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Christmas with The Right Step

The TRS Teachers have been having a wonderfully Christmassy, festive time this December. With fun and festive dance in schools, care homes, holiday clubs and with clubs. A few of them have written a little about their dance sessions below and there are more blog posts about Christmas if you click these links…

Santa Fun Run
Palace Wood Primary – Street Dance
Palace Wood Primary – Cheer DanceĀ 

The Vale, written by Erica

I certainly felt like Mrs Claus this morning when arriving in the snow at The Vale. The residents were all ready for me, so we jumped straight in with the highly appropriate song ‘ Baby its cold outside!’. We warmed our hands by an imaginary open fire and put on our gloves and hats ready for some snow fun.

We revisited one of our favourite songs, ‘Rockin Robin’ and we enjoyed doing our hand jive movements as well as flapping our elbows. One participant even joked that she would fly away.

We chatted about our childhood experiences of the snow and how we used to throw snowballs at our friends and family. I brought along my own snowballs today, which the particpants loved rolling in their hands and they even got to throw them at me. One lady had a really good aim and got me square in the chest and we had a good chuckle about it.

The festive spirit continued as we shook our bells and had an impromptu chorus of jingle bells. It was lovely to hear them all singing so loudly and such merriment was had by all.

They particularly loved my own Rudolph teddy, and I was heartened to see the big smiles on their faces as I said goodbye. Christmas really is a special time of year.

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Inclusive Sport, written by Kirstie H

In December, I attended an inclusive sport workshop in Herne Bay and Margate. With Christmas on the way, I wanted our class to be full of festive spirit.

Our younger dancers explored the story of Buddy the Elf. We followed him on a journey to New York City to spread some Christmas cheer. We started at the one and only North Pole. The students enjoyed coming up with their own ideas of what they might find there and used our bodies to bring their ideas to life. It was then time to jump through the seven layers of the Candy Cane Forrest. This allowed us to experiment with jumping and leaping from one side of the room to another. The story continued by travelling through the Sea of Swirly Twirly Gumdrops…. this was a chance for us to get creative. I instructed them to move around the space using scarves in a way that they would describe as “swirly and twirly” and wow, they did not disappoint!! They were spinning, making shapes, throwing and catching. I particularly enjoyed working with some of the dancers who were teaching me how to do the floss! Our last stop to get Buddy to New York City was the crawl through the Lincoln Tunnel. They loved bear crawling around the space, it was great to see the little ones demonstrating amazing spatial awareness and coordination skills. Buddy and his helpers finally made it to New York City where they danced with their very own sleigh bells, played some parachute games and finished with a game of musical bumps.

Our older teenagers weren’t as motivated by the initial sound of dance. So I decided to get creative in order to get everyone involved and moving. We started with some team games and they had to pass a ball from one side of the room to another. They particularly liked the fact that the ball had a Santa face on it. After this, I decided to bring out the parachute (a firm favourite with all ages) We started by travelling in and out and then explored changing direction and speed. Wanting to keep the class festive, we played a Christmas character game and students explored different ways of moving under the parachute. Both myself and the coaches were really impressed to see teenagers getting involved. Once they were hooked, I wanted to see if they could get creative and begin dancing with a prop and most of them gave it a great go! The highlight of this for me was from a teenage boy who wasn’t initially interested in the session. He took it upon himself to come and chat to me at the end and told me that the session “wasn’t that bad after all”. This was a huge magic moment for me and a big compliment from a teenager!

During our Margate session, I introduced Christmas charades and the students enjoyed using their bodies to make a variety of different shapes. This included Christmas angels, Santa Claus, Ice skating, a Christmas tree, Christmas shopping and so many more!!

I really enjoyed this experience at Inclusive Cport and would be happy to return in the future.

Byron Primary, written by Rebecca

At Byron Primary School I got over excited and had so many fun and festive activities planned that I was glad for two lessons to fit it into. Unfortunately, snow then cancelled the second one. I was sad to not get to say a proper Merry Christmas to my class so I hope they read this… MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL OF YOU!!!

Our Christmas warm up involved some festive animals. Some were a bit of a surprise for the dancers, what is a partridge for example, and they laughed loudly at me when I showed them the photo of kangaroos. I explained that they swap with the reindeer and pull Santa’s Sleigh around Australia! For cardio we became speedy sleighs, side galloping in a huge square switching directions and avoiding obstacles, half the class at a time. The other half excitedly looked on at us from the centre. They did all really well, this was real exercise and both groups lasted almost the whole song.

We played lots of games with a giant bauble on the red lycra, snowballs and Christmas Animals. We also did a copy me dance to Rocking Around The Christmas Tree which I adapted from a seated Active Armchairs dance. They loved hearing about my group and Fort Horsted Nursing Home and dancing with tinsel is always fun!

For cool down they made snowball piles in groups and used focus, teamwork and fine motor skills. Then we cheekily got hyped up and excited again with a snowball fight and the quickest getting dressed they’ve ever done.

We squeezed so much into that lesson!

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the dancers this term. They’re a lovely group and all have great personalities. I’ve seen some of them grow in confidence over the term, one has grown to really trust me which was a struggle at first so really lovely to see, another got my sticker twice in a row because he focused and did such great dancing because of that. There are a lot of stories like this. I’ve seen so much development in their dance skills, but also in their personalities, confidence and focus this term. By the last lesson they were so much more settled and happy than the first. We’ve been on a lovely journey and I’m so glad they’ve loved and learnt lots from their dance lessons.

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Fort Horsted, written by Rebecca

This year we had two Christmas themed sessions at Fort Horsted Nursing Home. Unusually, the residents in the room were the same for both sessions, normally different people come week by week. That meant that we could elaborate on the previous week, I could focus on things that had worked best before and that residents already knew their favourite bits. For most of them, the favourite was snowballs! We did our hand warm up with them, using various squeezing, squashing and rolling movements. Ann couldn’t wait to get to the next bit… the snowball fight! She knew it was coming and both Anns, sitting next to each other, had a laugh for this bit. I had over 25 snowballs for just a few residents so we had a lot of fun throwing them at Christmas bead strings, inflatables and each other! This was a highlight for Margaret who threw snowballs at her husband, and for Ann, who joined in with that too. It was excellent for gross motor skills and grip as no one realised they were working so hard whilst having so much fun!

It was a lovely lesson and I’m looking forward to seeing them again in the new year. I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and enjoy opening the many presents under their tree!

Fun and Festive in care homes, written by Jenny

I have had a great time during December at my classes for Active Armchairs and dance clubs running some festive winter and Christmas themed classes.

I love teaching Active Armchairs, but my first Christmas of teaching Christmas specials has taken my experience to a whole new level. I have LOVED it! During the first few weeks I did a winter theme and am now doing my Christmas special classes. I have visited Hazelwood Care Home, Faiby Grange Care home, Woodstock Care home, Pilgrims View Care Home and Valley View Nursing home.

Highlights from these classes have been talking to the residents about their favourite parts of winter – warming dinners, wrapping up in the warm by the fire, playing in the snow as children. It is lovely hearing the stories they remember and we used some of these memories in our group movement too. I also enjoyed hearing about their favourite Christmas songs and having a good old sing song. One of the best moments was at Pilgrim’s view when one lady starting sing White Christmas and everyone gradually joined in until the whole room was singing along. It was a beautiful moment.

Some of our favourite songs to dance too have been ‘Let it snow’, ‘Winter wonderland’, ‘Jingle bells’ – using the bell props that I made, ‘Rockin Robin’ with feathers, ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’ with Tinsel, ‘Deck the Halls’ with the giant scrunchie and ‘Light my Fire’ using our red, yellow and orange ribbons’.

But the highlight has been the fun we have had with our games! I arrive at each home with bags of inflatable snowmen, reindeer and Santa, little golden Christmas trees, Hula hoops wrapped in tinsel and a box of Snowballs! We have had so much fun throwing the snowballs and knocking the inflatables down, trying to land them in the hoop and throwing them at each other too. I have been running around picking them all up and giving them back to the residents so they can keep the game going – great exercise for me too! Seeing the smiles, hearing the laughter and just seeing the joy and merriment in their eyes has been truly magical!

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Fun and Festive in schools, written by Jenny

I also had the chance to run a Christmas session at Hoo St Werburgh Primary School’s after school club. We started with a warm up game moving around the room like different Christmas characters such as snowmen, elves, santa, reindeer, Christmas puddings and snowflakes – there were some funny movements in there which the children loved. We then played a game of Festive Snakes and ladders – first team to have all members reach the sparky tinsel circle wins. It was a close game but team reindeer won!

The children then learnt a short dance to the song – Merry Christmas everyone. Once they had learnt the movement they added in a prop – we used red, green and purple scarfs and added these into our dance. The children all created some of their own movements, exploring different ways of using their scarfs to move in the space. I was really impressed with some of the movements they came up with.

To finish I adapted my inflatables and snowballs game and it was Christmas Carnage… The children loved knocking them down and rolling the snowballs. We even had one mini snowman made by stacking the balls on top of each other!

I love teaching at Christmas!

And to finish off, some fun and festive messages from Palace Wood Primary School’s dance clubs. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!