Categotry Archives: Schools

Book and Art Week

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St Mary’s Primary School invited us in to lead dance classes for every year group for the third year running. The school celebrates Book and Art Week with exciting workshops and unusual classes. Steph and Georgie went along to deliver a varied and extensive timetable of dance!

Written by Georgie, Level Two TRS Teacher, Level Two Active Armchairs Facilitator and Educating Dance Teacher

Wow! What a week I’ve had with St Mary’s Primary school and their Book and Arts Week! When  I saw the subjects I would be teaching I was so excited!
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Firstly I taught year 1 – Aliens and Space. What a great subject! We created our own rocket and flew into space. We explored space and had some great slow motion spacewalks. Then we spotted the aliens! After teaching the short phrase, they went onto group work where I handed them a picture of a different alien each which they had to create a starting position that looked like the alien. The children did this so well! Without even looking at the pictures I could tell who was who. They then created movements like their aliens. When we showed these at the end I was so impressed with what they had done and how much they had learnt and choreographed in that time. What a way to start my week.
Next was Year 4 and Gumboot dancing. I could not wait for this! As the classes came in, the teachers told me that they were very good at dancing and loved it. They were right! I started off with an ‘echo’ game where we would walk around the space and when I stomped the class had to echo back the rhythm I had done. Then I chose some of them to do a rhythm too, and some were very hard! After this, I taught them 3 gumboot phrases and then they had to create their own. We had such variety with these, they used different levels, cannon and formations! They had all practiced them to perfection which sounded and looked great!  The last part, I handed each group a set of gumboot steps to follow. But they weren’t allowed to show other groups. At the end they performed these too. I was quite cheeky and played a little trick on them. All the cards said the same thing! It was really good seeing how each group interpreted the steps!
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Then I had Reception class – Seasons and Weather. We started off with the 4 corners game and in each corner was a season, each having their own different action to help the children remember what season was what. I then taught them a phrase, using the different seasons and the different weather in each season e.g. snow in winter, sun/hot in summer. After they got into groups and decided on a season then created some movements for it. These were really good, we had sitting by the fire in winter and swimming in the summer! Lastly in groups I handed out some cards and we played pairs – what weather goes with what season. Most of them did this perfectly! I was really impressed!
Year 6 Street Dance was next. They learnt so much! I started off with body popping, which is quite hard in itself and they really grasped it. Then I taught them tutting, some top rock and finally a bit of break dance / floor work. They were very happy when I played the music (Ed Sheeran –  Shape of You) I heard a lot of whispered ‘yes’s’ when the song came on! And we put all of these styles of street together to make a routine. They looked great! Giving me some serious attitude and really understanding the different stylistic qualities of each part. They then added on their own routine in groups, and my they were a talented bunch! Each group was so good that I really wanted them to share with one another, so they ended up teaching each other their routines! Such a fantastic group to work with.
Lastly I taught Year 5 – Astronauts and Planets. As the year 1 went so well I decided to use some of these ideas in this one. We started of with a bit of friendly competition and they chose Girls vs Boys. They all wrote down each planet including the Sun on paper plates. I then took each set and really shuffled them up. They then had to put them in certain orders, and the team to get it write and put it in the correct order one the point! The first order was closest to furthest away from the sun, the boys did this in around 15 seconds! The next order was in order of size. The girls one this time which created a tie break situation. Lastly they had to group them into terrestrial planets and gas planets. Anddddddddd *drum roll please* the girls won! It was very close though. After I taught them a short phrase about exploring space, and again we started off in our own rocket position which they created and it looked so good! They then got into groups, chose a planet and had to create a short dance about that planet. Each group came up with such good ideas for their planet and they really went into detail. Year 5 knew so much about space they even taught me a thing or two!
I really enjoyed my time at St Mary’s Primary School, it was so lovely to see how all the children really wanted to get involved and I had so many thank you’s which was lovely to receive. I really hope I can go there again!
Steph taught Country Dancing and Space whilst at St Mary’s. Here’s some feedback about the classes.

“I really enjoyed that, I felt like I was in space!” Year 5 Pupil, St.Mary’s Primary School, March 2017

“The group work really challenged the students, they had some wonderfully creative ideas. I have 5 minutes of film to play back to them” Year 5 Teacher, St.Mary’s Primary School, March 2017

“That was fantastic, it took me back to my school days! We’ll try to remember it so we can keep doing the dance in PE. Thank you” TA about Country Dancing, St.Mary’s Primary School, March 2017

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Halling’s New Frock?

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In 2016 we launched a Christmas Facebook Competition for schools to have the chance to win half a day of Educating Dance classes. Halling Primary School won and chose to hold their free sessions during Book Week! Georgie went along to deliver the classes.

Written by Georgie, Level Two TRS Teacher, Level Two Active Armchairs Facilitator and Educating Dance Teacher

Hallings new Frock?

51gT8Mcf0-L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Today I went to teach two dance classes for year 3 and 4 at Halling Primary School. As it was Book Week, I decided to focus on a book the year 3 class had been reading; Bill’s New Frock by Anne Fine (1980’s).
It’s a story about a boy who is your typical boy – loves football and doesn’t like girls, but one day he wakes up and he is a girl! He has to wear a pink frock and he learns throughout the day what girls have to go through. I know, a bit bizarre! The children knew so much about it they helped me understand the story better!
I taught a short phrase which explained the story, so we started off asleep and woke up as normal Bill. We then went to school, played football and headed home. When we went back to sleep, and this time when we woke up we saw the dress, and we were horrified! The children had such great facial expression for this part. I then asked them to help me to correct extra movements which included; throwing our dress on the floor, mum telling us off, and sulking in our dress.
Next they got into groups, and I handed each group a pink scarf. They had to make up their own movements using the scarf. They could dress up in it, do some of my phrase with it etc. When we showed the dances, they were fantastic! Each group had such different ideas, and we had some fabulous frocks!
Even though year 4 hadn’t read the book, they really grasped the idea of it and fully got involved. Some of them even said they were going to go and read the book now!
I thoroughly enjoyed myself at Halling Primary school and was so impressed with all their hard work.

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Street Detectives

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By Georgie Tedora, Level Two TRS Teacher and Educating Dance Teacher

This term I was working with Year 2 at Miers court Primary and I had already heard such great things about this school from Rebecca, no pressure taking over her wonderful work! Year 2 were looking at their local area and what they had around them and so we became street detectives!

We started with our warm up, ‘Inspector gadget’, where we incorporated some street dance moves. In the warm up we went on a journey to see what places we could find, we came across a; park, church, school, leisure centre, post office and finally a supermarket. Each place had a different action to it for example we stamped at the post office, and reached to the top shelf of the supermarket.

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We drew our own maps! After talking about the countryside (having squiggly lines!) and the town centre (having straight lines!) each group decided what map they would draw. They then created their dance by following their own maps. They used different levels to create movements from one road to another. Year 2 were very creative with this, we even had some frog jumps and army crawls!

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Our group piece was an element of surprise to us all. The children chose 4 places at random, and 2 modes of transport for our travel. We then choreographed our big routine using ideas from the previous dances but also some more movements of their own. We had a long supermarket line with one group and they were all scanning items at the checkout. The other group created a fantastic park, where some were the roundabout, some were swings, and even a climbing frame! The train popped up in both routines, but we also had a bicycle and a bus!

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We had so much material, when week 5 came along for our structuring lesson, the dance was around 10 minutes long each!

Show day came around so quickly and they were fantastic. Each group really performed, we had some great facial expressions when we were detectives! The children did so well to remember all their material and I am very proud of them!

It was such a pleasure teaching year 2, and I can’t wait to teach my next group at Miers court Primary.

Enjoy the video!

 

 

 

 

 

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Fitness Tips

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Steph and I have a bit of a fitness focus at the moment (we’ve been training teachers at Balfour Infants School!) so we thought we’d share our TOP FIVE TIPS AND IDEAS for getting fitness into the dance class.

1_green-svgExtend it bit by bit:

Teachers can add a little more onto the warm up each week to increase stamina and fitness levels. Perhaps doing an extra count of 8 each week or adding an extra stop in a Circuit Warm Up.

What’s the Circuit Warm Up??
A warm up that gives pupils ownership of their movement and encourages them to work as hard as they think they can.

  • Go around the room showing dancers the pictures / objects and the movement that relates to them.
  • Dancers are divided between the stops on the circuit.
  • When the music starts pupils do as expected for their stop.
  • Teacher signifies when to move to the next stop on the circuit.
  • Continue this process until everyone has been to every stop.
  • If time, ask pupils to choose their favourite stop and try to do even better than last time (competing against themselves)

Here’s our dinosaur example!
Diplodocus stretch, Iguanodon strength (plank), Confuciusornis flying jumps with wing arms, Eoraptor speedy run on the spot, Ankylosauras tail swing (laying on tummies swinging legs), Tyrannosauras partner balance using short arms (glueing elbows to tummies)

Or you could ask the pupils for movements instead!

The photo on the right is the Diploducus stretch!

 

number-2-clipart-dc6aeamc9Sneak in the Healthy Living Knowledge:

Teachers can talk about changes to the body after a particularly vigorous warm up and ask questions like, what do you notice about the heart beat?

If you’re extending the content each week (see number 1) noticing an increase in stamina would fit perfectly. What about food for a healthy dancer?

 

number-3-clip-art-at-clker-com-vector-clip-art-online-royalty-free-j2uq8g-clipartThe Fitness Six…

There are so many warm ups, games and cool downs that require a selection of different movements. The Circuit Warm Up, Plates!, Travel/Stop, Sets of Eight and the list goes on. Next time you use one of these warm ups why not try using one of each of the following? It will force the movements to be varied and the dancers benefit from all the different areas of development.

Strengthening, Balance, Cardio, Agility, Stretch and Teamwork

imag4543What is Plates!??
This is an extremely versatile warm up that can also be done as a game or a section of warm up if the teacher prefers not to use all the warm up elements in it. The teacher will need to use paper plates with small pictures and a few words on them to represent each movement.

  • Go around the room with the dancers placing the plates in spaces and explaining the movements. The items on each plate must relate to the theme.
  • Dancers space out in the room, away from the plates.
  • When the music starts the dancers move around the room.
  • When the tea
    cher waves the tambourine or shouts ‘plates!’ dancers go to the nearest plate and follow its instructions.
  • The next time the teacher waves the tambourine or shouts ‘walk’ pupils go back to walking around the room and so on.

Our Animal Opposites (High and Low) example:
HIGH: Giraffe Tip Toe Balance, Flying Eagle, Frog Jumps
LOW: Wiggley Worms, Clawing Tiger, Spikey Crab

In the photo… Our Medieval Castles (Castle Parts):
Battlement Jumps, Butress Counter Balance, Drawbridge Press Ups (adapted for pupils’ level for safety), Swimming in The Moat, The Tower Stretch, Rampart Star Jumps

 

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Choreograph It In…
When it comes to the choreography section of a class or workshop, sometimes the pace can slow. To keep the fitness focus why not set tasks that encourage the dancers to include certain movements?

  • Ask the dancers to include at least one jumping movement.
  • You could use The Fitness Six of the 5 (or 6!) basic actions.
  • Give them a time limit for their choreography (see tip number 5)
  • Add an opposites theme such as fast/slow or high/low.

 

5Use Music to encourage fitness…

There are obviously some songs that lend themselves to being used in a fitness focused dance class (carnival songs, drumming, instrumental pop or hip hop songs), but there are also other ways to use music to increase fitness in the dance class.

  • Zorba the Greek is a song with a clear beat. It starts slowly and gets faster and faster. Even just using it in the background during choreography can make dancers work faster. Try putting a set of eight easy movements to this music. By the end it will be difficult, really silly and a lot of fun!
  • The Countdown Timer is a famous sound clip and you can get the 30 second long one.
    Why not set a task such as create the starting position, play the song and then move onto the next task straight away. This way the dancers have to work fast so choreography can be completed really quickly, but it also gets them excited! Dancers created the freeze frame on the right in 30 seconds and even included levels and thought about hands and heads!

 

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Moon Zoom

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20161123_150650This term I worked with Year 1 at Miers Court Primary School. Moon Zoom was our theme and we used their class book, ‘Man on the Moon’ by Simon Bartram as inspiration for some of the motifs.

The dancers began by doing a warm up about Bob’s commute to the moon and some Rocket jumps. They did leaps, feet together jumps, hops and many more. Their jumping improved as the term went on, as did their stamina!

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We did some moon walking. They moon walked on a difficult pathway, but got the hang of it. They impressed me even more when we had to change the pathway on the day of the performance because there was staging out in the hall!

 

20161124_1334450Each class made a giant rocket with their bodies and they choreographed Alien Motifs in small groups. They did really well as this is the first time they’d ever choreographed a dance sequence in small groups. Some of the movements were hilarious. We had aliens that couldn’t control their tongues, aliens with many legs and some had ‘random wiggly bits’.

20161124_145430In the 5th lesson we put everything together to make one, very long dance. It wasn’t meant to be 10 minutes long, but they really got the hang of slow floaty moon walking so it just took longer!!

The performance was fantastic. They were very brave, remembered to smile and did really well to remember the movements as, for the first time, they didn’t have an adult performing with them.

As always at Miers Court Primary, I had a fantastic term, but this one was extra special and moving. This was my last before maternity leave. Level Two TRS Teacher and Educating Dance Teacher, Georgia Tedora will be taking over from January. I’m sure she’ll have a wonderful time!

Here’s the Moon Zoom video!

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Phonics at All Hands

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On Monday we had our All Hands Meeting. We have one every six months and it’s a chance for the team to get together, find out what’s been happening in the company and to plan for its future. Each time we try to have something a bit extra and this time we learnt a bit about phonics!

TRS Teacher Alice used to work as a teaching assistant and in her role at school she learnt a lot about phonics. She was kind enough to share a little of this knowledge so that we could get some insight into what the children learn in class. The Educating Dance teachers (the TRS Teachers training in the TRS cross-curricular approach) also gained some ideas for their classes.

Phonics is an approach used by primary school teachers to teach reading and spelling. Pupils learn sounds of letters and groups of letters and are able to break words down so that they can work out how to write/read the words themselves. They learn quickly and gain independence. When I saw Alice using phonics in her dance cllettersoundsass I thought it would be an excellent thing to share with the TRS Teachers. A chance for them to enhance pupils learning and make their classes flow well with what the dancers are already doing in school.

Alice shared the phonics sounds with us first (some are listed on the left). There are lots to learn. Not just the letters of the alphabet, but also the sounds as letters join together to create phonemes. It surprised the TRS Teachers that children learn so much in the process of learning to write and read. It works though!

20160229_133933Next we thought of some ideas for using phonics in class. Things like warm ups that involve phonemes that sound almost the same such as i, ie, igh etc. Perhaps the teacher could give a word containing one of these and the dancers could move to the space that represents the correct one. When we introduce keywords in cross-curricular dance we can now spell them out in a way that dancers will most relate to. Choreography often comes up in class and confuses everyone! This might make things easier. We also talked about the benefits of using phonics in our English cross-curricular classes such as Extended Sentences or during Book Week (the photo shows a BFG workshop during Book Week 2016).

We were left with many ideas and some new knowledge to put into practice! Thank you Alice for sharing. I look forward to the results.

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Gods and Goddesses

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This term Miers Court Primary welcomed back the school year with a Gods and Goddesses theme. Georgie and I had the pleasure of teaching Year 3 and we’ve really enjoyed ourselves. This was their third show so they knew what was expected and they totally stepped up to the mark.

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The six weeks have flown by, but we’ve gotten so much done! The first thing the classes learnt was their warm up. I taught them a warm up dance to Zero to Hero and we had a lot of laughs being strong and powerful. We talked about the differences between a hero and a God and then moved onto our God Motifs.

 

Each group had a different God or Goddess to teach the rest of the class about. They had to use the facts to choreograph movements and, once finished, they showed their motifs to the rest of the class and told them about their God or Goddess. Everyone worked really hard and there were some fantastic ideas. Favorites included Poseidon’s dolphins and the lightening of Zeus.

At the end of the first lesson both classes learnt about Mount Olympus (home of the Gods and Goddesses) and made a giant class shape to represent it. There were high, middle and low-level shapes and everyone had a different position to remember. For a bit of fun in the next five lessons, they had to rush into their Mount Olympus shape as they arrived. I only gave them one minute to co
me in, shoes and socks off, then into place. They somehow managed it every time!

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The final three sessions before the show were devoted to myths. The whole class wrote a myth all together. There were pot luck cards to choose from so that each class had a setting, two characters and something extra. It turned out they both had Hera’s peacock as the something extra and for some reason both peacocks were quite mischievous! Other than that, both Myth Motifs were very different.

We spent one lesson rehearsing and bringing all the motifs together to form a long dance. It was a huge amount to remember, but both classes rose to the challenge and, as the audience saw in the final lesson, they did really well. Not only did they remember the dance, but they remembered to use different facial expressions to show when they were being the strong hero, Hercules, and made energy flow throughout their bodies, even to the tips of their fingers.

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I’ve really enjoyed working with these dancers again. I see an improvement every year they come back and it is great fun. Here’s the auto awesome video, an automatically created video of photos and video footage from one of the rehearsals.

 

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Balfour Infants – SUMMER SHOW!

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Year 2 have been taking part in dance club at Balfour Infants School for two years. They have been a pleasure to teach, a group of kind, fun and caring dancers. We’ve choreographed dances about all sorts of things including Dr Who Aliens, Creatures from Under The Sea, Castles of all types, Magical Creatures and much much more.

In Spring 2016 we began work on their summer show. The dancers picked some of their favorite dances and warm up games and together we decided which would go into the dance. Of course Frozen, our ice themed dance, and the dinosaur dance were included as well as many others. I then mixed the music together to create one, very very long piece of music.

The next term was spent straining memories, deciphering my notes, choreographing transitions between dances and changing formations to make everything look just right. The dancers did so well that the dance was looking really good at the start of the summer term.

It was looking so good that I thought they could learn an extra dance. I added it to the music and this time choreographed the whole thing myself. Usually the group have a lot of input so learning complicated formations requiring a lot of team work and a very fast paced chorus with exact timing was a challenge for them. We also ended up with two strange lessons without many dancers in one or me in the other so it was a mixed up term, but they were brilliant, as usual, and they did it!  Best Song Ever became a firm favourite with the group and I know they did a lot of practicing at home to remember it all so thank you parents for your patience!

Show day came and we finished the dance by adding the bow. It was now ten and a half minutes long! We did two full run throughs before 9am followed by the two performances. I was very impressed with their stamina and they stayed smiling throughout.

As the audience members know, this was my last show at Balfour Infants. I’ve been teaching their morning dance club for six years and have loved every minute. I felt so welcome in the school that I also became a School Governor. I will be moving home soon and can now announce that I’m expecting a baby. These changes mean that I won’t be able to continue the classes myself, but I leave the sessions in great hands. Katie, one of The Right Step’s wonderful TRS Teachers will be taking over from September. I’ll still be around though, I’ll come to visit!

As always, I’ve produced a video of the show. I’m sure they agree that they did a spectacular job. Especially as these dancers are only in Year 2!

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Balfour Juniors – SHOW!

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Written by TRS Teacher, Alix Godden

Balfour Juniors performed a variety of dances to their families this term, and they were fantastic!

Three dances were performed : Star Wars, and the songs ‘7 Years’ and ‘Light It Up’. They performed these without any help from me and worked well together to make sure they kept in time with the music as we worked on this in our class time!

For the last 2 terms we have worked on learning choreography to Light It Up and creative tasks based on partner Puppet work and the Star Wars theme!

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Light It Up:
A fast paced street dance that included floor work. The dancers worked hard to remember the movements and transitions in this dance . They had fun learning new ‘freezes’ and street based moves.

7 Years:
The dancers had loads of fun choreographing their own duets using ‘puppets’ as their stimulus. We also looked at the words of the song to help convey the story of the song. They loved learning a new lift in the dance and sharing their ideas with each other. The dance had a start, middle and an end. The puppets  showed their masters controlling them at the beginning and then showed them dance independently to finish. In the dance off they reunited with their masters and reversed their original puppet dances to finish in the starting positions .

Star Wars:
The children absolutely loved doing this theme! We started sharing ideas about Star Wars and thinking about some of the moves you would do with a light sabre. From the corner they had a creative task to travel to the light sabre in a ‘Star Wars’ way and then create shapes with the light sabre . Each dancer had a turn and used some of the moves in the dance.  The children then got in groups to connect their moves. Slowly we built up our own ‘Star Wars’ story ending with Cree winning the sabre and freezing all the other dancers!


Balfour dancers loved learning all the different styles we covered and were really excited to perform. I was very proud of the dancers and am sad to see two of them leave this year to go to secondary school. They have been with me since year 3, but I wish them all the best and hope they keep dancing! Now I’m looking forward to next term and to meeting all our new TRS dancers!IMG-20160713-WA0000

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Journey to the Island

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The Whale

 

This term the Reception children at Miers Court Primary School learnt about journeys, the sea side, transport and under the sea animals this term. They also used their best imaginative skills to choreograph their own dance about all the wacky things on their island! We were also joined by TRS Teacher, Bex.

 

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Who has the tallest sandcastle?

 

The first week I taught the children a warm up dance to Beside the Seaside and we talked about the things we need to do to prepare for the sun shine and a visit to the beach. They also learnt movements for each of the under the sea animals and we put them in order to make another under the sea warm up.

 

 

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The Rocket and The Train

 

One of the highlights for me this term was seeing how the children created their own forms of transport in small groups. They began with a freeze frame and then gave it little movements to make it even more interesting. They all took on this challenge really well and Bex and I were very impressed.

 

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The Walking Shark

 

The main choreographic task involved stretching our imagination. The Island that we journeyed to could have absolutely anything on it. At first we had normal things such as animals and plants, but then things got wacky and we included a walking shark, a game of hide and seek and a gigantic fish tank full of sea creatures.

 

The dance performance was their first at Miers Court Primary and the dancers did really well. At the beginning of term we didn’t expect them to remember everything, but they impressed us by ‘thinking what’s next’ whilst they danced. I’m looking forward to being back in class with them in the years to come.

Practicing the ‘Dancing Smile’!

20160706_13564820160706_144147This is the automatically created video of photos and video footage from one of our rehearsals, the outdoor rehearsal!

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