Tag Archives: creativity

Magic Moments! Sept 2018

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This year we have had so many Magic Moments from all our classes we thought we’d share them altogether for you to see. Whether it’s a small toe tap from an older adult participant who usually struggles or a standing ovation from a performance at the end of term, TRS have so many magic moments and we love to share them!

“I just wanted to say how lovely it was at Lulworth House today. Aga (the activities coordinator) was there and encouraging everyone to join in. She had made a point of encouraging people who wanted to take part to come into the room and so many people joined in, it was fantastic. What a difference. I thanked her for being so helpful.”
Clare

“I have just done my first taster at Friston house and it was amazing!! Rebecca and I both stood back and had a moment when they were all doing “it’s raining men” with their pompoms swinging them around their head. They were all having the best time and smiles all round. I have come out feeling buzzing!”
Shanice

“Year 5 at Singlewell Primary School have been learning Bhangra Dance this term and will be showing some of their moves in their assembly this week. They were looking fantastic in their dance class earlier in the week and we can’t wait to hear how it went!”
Steph

“I was so proud of my class at Burham last term. When it came to the performance they did so well that they even got a standing ovation from the audience!”
Georgia

“I went along to St William of Perth to cover a class. They had been learning a dance with Abi and couldn’t wait to show me! I was so Impressed they managed to remember the whole thing! I gave them a huge round of applause.”
Georgie

“A lady, Rose looked a little emotional at one point when we were dancing to “You are my sunshine” she said ‘My dad taught me this song… such happy memories. Thank you!”
Clare

“I played wonderful world last week at Gillingham Age UK and one lady in front of me was really expressing the words with her face. She was singing the words and doing the movements with so much emotion, closing her eyes singing and shaking her head. It was clear she must have been remembering a special moment, was lovely to watch and made me smile!”
Alix

“I just had my last class at Burham Primary School before the summer holidays and they had their performance. They went full out with make-up and costumes and the parents loved it! It was bittersweet as 6 of these as moving up to secondary school next year, so I had to get a photo!”
Shanice

“Singing in the rain is my tune of the day today!! We had a great sing along at Fort Horsted and reminisced about the great Gene Kelly and his wonderful dancing in the rain and swinging around the lamppost!”
Steph

“I was doing an around the world theme in my Active Armchairs classes recently. One lady is normally tired when I come in to do my sessions, but when I played ‘Tell me ma’ for my Irish Jig her feet went crazy! It looked like she was doing traditional Irish dancing, and everyone was so impressed!”
Georgie

“I heard a lady talk to another lady at Gillingham Age UK, and all I heard was ” if you’re happy, you have everything” and that just made me really smile today!”
Alix

“I was at Victory Care Home on Friday. There was a lady at the back occasionally joining in. My next part was doing a bit of one to one with egg shakers and the participants. When I come around and got to her she asked me if she could stand up and dance with me. I said yes and we had a lovely dance together.”
Becca G

“Last time I was at The Grove, we were talking about different dance styles that we enjoyed and perhaps did or wanted to do when we were younger. One was ballet and I mentioned about teaching and still taking lessons in ballet. This week I brought in my pointe shoes to show them all and we had a discussion about how you go on them, what age you should be before starting and where your weight is. I also gave them a cheeky little demo and they loved it and were very impressed and full of praise! Happy dancers and happy teacher (with a slightly Inflated ego).”
Alice

“When I was at Stoke on the last day of term, the school said that this was the busiest the clubs have ever been! It made me feel really proud and each term almost every child returns!”
Shanice

“I was at the Gillingham Age UK dementia class and this lovely lady Marie and I ended up having a one to one dance, as she said she felt comfortable being around me and loved dancing with me! Which was lovely!”
Abi

“I heard a lady talk to another lady at Gillingham Age UK, and all I heard was ” if you’re happy, you have everything” and that just made me really smile today!”
Alix

“We had a new lady Reenie, who initially seemed very distressed and kept calling out. However, I found that all she wanted was for someone to hold her hand or engage her visually. She literally stopped every time I held her hand and seemed to relax… if I caught her eye she also stopped calling out in distress too and would try to copy whatever I was doing.”
Clare

“Hi mini magic moment today, I covered Lulworth this morning and the residents were so welcoming, one even danced with me, full jive moves! He was impressed I could keep up! Another (who had been glaring at me the whole time but still joined in) made sure I had everything before I left and was telling me to make sure I stayed safe on my way to my next care home!”
Alice

Hearing about the TRS Teachers’ Magic Moments is one of the best things about our job so I’m sure we’ll have more to share soon!

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The Dancing Day

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Government guidelines say schools need to get pupils moving more. Here are some tips to include dance through out the day. They aren’t going to make pupils sweat, but they make movement fun.

1_green-svgMorning Shake Up 
Wake up the body and the mind with anything from a few quick movements to a 30 minute Fun Fizz session on the carpet, in the hall or on the playground.

IMG-20150710-WA0021cropYou could try ‘the rub’, something we use as a warm up in a lot of our classes… start by rubbing the hands together, work your way up your arms, perhaps up to the head, rub tummies and, therefore, breakfast, go down the legs and tickle feet if you can reach. You can make the rub as long or short as you wish by extending the time on each body part or by using more or less body parts. You could also adapt this by circling the joints instead or by changing the rub into a sweeping action to get imaginary sand, water or sequins etc. off the body. It’s a great way to learn about body parts too.

The rub is just one idea, we offer Fun Fizz training for school staff and you can find out more HERE.

number-2-clipart-dc6aeamc9Sky Writing
This is drawing giant, imaginary letters and words in the air in front of you. It helps to develop the muscles, balance and co-ordination needed to write in a fun way and can be done in any part of the day. Once you’ve introduced a little sky writing you can quickly bring it into other lessons. Perhaps numbers in maths or sky writing key words in science. In the extreme you could do a whole dance lesson about sky writing! Try a free improvised warm up around the room where children spell their names or other key words. They can make up their own motifs using key words and the teacher could choreograph a ‘chorus’ to go between each group’s word motif. The possibilities are endless!

At The Right Step we believe that every move counts. This mostly applies to our Active Armchairs classes, but when it comes to writing and developing the skills and muscles needed to earn a pen licence, it is also relevant! Find out more about how gross motor skills and core strength affect writing HERE.

number-3-clip-art-at-clker-com-vector-clip-art-online-royalty-free-j2uq8g-clipartThe Boring Queue
Turn queuing into a learning opportunity.
‘I would like everyone to stand like a penguin when we line up and then we will waddle to the classroom.’
IMG-20160302-WA0006‘I would like everyone to do their favorite stretch and reach as we move back to the classroom.’
‘We are going to move back to the classroom as if we were solid particles (stucktogether and moving as one) / liquid particles (slightly faster and more random than solid) / as gas particles (possibly only useful for a short distance where you won’t crash into anyone coming the other way!)
‘We are going to do the step together, step sequence we learnt in our Tudor dance class all the way back to the classroom.’

number_4_orange_tA Dance Mnemonic
Mnemonic make difficult things such as sequences of planets or the number of days in a moment easier to remember. A lot of children would benefit from movement mnemonics. These could accompany common mnemonics or you could make something up.

For example, when spelling biscuit, you can support children to remember the ‘cu’ part of biscuit by thinking about ‘a cup of tea and a biscuit’. Dancing the drinking from the cup and the eating of the biscuit could emphasise the point.

5Dance Out The Door
At the end of the day, give your class a theme and ask them to dance out the door. You could do this to improve vocabulary and, for example, ask them to dance joyfully out the door. You can use this as a learning opportunity within your current topic and ask them to dance out the door in the way they think something or someone would move. They could move like a predator, a rain forest animal or a Victorian in their historic clothing. You could bring science in and ask them to move like some one on the moon or as though they were moving through chocolate, sand or water. They might do this individually, in small groups, as a guessing game or in one go, whatever is appropriate for your class.
Hopefully these ideas give you a starting point for what could be a much more energetic and exciting way of learning and working. It’s not always possible to move and learn, but it should be possible to fit something extra in at least once a day.

Further information that could be useful… I wrote a blog about the Government’s guidelines with regards to movement in schools earlier in 2018. You can read it here: http://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/2018/03/14/government-funding/ 

 

 

 

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School’s Summer Shows!

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We have lots to celebrate because last year we had some wonderful performances at the end of term. Here’s what some of the TRS said about their clubs and shows before the summer holidays:

Georgia:
My two end of year shows at St Andrew’s Pre-school and Burham Primary were incredible and really were an amazing way to end the year.

20180705_171954At Burham Primary I teach Creative Dance to KS1 and we had a great term discovering opposites. We performed a dance to Upside Down! The children had to work in small groups and were tasked to start close together and find ways to spring apart and move in the opposite way to their partners. Our second dance was based on the circus and we performed a dance to a song from The Greatest Showman! They started with hoops and then performed their own movements with colourful ribbons and beanbags. The dancers performed with confidence and all of the practicing meant the students really knew the movements. The audience was so impressed, we had a standing ovation and the audience were clapping and whooping to congratulate the children. I have never been so proud and I cannot wait to work with this group again next year!

At St Andrew’s Pre-school I teacher ballet to very young children. Some are just 2 when they start! As this was our last show at St Andrew’s, we worked really hard on our dances and learning our ballet words. We worked hard on a skipping and our arm positions this term, and enjoyed performing these movements. The children loved performing to their adults and dancing with their butterfly props. We were all very proud.

Katie:
P1070818Having waited all year for this day, with copious amounts of: ’when are we doing the show?’, the Balfour Infants School dancers certainly made the show worth waiting for! The year two group started preparing for their performance in January, when summer was a distant thought, and we let our imagination grow, with the theme of flying being the starting point for the dance. Later in the term, they welcomed the year ones into their team, and they quickly and impressively learnt the moves and injected their energy straight into the rehearsals.

 

In the end, the dance was nearly six minutes long, and the children managed to remember it all off by heart (including the lyrics)! They performed to a mega mix of five songs, P1070815culminating in the all time favourite of ‘Can’t stop the feeling’, which seemed a fitting way to say goodbye to the year twos as they leave Balfour Infants, and also to express the hard work and fun that they’ve all had leading up to this day. The year twos will definitely be missed but they have certainly inspired some budding performers in the year one children!

 

Abi:
I go to St William of Perth Primary School for before school dance club. The creative morning classes with this kids last term was great! The last few weeks we went back on some of our old routines, which were songs from The Lion King and Aladdin! The kids absolutely loved going back over the dances and even performed them all to me on the last class of term! Very proud teacher moment 😊.
Shanice:
At Burham Primary School I teach a fitness class called “Clubbercise” where I teach KS2 kids. We have been working up too our performance to their adults for the whole of the July term.

I did a Clubbercise routine with them all together to “Power” from Lil Mix which was one of girls favourite tracks. They did so well picking up the routine and we even managed to get it all clean and tidy before performing it.

Photo 10-07-2018, 16 46 02The second part of the performance was the creative part. The girls had learnt loads of different Clubbercise moves throughout the time I have had them so I let them take it In their own stride and come up with a routine. Both groups agreed on the theme of Micheal Jackson and picked the song “Thriller” and they took it very very seriously, in a good way. They did make up , hair and outfits and really really thought about the story and routine in what it was showing.

I’m really am proud of each and every one of them, and it was such a great performance and parents seemed that they loved it. It was also an emotional time as many of them are moving onto their next chapter in secondary school so it was a great high to finish on.

 

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Dance in The Dockyard

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Dancing in The Dockyard was a fantastic event from the way the diverse programme came together to the fact we were tremendously lucky with the weather on the day and I’m very pleased that Luci from the Arts Development Team, Medway Council asked us to be involved with it and would like to say thank you for funding and supporting yet another great Medway dance event!

IMG_1099My favourite part of Dancing in the Dockyard is that so many people who don’t usually see dance were part of the audience and that they enjoyed it!! We aimed for a varied programme and the groups of Medway provided it. Medway Dance Network helped this along in the early stages of planning and it seemed to come together almost organically. For the, mostly unsuspecting, audience this meant something for everyone. Although I didn’t get to see all of the performances as I was rushing about, I’ve only heard good things and this is testament to the performers. Once again, well done Medway!

My least favourite part of the event is that it’s truely a one off, although this is quite exciting too! As The Historic Dockyard is celebrating their 400th birthday this year we certainly won’t be able to join the celebration of something so exciting again (unless we wait another hundred years perhaps!), but this helped to make the event special. I wish them luck with the rest of their celebrations and I’d like to share that, if you would like to find out what they’re up to this year, you can use the hashtag, #400moments to do so!

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I’d also like to mention the team behind it all. We did have a lovely day, but it was a busy one and the team worked very hard! The hard work began before the event, of course. Luci was on top of things every step of the way, Clare, our social media guru, was joined by Georgie, Hayley supported me and Georgia helped hold everything together on the day. In amongst all this we also had workshops led by Georgia and Georgie, but due to the sheer size of the audience, we all supported them so that more people could participate.

The TRS members of the team have written their own accounts of the event to give you a bit more of an insight. Enjoy!

 

Clare
As the Social Media organiser for the event, my work started well ahead of the day, although not quite as early as all the wonderful choreographers creating their fantastic snippets of dance.

Early doors, I was working on building an audience for our event and thanks to the brilliant Georgie at the Right Step Dance Company, I had help along the way. In return for giving her a little more insight into the wonderful worldwide web of Social Media, she gave her time to assist me with the creation of our audience both on and off-line. In any event like this, we have to bear in mind that we want to see real live people there on the day, as well as, through the magic of the internet, bringing the performance to those unable to attend. We also have the chance afterwards to remind people of the fabulous day they enjoyed through our sharing of a gallery and some video clips taken at the time.

IMG_1148In the weeks ahead of Dance in the Dockyard, we scoured the internet for inspiring dance oriented articles, some of which had an aquatic theme, as well as creating our own count down to the event. We were also able to introduce our audience to the performers ahead of the production.

On the day, we had the best job of all, to document and share the performances with our wider audience. So we got to see everything, in detail, several times over, what a luxury.

Well I think our work went well, as there were so many people from all walks of life there in the audience, we had children and adults participating with enthusiasm as well as scores of people sitting in the audience watching. We had dancers of all abilities and people of all capabilities too, which was wonderful to think that we were able to open dance up to everyone who attended. I particularly loved the lady with her own collection of toy meerkats who joined in with pretty much every single number and workshop.

I think we need to shout a big thank you out to our sound team, as the music could be heard across the festival, drawing people towards the music and dance that was occurring.

IMG_1102The highlight of my day had to be watching all the participants getting so engrossed with the many dance workshops that were put on that day. I loved the fact that the workshops were all nautically themed, which was so in keeping with our historic location. And I learned something, albeit something sombre… The Daisy Farris Dance Collective performed their “Great Thames Disaster”, opening my eyes to this really tragic event that happened on our capital’s river, cutting short the lives of so many, so unexpectedly.

On a lighter note, I learned something else too… how to use Facebook live video. And it was really popular! People unable to attend were able to be a part of our event live through the powers of Facebook. What a brilliant innovation.

When the day was wound up, I also really liked the fact that one of our most popular social media posts was our team selfie. Here’s to the team.

Georgia
It is always helpful for my development to be part of these events as they are always inspiring and enjoyable, and always present learning opportunities for me. These are public events so you never know how they are going to go or what challenges you will face as a team so it is always good to have the experience of being part of the planning. Effective planning can always reduce risks and can give possible solutions to problems that may come up. As with all of these kinds of events that I have attended, this was an amazing event organised by a great team in Medway Arts Team and The Right Step Dance Company and any eventuality was planned for.

IMG_1107There was such a great buzz around the whole event and the performances had lots of audience members watching and commenting on them. I was concerned the event may not capture a big audience due to having to register but the Dockyard did a great job in making the registration free and easy to do and did a great job in marketing the event and we had a great footfall.

I spoke to a family that loved the workshops and hadn’t been to an event like this before and wanted to find out about the classes available. I personally think this is a great success for the companies and dance schools there but also for the promotion of health and wellbeing in Medway.

I had a conversation with a teenage boy that came up to me and ask what kind of dance style it was when Loop were performing. This gave me the opportunity to talk to him about contemporary dance and the ideas behind Ports That Pass. We spoke about possible dance schools that offer this style.

I really liked how inclusive this event was and many people with mixed disabilities joined in the workshops.

Watching people have the chance to network with each other for collaboration opportunities and to promote their companies and dance schools to the public was really great to see.

IMG_1134I really enjoyed delivering the workshop based on boats and the dockyard and was thrilled at the amount of people that were joining in. We had 30-40 people including children, adults, families, people with mixed disabilities and abilities, carers and people from different cultural backgrounds joining in and this really made the event for me. I loved seeing all performances and the range of dance styles and age groups really showcased what Medway can do and what we have to offer! Dancing on the Pier, Dancing in the Dockyard… I can’t wait to see where we will be dancing next time!

Hayley
Dancing in the Dockyard was an absolute pleasure to be a part of. I volunteered my time to help organise the event by attending meetings and collating information via email. I decided that this would be a great opportunity to get involved and see what goes on behind the scenes. I have always been a performer in events like this, meaning I had no idea about the hard work it involves creating such a successful event. This is why I jumped at the chance to have the opportunity to be a part of it. I was able to have firsthand experience on the day dealing with performers, participants, audience members, technicians and Chatham Dockyard coordinators. I was able to talk to the general public and explain what we had to offer on the day, encouraging them to have a look and take part (particularly little ones). I was thrilled to hear how enthusiastic the majority of people were when approached. I heard many lovely comments and received lots of positive feedback through the questionnaires.

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I had people wait to talk to me and receive a leaflet about Dancing in the Dockyard, a young lady and father explaining how she loved to dance and also she is good at it because she practices at school and with her friends. I also had some young boys show me that they can floss when I spoke to them about the event. Later in the day they appeared again and joined in with Georgia’s creative dance. I had an elderly couple approach me asking about what was happening which I explained, they were thrilled to hear and asked for front row seats. I believe they sat through the majority of the first half of performances.

It was brilliant to see how smoothly the day went, particularly when we had the situation with GDPR consent forms. I was overwhelmed at how understanding people were when I explained the importance of the form; many came looking for me to sign the form once Luci explained over the speaker. That worked really well in the end, I think to improve that particular situation in the future we should have a particular spot. This way the parents can come straight to us, rather than we hunt around in the crowd for them. Overall I had a wonderful experience and a great day and the pleasure to work with such a lovely team.

Thank you so for having me!!

Georgie
Wow! What a fantastic event. I was really excited in the build up to dance at the dockyard, being in the office and speaking to Clare about social media posts meant I got a sneak preview of what was going to happen. I could see we had a lovely variety of performers, plus workshops too. I thought I was quite prepared for the event, as I had been to a couple of them before… But I definitely was not IMG_1150prepared for the turn out we had! The crowd was huge, I ended up doing the biggest active armchairs session on record which was amazing! I felt such a buzz from the crowd. even though half of the children were too young to know the songs, they were still really enjoying it. All of the companies involved were so talented and to have such a variety was really great.

I must admit I did have one of the best jobs, taking the photos for social media meant I got a front row seat! I was so excited, I got a little trigger happy with my camera and took over 500 photos! The support from everyone involved, the team and of course the audience really made the event one I will remember!

You can definitely sign me up for next time!

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Spring Time, Show Time!

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We had a lovely start to the year with our school clubs, and to celebrate at the end of the term some of the schools put on a show for fellow students and parents. Here are some of the TRS teachers telling us about their shows this term:

Abi, Level One TRS Teacher at St William of Perth Primary School
“This term I’ve been teaching at St William of Perth Primary School, teaching creative dance. This term I decided to go along the Disney theme of The Lion King. The kids have absolutely loved it, from showing me their loudest roars to knowing all the choreography. One girl even said to me this morning, ‘Abi I’ve been practising The Lion King dance over and over in the week to show you!’ That comment really made my morning and I can’t wait to teach them something different next term!”

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Alix, Level two TRS Teacher at Balfour Juniors school
“Balfour put on a mini performance this term. The parents enjoyed the performance and we did a mix of themes and styles:

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The students performed a circus theme dance, where the children had the chance to act out different performers eg: clowns , tightrope walkers, gymnastics, puppets and more. They performed amazingly, not only remembering the dance moves but performing in their faces and getting in to character was amazing. They really enjoyed the theme! One of our dancers also learnt how to cartwheel just so she could do the gymnastic section of the dance!

Singing-in-the-Rain-1
Next they performed ‘Singing in the rain’ where one dancer had a solo. This dance was street dance. They also had chance to choreograph their own group dances. Each group had to choreograph a short routine based on the tempo of the music when it was their time to perform.

 

The last dance was a simple pop routine which they all enjoyed performing and it was a nice routine to finish the performance.

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We had also been looking at electricity – Circuits, batteries, negative and positive. We looked at their relationships and how a circuit works. Our routine had group work in as well as solo sections and partner work. They decided they didn’t want to perform this one.

I look forward to the next show :)”

 

 

Georgia, Level 2 TRS Teacher
Towards the end of term I had two great shows in two schools, St Andrew’s Pre School and Burham Primary School.

St Andrew’s Pre School
The children had been working really hard in their ballet sessions throughout the term to remember the dances, exercises and ballet words. Our first exercise to share was with a hula hoop! While I held the hoop low to the floor, the children pointed their toes through the hoop, ran through the hoop and then did a beautiful turn once on the other side of the hoop. We then performed a dance to ‘Mary, Mary quite contrary’ and this dance was based on us picking flowers. The Ballerinas held a colourful flowers throughout the dance and we reached up high to pick them from the trees and plied to pick them from the grass. We gathered our flowers together as a group and took a deep breath to smelled them before spinning with them and blowing the petals! Our last dance was performed in pairs to ‘Walking on Sunshine’ and was about us being very happy that the sunshine was on its way so we could play with our friends. In partners, we skipped, turned, galloped and gave high-tens! We showed our partners our ballet moves such as First/ Second Position, Tendus, Plies and Jetes. I had a wonderful time with the Ballerinas and I was very proud of them. The parents clapped and told me how wonderful the show was.

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Burham Primary School
Throughout the term, we had been learning a dance to ‘Sun Comes Up’ that was based on street dance moves we had created about rising and falling. Throughout the term we had also completed lots of creative tasks based on the idea of superheroes. For our show, I wanted to share two dances, our street dance one and one that the group would choreograph themselves. I chose three pieces of music and the group had to decide between them which one they would like to use. I then assisted the group to piece together their superhero dance. They started off with two groups at the side of the room and ran towards each other in slow motion before meeting their partner and showing their best superhero moves such as cat girl hand gestures and shooting spider web from their wrists! They finished their dance by running forwards towards the audience and then performing their signature move in canon before ending on the floor in true dramatic superhero style! It was amazing to be able to tell the parents that the first dance was created by the dance group and the students were incredibly proud of themselves. At the end of the show, the audience clapped and cheered and even asked to see it again!

I really enjoyed the shows this year and cannot wait for the term to start so that we can start all over again and prepare and create for our summer shows!

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Clubbercise Club

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Burham Primary have a weekly Clubbercise after school club with Shanice. Shanice was so impressed with their dancing that she filmed them to show them what they’d learnt. Here’s what Shanice had to say.

We did this dance as they where performing in their assembly as we needed the class to get a bit busier. When the school asked us to do this we only had 2 weeks to learn a routine and make it perfect. The girls worked really hard in both those lessons to perfect the routine and to make sure they would remember it. I really loved how they really enjoyed working on it and I was really proud so I videoed and wanted to share it with Rebecca. I didn’t manage to actually see them perform as it was in school time but the following week after the performance I asked all the girls how it went and they said they loved it and it went well. We also got 2 new recruits which was great!

Here’s the video!

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The Value of Arts

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On Thursday 22nd February artists and interested people gathered to contemplate the value of art and to share their experiences. I went along to not only provide a workshop about Active Armchairs, but to also discover what other artists have been up to in Medway and Kent.

Valuing Art & Culture in Medway and Kent was organised by Laura King of Look Kloser and Luci Napleton from Medway Council after Laura shared her idea for a day to encourage collaboration. It all began with a chat at Medway Dance Network and snowballed from there.

I took part in Laura’s workshop where she told us how all of her sessions are open for anyone, no matter what and reminded us of the importance of pausing for participants. Georgia Smith, representing Loop Dance Company (yes, she’s also a TRS Teacher and our Adult Dance Co-ordinator, she wears many hats!), share her ideas for a cohesive approach to a dance class for children. We discussed the difference between creative dance and cross-curricular dance and came to the conclusion that it’s like a Hoover… all cross-curricular dance is creative, but not all creative dance is cross-curricular. Luci shared her experiences with EDNA and we were treated to the rare opportunity to relax and gather our thoughts.

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Everyone in the room is part of Active Armchairs. When family, friends and carers are present we can facilitate special moments for them.

Lastly was my workshop about Active Armchairs. My aim was to give everyone a flavour of what Active Armchairs is, to talk about the importance of choice and to inspire everyone with some Magic Moments. Luckily I was joined by fellow Active Armchairs facilitator, Georgie, who was able to share her favourite moments as well.

The day was a great reminder that there is a wealth of dance expertise out there. Although we do a lot of skills sharing at The Right Step, CPD and sharing is with other is always good for the soul!

In the evening we went to the hall, still at Woodlands Arts Centre, where there were tables and a big screen. Guests arrived and speakers shared their stories of collaboration. There was a great mix of people from various organisations and the general idea was to find a way to collaborate and make art happen.

Speakers were asked what they think is the value of arts and I think the resulting list is all true…

  • A sense of purpose and achievement
  • Prevents social isolation
  • Self worth
  • Opportunity for learning
  • A feeling of belonging

I know I found some opportunities for collaboration and I’m sure others there did too. I had a day of contemplation and came away buoyant.

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Sharing Is Caring

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By Georgie

Over the half term we held some sharing sessions for the TRS Teachers. Both for our schools dance classes as well as our Active Armchairs classes. It was lovely to have so many teachers involved, and from all different levels of the TRS team. Sharing ideas and collaborating with one another is a vital part to The Right Step’s ethos and we enjoy it so much.

Firstly, we started off with our Schools Dance sharing. Becca, our Schools Dance Co-ordinator started us off with a great warm up to Bamboleo by the Gypsy Kings. This was a warm up she had done for a carnival theme in a school, so she included the use of bright feathers. Whilst we had the feathers out we discussed different ideas to use them for, for example using them to tickle different body parts. As well as talking about behaviour management within the class. As feathers and any sort of prop can be a slight distraction, especially with younger children. So, using ideas such as ‘Put your feathers on your head’ to keep them still and focused works really well.

20180213_114336Next Georgia shared her ‘weather’ game with us. We created different movements to represent the different types of weather, from sunshine to rainbows to twisters to lightening. You can start off by giving a couple of examples then get your class to help you come up with the rest. A great way to build up movements to use throughout your class. Then you walk, jog, skip and gallop around the room. When the teacher shouts out a weather you do the action that represents this. We discussed how you can use the main idea for this game and change it to the different themes that you may come across in your classes such as superheroes of jungles.

Hayley, one of the newest members of the TRS team shared an exercise where the idea is to walk around the room, but you are lead by a certain body part; for example your hand. Using this to ‘pull’ you around the room. Then you can switch to different body parts! The more interesting the better! We had elbows, bottoms, knees, and ears. A great way for children to learn about themselves and their bodies!

I then shared some cross-curricular ideas. I had chosen some words from some of last year’s book week books such as ‘The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. Ben’ and using these I laminated individual letters, and had the students create as many different words as they could within a set time. This promoted team work as well as using Literacy within a dance lesson.

We discussed lots of different ways to which we can use these ideas throughout our lessons. Coming up with more ideas, for example with the letters. You can then get the children to make the shape of the letter using their own bodies. We also looked at cool downs, how you can take movements which you have learnt in class and repeat them but slowly to start cooling the bodies down!

Overall it was a very successful Schools dance sharing! And we can’t wait until the next one.

 

The next Sharing was for our adult dance classes, mainly focusing on Active Armchairs.  Again, a lovely turn out, we had a good mix of previously trained Active Armchairs Facilitators and our new trainee’s too.

20180214_153431_001I shared my warm up to ‘Love and Marriage’ by Frank Sinatra. This has been used for various themes within classes and as it is a well known song, most participants enjoy it. I also shared my  ‘around the world’ theme using a blow up globe. This is great for conversations, discussing where they have been, where they want to go. You can also use it to practice co-ordination for example throwing and catching or rolling across to another participant. Finally, I shared a dance to ‘Let’s twist again’. This is a great song to use again as most know it and it encourages participants to twist, which can be something that they use less as they get older. It also included the hand jive and jazz hands for an all around fun dance!

20180214_152503Clare shared a few of her favourite things she’s been doing recently. She brought in her stretchy material to show us. These are great as they work like resistance bands but aren’t as strong so anyone can use them. She used pieces of lycra material and cut them into strips. We then went around in the circle and came up with a movement each, which we then put all together to create a dance! She also shared with us her lovely cool down to ‘You are the Sunshine of My Life’ which is such a lovely song and a great way to finish a session.

20180214_154416Georgia shared some of her exercises that she has been using in class. She showed us her foot exercise to ‘Jailhouse Rock’ another great upbeat, toe-tapping song to which most people know! This works really nice as a foot exercise as it’s a nice steady beat, and she even included a bit of a wiggle and boogie for the chorus so that participants can have their own creativity in there. She also shared her dance to none other than ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ by Bon Jovi. Again, a fantastic sing along that most know. This was really fun as we got to play the drums, rock out on a guitar and throw our arms in the air! She also included circles throughout to work through the whole body. Like wrist circles, ankle circles, shoulder circles etc. It was a really fun and beneficial dance.

Again, we had such a great time sharing our ideas, you can see how much by having a quick look through our video below.

Thanks to all that came and shared, looking forward to next time!

 

 

 

 

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Magic Moments!

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We recently held our All Hands Meeting, a chance for the TRS Teachers to get together, talk about the company and the direction it’s taking. As part of the meeting, the TRS Teachers shared the best things that have happened to them this year. We’ve been gradually sharing them on Facebook for the past month, but thought you might like to read them in one go.

 

I had a magic moment today at Gillingham Age UK. It was only brief and fleeting, but magic all the same.
I don’t know if this lady is there other days, but on one of the middle tables near the window there is usually sat a lady who sits and doesn’t appear to join the exercises as much. Well, on this particular day, during a Doris Day song… I caught her eye, and actually caught her singing along to the song!!! She didn’t join in with any other songs, nor did she dance, but to see just a little twinkle in her eye and joining in just a tiny bit was fantastic. Sadly she did then return to her word search when the next song started. But I am definitely going to use “Whatever Will be Will Be” again.
Clare

 

One of the children I teach at Wrotham Road Primary has been struggling to skip for some time, but the other week he finally learnt how to! I was so proud! We started with hopping and turned it into skipping.
Alice

 

At Warren wood where I teach street dance, the girls in the class come in saying ‘’I’ve practiced the dance!’’ It’s so sweet to hear!
Katie

 

In Active Armchairs I have recently been using a tambourine. I tap a rhythm and the participants clap it back to me. They then all get a turn! It works really well, and they really like it!
Alix

 

At Lulworth House there is a lady who always joins in active armchairs and is usually really enthusiastic. One week, however, she wasn’t feeling herself sadly. So I wondered what I could do to get her more engaged. As the lady is from Spain, I decided to put some Ricky Martin on and she loved it!
Clare

 

At World Book Week this year I was at St Mary’s Primary School. With one class my theme was ‘space’. I asked the children to become planets and create their own solar system with movements. For example I used words like orbit for turns. It was fantastic. They were so involved and imaginative. It was really lovely to see all of the boys and girls working together!
Becca T

 

At Hoo Primary School recently I had a really good day there! I was so impressed to see as I walked into the school the girls were there ready and practising their dance. It was lovely to see how excited they were!
Steph

 

Active Armchairs amazes me everytime. Even when it’s a harder session, you just see them move the slightest bit and it’s just beautiful to see them come alive with the music and movments.
Steph

 

At Byron Primary School, I have been doing a carnival theme. I use feather props and everyone takes turns in being the leader. However, usually there is one girl who is a bit too shy to be a leader, but she still joins in and follows. Well, last week I couldn’t believe it, she was so excited and enthusiastic to be the leader of the group! It was so lovely to see, and her mother was asking how she had been, and she was surprised to see her confidence grow too!
Becca G

 

I went along to watch Steph’s active armchairs class at Mayflower Care Home. There was a lady there, and all of I sudden I noticed her standing up. She was dancing and boogieing all the way over to the window. Then she danced with all the other participants on her way back to her seat!
Hayley

 

The other week I was covering a class for Steph at Abbotsleigh Care Home. Then the care worker asked me if we could do the ‘Cha Cha Slide’. I was a bit surprised to be asked this! And in honesty I never would have thought to do that song in Active Armchairs, but I gave it a go, and it was fantastic. The residents really loved the beat and all of the care workers came in and did the dance for them. It was lovely to see everyone smiling and having fun altogether!
Georgie

 

I go to Valley View on a regular basis and so I have made some lovely relationships with the residents there. One lady, sadly has quite a bad memory but this never stops her joining in. And what I love most, is that she remembers every single song I play and sings along to them all! Most of which bring back lots of lovely memories for her!
Georgie

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A Week in the Life

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Georgie is our current TRS Teacher of the Year. The TRS Teachers voted for her in 2016 and her year since has seen her continue the fantastic work that made her win. As the year draws to a close and the TRS Teachers have voted for the 2017 winner, I thought it would be nice to hear about what Georgie gets up to on a weekly basis.

A week in the life of a TRS Teacher!
By Georgie Tedora, Level Two TRS Teacher and Level Two Active Armchairs Facilitator

It was going to start off as a day in the life, then two days. But I have had so many great events this week I thought I’d share them all with you!

Monday:
So, recently I have been asked to join the office team as Company Assistant. Which I was thrilled about. It’s really nice to get to see the ‘behind the scenes’ of The Right Step. I am learning so much each week which is fantastic and Rebecca has now given me more things to do with social media so that’s my next challenge to tackle and I am really enjoying it so far! Whoever said office work is boring, clearly didn’t have a team like ours!

Tuesday:
Today was another busy day for me! I had two Active Armchair classes and one youth group class. The first was at Gillingham Age UK. I really enjoy these classes as they all really get involved and love to have a good sing along! The next was Ashley Gardens, and this month was the one to one sessions. These sessions are particularly rewarding I find not only for the participant but for me as well. You get to really connect with the participant and it’s just lovely to see them smile and move to the music. Lastly, I was teaching Cheerleading in Bexley. This was a one-off class but they were fantastic. They all got so involved and were a really good group! They even said they would love to have another class!

Wednesday:
Another two Active Armchair classes today. I went to Byron Lodge firstly, to cover Steph. I like going along to these classes as there aren’t always that many participants, they always recognise me and are happy to see me which is a great feeling. One lady and I are both huge animal lovers, and she is always telling me new places to go and see some local wildlife which is lovely! The next was a class at a local lunch club, All Saints. They have a class every few months or so. I find this class is normally slow starting, but once one person gets going they are all up and dancing and singing along! This time I did the hand jive in one of my dances and a lady showed me another version which I had never seen before! It was really good, and she done it so quickly I was mesmerised by it! I’m hoping to make a video of the hand jive so keep an eye out on YouTube.

Thursday:
I was very excited about today as I had a new class to go to and do a taster for! It was at Hazelwood Care Home. I am always a bit nervous when going to somewhere new, as I never know what to expect, but straight away this home was so welcoming and the particapnts were so excited before I had even arrived! They gave me such a warm welcome that I felt so comfortable and couldn’t wait to get started! The session went really well! In particular, there was a married couple seated next to one another, and they kept dancing to the music together. It was beautiful. I then went onto my social dance class at Montgomery. I have built up such a good relationship with this group, that it really does not feel like work at all! More like seeing my friends! They are always such a pleasure and now they feel relaxed enough to ask me certain things in particular that they want to work on, such as their legs which is so nice that they feel this way. Lastly, I was covering Georgia at her class at Burham Primary. This was with the younger students at the school. I was so impressed at how good they were. Both behaviour and their dancing! With a little bit of team work they had remembered the dance Georgia had taught them, and were so excited to show me. I then gave them a creative task in pairs and they came up with some fantastic ideas!

Friday:
Today was my quietest day for The Right Step this week. I had one active armchairs class. This is another on of my regulars at Valley View. I admit, I tend to get to this home quite early as I love to sit and have a little chat with the residents before class. They are always telling me about their shopping trips that week, and who won bingo! Again, it’s that lovely feeling of being so welcome and having a nice relationship built with the residents. The class itself can sometimes start off a little slow, but they are all really good at encouraging one another, so before you know it they are all dancing and singing along!

Saturday:
You think it’s all over… not yet! Today was the Santa Fun Run! Rebecca had asked me a few weeks ago if I would like to be the TRS Teacher that warms up the santa’s before the run this year and I was very happy to be asked! I must admit, just before I was getting a little nervous as I didn’t realise quite how many Santa’s there would be! It was a brilliant turn out! Despite having some horrible rainy weather, that didn’t stop anyone! All of those nerves went away as soon as the music came on. It felt amazing to see everyone dancing and singing along, and even more so as they were all dressed as Santa’s. I could see Rebecca and Clare from TRS dancing in the crowd. And it was so nice that our youngest member of TRS (Gaia) came along to support too! I had the best time warming up the Santa’s and I can’t wait to go along again next year!

Here’s a link to my blog post about The Santa Fun Run… http://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/2017/12/04/santa-fun-run-2017

Sunday:
Annnnnnnnnd RELAX…

 

 

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