’.

Next we did some improvisation and I was so impressed with how everyone did. Although many were shy to start with, once they got into it, they surprised themselves and were very inventive.

The choreographic task was about teamwork and the senses the two children in the book used to find the whale. They had to include certain things such as balances as starting positions and a movement to represent each sense, except taste (we laughed that we wouldn’t be tasting the whale!). For one class I asked them to do this in groups and for the second I asked them to work in pairs or threes. It was interesting to see the difference, they all did really really well and every single dance was very different.

They showed each other the dances and gave each other thumbs up to show they enjoyed watching.

To finish we had cool down. We made a long whale shape out of partner arches down the middle of the room. I led the class under the arches and we did a follow the leader cool down that finished in a line near the door.

The groups did really really well. We only had an hour for each, but if they wanted to, they could extend the dances and create a class dance using the movements from warm up to create a motif, the improvisation section to lead into their group work and their traveling movements to get into the cool down whale shape as an ending position. There are a lot of ideas that could be used for dance in The Whale!

I’d like to say well done to all of the year 4s. They did fantastically, I had a wonderful time and I hope to see them all again soon.”

 

Georgie Tedora – Level 3 TRS teacher and Educating Dance Facilitator

I have been going to Halling Primary School for dance clubs and events for some time now so when the opportunity for a Book Week session came up I jumped at the chance! Especially as their theme was ‘Fantasia – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ which is one of my favourite stories.

We started off with a simple 4 corners type warm up. Each corner had a different magical move to go along with the story. The students got really involved and made such big movements that they were very warmed up afterwards!

I then taught them a choreographed piece using the three main characters – The Sorcerer, the apprentice (in this case Mickey Mouse) and the broomstick. I taught the whole class the routine, which told the story and then they decided what part they wanted to play. We then had 3 groups and we put the entire dance together. They did amazingly, really getting into the characters and performing!

Lastly, we did a creative task in pairs. They chose who was ‘A’ and who was ‘B’ and had to take turns mirroring each other and being the leader. After some experimenting with movements, I then told them they had to decided who was the apprentice and who was the broom. They  choreographed short dances showing the apprentice teaching the broom what to do, and then the broom misbehaving and not being a very good ‘human’. The participants got really involved and there were so many wonderful ideas. Each duet was completely different and definitely sparked more ideas for me in the future!

I always enjoy my time at Halling Primary, but this time I was blown away by their enthusiasm and ideas. Thank you for having me!

 

Jess Smith – Level 2 TRS Teacher and Educating Dance Teacher

Balfour Infants Year 2 – The Owl Who Was Afraid of The Dark

While at Balfour Infants we explored explosive movements to mimic fireworks and the movements of an owl. We had a discussion and practice of the different movements an owl would do. We started our owl movements with waking up, working together to stretch and practice our flight movements ready for our big jump down to the fireworks.

In groups we used different props to explore firework movements, we had egg shakers, scarves and liquid gold.

There were some great creative ideas when it came to creating the groups’ firework pieces, well done!

Balfour Infants Year R – Pirates

A day in the life of a pirate!

We worked together to choreograph our day, this included raising the mast, climbing to the lookout point with our telescope and treasure maps, using our canons to shoot down other pirate ships, fighting off the enemy with a sword fight, and hunting and digging for buried treasure.

There was a masking tape outline of a boat on the floor (and an X to mark the spot of buried treasure) to assist us with our positioning and activities for the day in the life of a pirate.

This worked really well as it helped with a visual representation of the tasks.

We had time in the class for the dancers to create their own day using the movements we had done already.

This led to some great exploring and imagination from everyone. Well done!

 

Rosherville Primary Years 4/5, 5 and 6 – Where the Wild Things Are

While at Rosherville we made our own journey to the Wild Things using exploration and imagination.

We rowed our boat, made our way through the forest by swinging on vines, getting ourselves out of mud and swimming through a lake.

In groups we created our own ‘rumpus’ using movements we had already done in the warm up and throughout the session, then headed back to our room by making our way back through the forest.

This was my first time at Rosherville Primary School and I was very impressed with the creativity and imagination from all year groups. Good job everyone!”

 

Louise Spearing – Level 2 TRS teacher and Educating Dance Teacher

This Book Week I explored the story of ‘The Lost and Found’ by Oliver Jeffs. Making the story come alive and taking the children into the book through movement. The adventure was set out by different sections around the room including an outline of a boat and magical snowball game corner. The children were able to engage with the book physically.

We built the boat on the floor and rose higher to make the side Then we moved our arms up and down and across the midline to ‘paint the boat’. In a seated line they rowed ‘the boat’ through calm and choppy oceans exploring fast and slow dynamics to the south pole. Arriving at the south pole, they were wobbling about, skating, swimming and belly sliding.

We did a Magical snowball competition to see who could collect the most snowballs. They had to put a scrunched-up scarf under their chins, waddle to the hoop and place it down until all snowballs were gone. 

At the end of the session, I asked the children to create a little bit of movement to show their favourite part of the adventure, which they performed in front of the class. All year 1 were really engaged and creative when it came to group work. Well done!

 

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Contemporary and Robots

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Written by Georgie, Director of TRS South Kent and Level Three TRS Teacher

After an amazing first term at Singlewell Primary last time, I was so excited to get back to it this term. And, well this term has been a bit of a rollercoaster! I had two very different dances to teach this term, Contemporary and Waltz. Contemporary was for year 1 and Waltz was with year 4.

Contemporary, for those of you who know, can be a difficult dance style to learn and has a huge variety of styles within itself. For year 1, I didn’t want to focus solely on technique as this would have been difficult to get within 5 weeks, but I did use that for warm ups. I started with a roll down to get their bodies moving and learning about the spine and how everything connects with it. They really grasped this and I was so impressed. I then did a ‘swing’ exercise. I told the participants the swing was my favourite at the park, and most agreed. We pretended to be the swings at the park, using different ways of swinging… with our backs, our arms and even our legs! We then did a bit of improvisation with floor work. I gave examples of how to move from one end of the room to the other, but only using the floor. They had to stay below a certain level and they absolutely loved this! They had such creative, expressive ideas that I even learnt a few more moves.

Our theme for our dance was emotions. I know lots of children learn this in schools and I wanted them to express themselves as much as possible in the dance, so I thought emotions would be a great way to do this. I chose the song ‘This is me’ from The Greatest Showman, as I hoped a lot of them would already know this and the lyrics to the song really suited this idea. Over the weeks I taught them the dance and we used 5 different emotions. We started off sad, then used: scared, disgust, anger and finally joy. With these students being year 1, I used images from the Disney film ‘Inside Out’ which helped them to understand each emotion better. They performed the routine amazingly and really got into character. Both the teacher and I loved watching their final performance.

They also got to be creative in groups. I split them into 5 groups and gave each group a different emotion. When they first started there was a lot of talking and sounds as well as being very literal in their movement. This was to be expected. However, by the last week, all talking was gone and they really thought outside the box to use movements to express their given emotion.

Year 1 worked so hard this term and I was so impressed by them! Well done all of you!

My next session at Singlewell Primary was with year 4’s. I was a bit nervous as I had been given the Waltz to teach them, and that age group would possibly not like the idea. However when I spoke to the teacher on the first day, she wasn’t happy with that idea either. I asked what they were doing in class and she mentioned The Iron Giant… which just so happened to be one of my favourite films growing up! I quickly developed a plan on the spot for that lesson and then later revised the ideas to come up with a medium term plan from the next week, and here’s what it was…

I started off with a simple warm up, using the idea of robotic moves. In each corner was a different specific movement and they had to walk around the room in different ways until I clapped my hands, when they would go to a corner and do that move. We had robot turns, robots running out of battery, ‘Iron Man’ style flying jumps and old school robot dancing.

Next was a teacher led part, an additional warm up focusing on very sharp movements, mainly involving right angles. I also used a bit of ‘tutting’ from street dance which the group grasped really well, but they soon realised how tiring it could be!

I then started to teach them their dance. Which involved a lot of robotic movements and canons. We were using the idea of restarting a faulty robot. So, one minute they would be really strong and the next they would flop and need rebooting. Dynamics soon became apparent and they really got the idea of this and enjoyed going from one part to another.  

Over the weeks they also worked in pairs, creating their own version of the story – The Iron Giant. One of them would be the robot, and the other the small boy who helps him on his journey. I wanted the class to show the difference in the way each could move. For example, a robot would be really stiff and a human would be able to flow a lot better. Before I even mentioned this to the class, the majority had already picked up on this idea which was fantastic! Once they had choreographed the first part, I then told them to switch roles. Within their dance they each came up with a creative way to transition and show the change between them.

By the time we were showing the routines, I couldn’t believe the support they showed one another and even those who weren’t so keen to begin with really enjoyed themselves and came up with some great ideas! I really enjoyed watching this group progress further week by week. Well done year 4!

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Egyptian and Charlston

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Written by Georgie, Level Three TRS Teacher and Educating Dance Teacher

This was my first term at Singlewell Primary. I had heard lots of wonderful things from previous teachers and was excited to go, even more so when I found out the two themes for this term; Egyptian and Charleston! What a great way to rekindle my Educating Dance sessions than with two of my favourites!

Year 3 were doing Ancient Egypt in their lessons so they went for some Egyptian dance. I chose not to focus on ‘up-to-date’ Egyptian dancing, as this is mainly belly dancing and not my forte. However, I was very excited to introduce them to Ancient Egyptian dancing.

Firstly we discussed Egyptian Gods, I gave each corner a God, explained key parts and together we came up for movements. We had Ra; the God of the Sun, and we created a huge sunshine movement. Then we had Horus; God of the sky, who looked like a bird, so we did huge wings. We also had Hathor; the Goddess of love, we gave ourselves a hug. Finally Bastet; a feline creature, where we acted like cats, very proud showing off our coat. I loved seeing the ideas they created. Each week I would test them on names and meanings and the class got better and better each time!

We then worked in groups, I asked a student from each group to close their eyes and pick out a God. We had; Osiris, Ra, Hathor, Seth, Nut and Bastet. The groups each came up with a starting pose to do with their Gods, either with they way the looked or their God traits. Each group was so different it created a wonderful scene for the start of our dance.

The next task was done individually. I gave them the alphabet in Hieroglyphics and asked them to dance out their names. Some of them found this quite difficult as they had longer names! I also did it myself which was fun.

For the starter for this group we created a giant Pyramid (not all climbing on top of one another though!) We used different levels in lines and finished with tiptoes and points to make the top. Each week I challenged them to come into the classroom and make their pyramid before the music ran out.

We then learnt our dance to ‘walk like an Egyptian’. The class really liked this and they had so much focus when learning it. I also included a bit of ‘tutting’ as they use Egyptian like moves in this. The class enjoyed the modern spin that I put on that. The final part of the dance was done in pairs, they had to create strong Egyptian moves using ‘opposites’ as the theme. The class grasped this very well.

The last couple of weeks we put it altogether. Starting with our Gods, then creating a wall of Hieroglyphics at the back of the room. They then came forward and performed their names. Finishing with the walk like an Egyptian dance.

The last week I split them into two groups as we performed them to one another. It was great to see the progression and how much they had developed. It was a lovely start to my time at Singlewell!

 

Year 2 had Charleston for their subject, I was very excited about this. To start with I went over some very basic steps, as the full Charleston is a difficult one! We started with diagonal jumps, twists, flick kicks and crazy knees. This was their warm up, they would walk around in ‘Jazzy’ ways and when I tapped the tambourine they would go to the nearest corner and perform that move. This was a great way to introduce the style to them and they picked these movements up so quickly I was very impressed!

We then came to the centre and worked on the moves a bit more thoroughly, repeating move after move and then finishing with a simple Charleston. I started saying ‘step forward, step back’ and by the end of the 6 weeks they were all saying it too!

For the next few weeks I wanted them to create a ‘Speakeasy’ as their starter so, they would come into the classroom and, as quickly as they could, get into the position to hold it. We have the band, performers, audience and bar workers. They all created their own position, but it worked so well when you put it altogether. I couldn’t believe how well they remembered it the first week and by week 6 they managed to do this in just 15 seconds! I think that’s the best yet!

We then started our routine, which included all of the other steps as well as some partner work. It was great to see the development over the weeks, of how well they could remember the dance, as well as all of the moves. By the end they were facing their partners and going back and forth doing the Charleston. Definitely a proud teacher moment right there!

To finish the dance I had them get into smaller groups and put their own ‘mini’ dance together. However, the class did this so quickly, I had to give them a range of developments on the spot! Firstly, I asked them to create different patterns and positions to dance in. Some used triangles, others used lines and swapped through each other too. I then gave them the idea of using different levels, we had groups holding hands and turning on the floor! It opened up my imagination seeing all these wonderful moves.

By week 6 the class were complete professionals. I split them in half so we could do a show. It was lovely to see the support for one another and I really enjoyed seeing the outcome. They  were all so focused and worked so hard that I gave everyone a sticker at the end!

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Dance Ideas for PSHE

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As a subject, the content, aims and reasons for PSHE change often. It has changed names multiple times since I was at school and most schools have different approaches to it. However, at it’s core, PSHE in primary schools, generally always covers similar values and subjects.  

PSHE stands for Personal, Social and Health Education. Sometimes it is taught to a whole class in a normal setting or in circle time, sometimes it is taught it small groups. It is also taught all of the time in terms of personal development, values and general knowledge. This means it is an excellent subject for a cross-curricular dance class. Dance also teaches many of the life skills found in PSHE without the teacher having to focus on a particular aspect. For example, team work and friendships are seen in all dance classes.

In this blog I’m going to share a few dance ideas for just a few of the subjects covered by PSHE. These could be put towards a dance class or used as stand alone fun.

Friendship

Dance About You – Put children into partners. Start with someone they know well, you can repeat the task with someone they don’t know at another time. Put a short piece of music on (about 2 minutes, Come on Everybody or Blue Suede Shoes are good) and let the children ask each other questions until they find out a new thing (3 things if able) about each other. Now they work alone for a few minutes to make up a movement or sequence about the new fact(s) they’ve learnt. Share the moves with partners and then the whole class. All the movements or sequences could be strung together and performed by the whole class as a team and this would be nice at the start of the year with a new class or if more togetherness or team building is needed within a class.

Teamwork

The Spider Web – Everyone holds onto the giant elastic in a circle. Teacher says a name and that person moves across the circle. This repeats with dancers going over and under the elastic in different ways until it is a big web. Now they have to undo the web! This is a dance class though so everything needs to be done with an interesting way of moving.

The Mexican Wave – you don’t just have to do this the traditional way, other movements can be performed in a similar way and in dance we call this is cannon.

Country Dancing – As a whole dance style, country dancing is great for teamwork. A do-si-do (moving back to back around your partner) is a well known example. A Grand Chain (Holding hands) or Weave The Ring (Not holding hands) are excellent whole class team work based country dance elements that could be used in a dance or as an exercise. All stand in a circle face your partner next to you, holding right hand. Move past your partner and towards the next person and hold left hands. Keep passing holding right then left hands as you go.

Trust

There are a lot of dance and drama trust exercises such as trust falls and trust walks and they are well documented. The following idea is just for dance though and it is also great for teamwork.

Trust Motif Development – teach a simple motif or allow the dancers to choreograph one. It must all be standing up. Once they’ve learnt the motif they have to partner up and choose a prop. Things that work well are solid, about half a metre in length and are not heavy. For example, scarves or giant pipe cleaners. To simplify, the teacher can give everyone the same prop. The partners hold the prop between them and have to perform the motif again, but with the prop connecting them. The motif might develop in various ways, it might be slowed down or one person might use the opposite side of the body, for example. To make things more exciting, the partners could unknowingly choose how to hold the prop. They choose from the options hand or foot, face front or face back and right or left. Then, once the teacher has explained, they hold the prop between them. For example, hand, facing each other, left hands.

Confidence and Honesty

Telling the truth is often about having self confidence and that’s why I’ve put these two together. It’s also about how truth and lies feel to other people. It is quite a concept to grasp and from around Year 2 as it becomes more complicated than just, telling the truth is the right thing to do. You could use a story to support learning around telling the truth and use a cross-curricular approach in the dance class. The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig or, of course, the very famous, Pinnochio might be helpful

Peer feedback is good way to encourage positive, helpful, constructive truth telling. Ask for Nice and Helpful feedback, You did this and now you could try…

To encourage confidence in dance class I try to find an opportunity for every young dance to do a movement or shape on their own near the start of class. This could be during the register or part of name and shape. It’s important thay there is a ‘way out’ if they don’t know what to do. This could be by copying someone else’s idea or the teacher using whatever position they’re standing in as their shape or a move such as a shoulder shrug or head shake if they have indicated they don’t know what to do in this way. Either way, they have taken part and got through it.

Respect and Anti Bullying

Your Daily Dance has lists of music by theme, including one for songs about bullying. Appropriate versions would need to be sought for many of the song, but the list is a very useful starting point.  https://www.yourdailydance.com/songs-about-bullying/

Greetings Warm Up with a difference – Everyone walks around the space and, when teacher calls a number or colour, or holds up a sign or makes an instrument noise (there are lots of options!), they perform an action. Here are some examples.

– High five the nearest person
– Hand shake with the nearest person
– Fold arms and stop in front of the nearest person then turn away
– Stand in front of the nearest person with your arms and legs out stretched (open and vulnerable)
– Loop arms, link together

Afterwards, talk about how the actions made you feel. Progress this further in other lessons by asking the dancers for their own ideas, perhaps focusing on things that make them happy or things they think will make others happy.

 

I’ve just scratched the surface of how dance and pshe go hand in hand. Other aspects such as Golden Rules, worry and internet safety could all be explored using a cross-curricular approach and the things I have covered could be part of a lesson or scheme of work. As always with our work in Educating Dance, the options are endless!

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Inspiration April

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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.

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Moon Zoom!

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In celebration of Science Week (this week) and Book Week (last week) I’m going to share the ideas behind one of my schemes of work, Moon Zoom! Something helpful and useful for school teachers and dance teachers looking to plan a cross-curricular dance class.

Moon Zoom was designed for Year 1 at Miers Court Primary School. They had been reading ‘Man on the Moon’ by Simon Bartram so this was the inspiration for the dance class. I added jumping as a dance focus and we talked about stamina and various health benefits throughout the term as well. You can read the original blog post here: http://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/2016/12/15/moon-zoom/ 

When planning a cross-curricular dance class, we (the Educating Dance teachers) use a process that’s very similar to that of a school teacher. We do start with a topic brainstorm and some research though. The schools give us such a varied selection of sometimes challenging subjects that we need to make sure we’re on the right track! 

My learning aims and objectives were broken down and differentiated before I continued my plan. It was important to me that I taught the class some facts about travelling to the moon, but I didn’t want to destroy the magic of the story either! I also wanted pupils to learn about choreography, experiment with how their body moves (the different ways to jump!) and to use their imagination. Other outcomes included a class dance that would be performed to friends and family at the end of term. 

Once I had the learning aims and objectives I could get on with piecing together the ideas I’d had in my earlier brain storm. I talk about these in the original blog post so I won’t go into detail, but this is the fun bit for us dance artists and we do often get carried away. To help me I had the TRS cross-curricular flow chart (this helps us structure the plan as a whole), I knew from training years ago how to structure a dance class and I also included starters and plenaries, important elements for lessons in schools. 

The first few lessons were mostly for exploring the theme, but we used almost all of the dance moves learnt and created in these lessons for the final dance as well. One of the things we did was a journey dance. I love improvisation journeys and my blog, Improvisation, says more about them. This improvisation was for our warm up from the second lesson and it was about how Bob (the astronaut) went from his house to the moon. Along the way the dancers had to show how Bob could cycle, click the engine on and move as though it were rumbling beneath them and look out at the stars in all the space. 

As the lessons progressed we included short rehearsal times so that the class could remember what they had done before. As they were year 1 I included a lot of improvisation so rehearsal was mostly to remember sequences rather than movements. 

I also introduced Year 1 to choreography. Although I do choreography from Year R, this group hadn’t done any before. We did alien movements, something deliberately very abstract, and I gave them lots of pictures from the book for inspiration. They only had to choreograph one movement each and I structured the main task (choreograph a motif) into lots of short tasks to make it easier for them. I was very pleased with the result and Year 1 were very proud of themselves. 

The final few sessions were for structuring the dance. This involved putting together all the elements learnt and rehearsed in previous weeks. Each group performed separately, but also as a whole class within the dance. There was even a gigantic rocket shape and a bow to finish! 

As well as teaching cross-curricular dance, we provide CPD for school teachers to give them the confidence and tools to teach really good cross-curricular dance classes themselves. Find out more here: CPD for School Staff

 

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2018 Roundup

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We have been busy bees in the office in the run up to Christmas. As well as celebrations taking place, we’ve had newsletters and Christmas cards to design, print and send. We’re feeling very Christmassy already and can’t wait for Christmas jumper day on Monday (look out for the photos!)

Our newsletter has been going out in all of our classes recently and is also found in the many Christmas cards that Becca and I sent on Monday. We hope everyone who has had the chance has enjoyed reading it, but I’m sure there are others out there who don’t have one so… we have included a copy below for everyone can have a read. Enjoy! Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

 

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