Categotry Archives: Schools

Wanted: School’s Dance Co-ordinator

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We need someone enthusiastic about providing dance for children and young people to join our office team!

The Right Step’s Schools’ Dance Coordinator will work with the Programme Director to coordinate an inclusive, diverse and artistic programme of both regular and one off events for dance in schools (EYFS upwards).

Please email Rebecca for further information: info@therightstepdc.co.uk

Deadline for applications is Monday 3rd August. Interview details will be announced by Friday 7th August and will be held from Monday 10th August. Start date will be as soon as is suitable following interviews.

In Rehearsal - The Bear Necessities

 

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In The Paper – Carnival Comparisons!

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In the Medway Messenger on Friday 12th June 2015

Press Control on your keyboard and scroll your mouse to make this bigger!

The blog post is here… http://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/2015/05/20/carnival-comparisons/
And the video is here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=27&v=Q7wTPDhzgjQ

06003 Miers Court Fri 12th Jun 2015

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Carnival Comparisons

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IMAG7055This term Alix and I worked with Year 1 at Miers Court Primary. The theme was Carnival Comparisons and we had a very colourful time.

We took inspiration from three carnivals, Rio Carnival, a carnival that has non stop dancing for a whole day, Nice Carnival,  possibly the oldest carnival in the world, and Notting Hill Carnival, the biggest carnival in Europe. The dancers choreographed most of the movements and used colourful feathers as props.

Miers Court Puppets

 

Nice Carnival uses lots of giant puppets called Grosse Tetes (French for big heads). I taught the dancers a short motif that they danced in partners, one as the puppet and one the puppeteer. I was really impressed with how they understood the concept. They even choreographed their own dance moves.

 

In the fourth lesson we took all of the carnival dances (motifs) and squashed them together to make a long dance. We only have four lessons per class, but the dances were over five minutes long. They remembered them though!

IMAG7107Today was the show and the dancers were amazing. They did three performances in total, one for the camera, one for the reception classes and one for the adults, for them that was the most exciting!

Alix filmed and took photos and here’s the result! I had a fantastic time working with Year One, I’m sure you can see why!

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Running Round The Room

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Today was our final lesson of the term and we ran around the school hall 6 times.

This might sound like a strange thing to do in a dance lesson, but running around the room has become a regular occurrence at Balfour Infants School and Greenvale Infants School recently. I’ve been adding extra cardio into my classes in a bid to explore the participants’ views on exercise. I have been surprised by how excited they’ve been by it all!

Our theme this term was Doctor Who and I based our warm up around the idea of a clock…

The Cybermen

The Cybermen (Alien of the Week, Week 2)

 

I laid numbers out on the floor (in the shape of a gigantic clock, or as close as I could get it!). We then did a circle warm up in the middle of the clock (everyone took turns to lead a movement that looked like the Alien of the Week and would help warm us up). Then we walked, marched, galloped, skipped and ran our way to each number in turn (clockwise, was one of our key words).

 

Once we reached number 12 we started the main section of cardio and ran around the entire clock. On the first week we only ran around it once, the second week twice, the third week three times and so on until this week we ran around the clock 6 times in a row and then the children each ran to pick up a number and bring it to me as well.

They are only Year 1 and 2 so that is quite a feat!

This week I asked the dancers what they thought about running around the hall so many times and these are some of their comments…

“I want to do it 20 times!”

“It’s exercise.”

“I ran around the playground 12 times once!”

“It pumps your bones… I mean it pumps your blood. It’s good for you.”

One girl said, before the warm up this week…

“I can only run around the hall 5 times. It makes me worn out.”

And then, after the warm up…

“I did it 6 times! I’m getting better”

She was surprised and I wondered why?

I think giving the dancers the opportunity to do this has allowed them to see that they can run around the hall this many times. They know it’s good to exercise, they’re taught that in school, but we now need to find ways to make exercise fun, to make it a habit and to make it something they want to do.

As I’ve seen in this class and as we’ve read in many articles and studies, it’s really important to start healthy habits early and I adding extra cardio to class has been a really good start. It’s not only good for the children, but as I’ve been doing this three times a week I was surprised to discover that it got a little easier for me too.

I’m now thinking up my next exciting plan to increase the amount of cardio for next term’s Creative Dance Clubs.

Music Through Time 2015

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This term I worked with Year 5 at Miers Court Primary School, but I didn’t have to write a new scheme of work because I was asked to use the one from last year. Last year I worked with Year 5, now Year 6, and had a fantastic time so I was really looking forward to doing the same theme again!

Vogue

Vogue

 

We began by watching a video showing how fashion has changed over the years. You can watch it by clicking HERE. The dancers were excited to see what people wore ‘back then’ and to see what their parents might have worn ‘in the old days’! The aim became to make a dance like that, but with dance and music through time instead.

 

 

Of course I had to complicate things, so as with last year, I added Dr Who aliens into the mix! They were incorporated into the warm up (a circle warm up using movements inspired by alien of the week), cool down (The Weeping Angels game!), the team names (the Judoon, The Krilitanes, The Weeping Angels, The Darliks and The Oods) and into the last section of the dance (Mars from Holst’s, The Planets Suite).

The Tardis - A huge group shape

The Tardis – A huge group shape

We worked on the dances for six weeks using different music each week and choreographing as a whole class, in small groups and as individuals. It was a very creative time with lots of movement exploration and experimentation!

We ended up with two fantastic dances both including Dr Who’s Tardis and many different dance styles. Below is an Auto Awesome video about the process!

You can read more about last year and see their video by clicking HERE.

 

 

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A World of Dance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Living Longer

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Or more importantly Living Well for Longer:

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

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

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

Rocking Through The Stone Age at Miers Court Primary

Rocking Through The Stone Age at Miers Court Primary

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

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

The Jungle Book at Singlewell

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Written by Stephanie Vezmar (Level Two TRS Teacher)

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

In Rehearsal - The Bear Necessities

In Rehearsal – The Bear Necessities

 

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


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

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

The Bear Necessities

The Bear Necessities

I Wanna Be Like You

I Wanna Be Like You

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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

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

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

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

Music Through Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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