Tag Archives: cross-curricular

My Week at TRS

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Written by Emma Godden

As a final year dance student at The University of Surrey, I knew it was time to venture into the big wide world and what better way to do this than by gaining experience of how a professional dance company works. There is nothing more nervous than starting a new job, but with the help of Programme Director, Rebecca Ashton, she made it more than welcoming. As I have never worked in a dance company, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The atmosphere throughout the office was very inviting, and whilst being introduced to other members in the office, I slowly became more relaxed and confident.

Once discovering the ins and outs of the company and what classes they teach, I helped Rebecca plan an Active Armchairs session, with the theme of 80 days around the world. Active Armchairs is a session based around seated dance classes, with all choreography specially designed for the participants. Later that day, I ventured out of the office to one of the many care homes TRS teach at within the Medway area, Heatherdale Nursing Home. Being the first Active Armchairs session I went to, I aimed to see how it was run. One key aspect that I picked up, was the positive attitude Steph (the class leader) had throughout the entire session, remaining calm, inviting and praised all the participants continuously. Observing her was a joy and has benefited me massively when discovering teaching styles.

The following day, after joining in at another Active Armchairs session at Winchester House, I went to Miers Court Primary School to meet Rebecca. Aimed at Year Five for this term, a Cross-Curricular class helps benefit the students by engaging them within dance and movement, whilst learning about a particular topic. For this term the topic is the solar system. Rebecca ran through her class structure, the outcomes for the term and the activities that will be undertaken throughout each class. Seeing how Rebecca planned ahead, and had the classes prepared and laid out, was a real eye-opener, as you don’t usually see what happens behind the scenes.

20160107_101850On Thursday, I had few hours spent in the office. I was set the task to arrange the endless amount of props within the company, by counting them, taking pictures and then placing the information into a spreadsheet. Having this list allows for the company to easily discover what
props they have and how many of each prop are available, before trying to find them.

If I was to sum up my week here at The Right Step Dance Company, I would firstly like to say that it has been a friendly welcome into the Company. All the staff, which I have had the pleasure of meeting, have opened up and taught me many aspects of the working life within the Company. It has been a pleasure to meet a range of people, and it has been such an eye opener to how a company works, whilst being fun and at times a good laugh. You never quite know how much work and effort it takes to run a Dance Company, let alone working within one, and therefore I am very grateful for Rebecca and the rest of the staff for allowing me to join for the week, with a positive and welcoming atmosphere.

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Saxons Vs. Vikings

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This term I worked with Year 4 at Miers Court Primary School and our theme was Saxons and Vikings! They were a fantastic group, but I knew that because I taught them last year as well.

We got stuck in straight away and in the first class the dancers choreographed motifs about Saxon job roles in small groups. They were surprised to learn that had they been growing up in a Saxon village they would have just a few years until they had to take on one of the jobs.

The second session focused on Saxons in the evenings… Story telling, the great fire for heat, cooking and light and the celebration.

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Then there was a battle. We used call a response to choreograph a motif across the hall.

In the final few lessons we focused on Viking Gods.Each group had a different God sheet and had to show that they were Gods by performing their movements in a strong, powerful way.

20151202_141436I knew these groups were great at choreography because I worked with them last year. They didn’t disappoint! I made things more difficult for them this year by giving them lots of contrasting themes and asking them to thing about how they performed each one. They also had to think about transitions and there were many fantastic ideas for this including giants from the stories, flying up to the Gods and walking through the mist (something they were also doing in drama).

20151202_141700 cropThe dances were a team effort, even the teachers got involved and, when I was filming, I noticed them doing the movements with the dancers out of the corner of my eye. Excellent work!

At the end of term parents, friends and siblings came to watch the dances and the performance was excellent. All I did was turn on the music and thank the parents for coming. The dancers knew exactly what they were doing and were fantastically professional about it all.

We did do some silly things in the lead up to Christmas though, you have to enjoy the end of term! We introduced the Saxons and Vikings to Christmas and the dancers wore silly hats to perform their dance for the cameras. The video made it into the Miers Court Primary School advent calendar (number 10) and here it is to view as well. If you like it, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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Christmas Newsletter 2015!

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We’ve had a fantastic year and couldn’t fit it all in, but we’ve had a good go. So here’s our Christmas newsletter! Try Ctrl scroll to be able to read it better. If that doesn’t work we’re happy to email or post you a copy.

Christmas Newsletter 2015

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Medieval Castles, 2015!

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This term I’ve been working with Year 2 at Miers Court Primary Schools. The theme was Medieval Castles and I’m so proud of how hard both groups have worked, it’s been fantastic.

20151014_150020We began learning castle parts using our warm up and cool down. Each castle part (battlements, buttresses, ramparts, drawbridges, the moat and the great hall) had its own movement, stretch or shape and we even had a Jester dance move and bowed when The King arrived. We played a game to make freeze frames about different parts of the castle and used the countdown music to make it more exciting.

Soon we had plenty of movement material all about castles!

20151014_140701We did more than that though. Each lesson I taught the dancers a little section of Tudor themed dances. In the end we had The Pavanne, The Chain and The Circle. I showed them pictures of the clothes the Very Important People (VIPs) might wear to dance in the castle and they learnt how the clothes would affect their movements.

Towards the end of term we put everything together to create a dance. They’d worked so hard that it was a lot longer than I’d expected. We had a practice show which was filmed (the video is below!) and some school staff watched too. Miss Bulldock nearly cried because she was so proud of her class!

The last week was show week! We had a short rehearsal and then performed to adults and some younger brothers and sisters. Some school staff even crept in to watch. The performance was made extra special because the children had dressed up in Medieval costumes for the day. They’d had a banquet in the morning, made castles and then came to dance. A busy day!

I’m really proud of both classes. They worked really hard to choreograph and perform their dances brilliantly then they sat and  watched each other as though they were a perfect, grown up audience.

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Here’s the video of one of the rehearsals. It was automatically created using some of the photographs and footage from that day!

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Journeys

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In the Summer Term of 2015, Level Two TRS Teachers Alix and Shanice worked with the Reception classes at Miers Court Primary School. This was Alix’s first time working with a cross-curricular Approach, though she’s taught many many lessons working to a specified theme. Shanice came along to see what cross-curricular dance is all about and, by the end of the sessions, she decided it’s something she’d like to work on in the future.

Here is what Alix had to say about it.

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Warming up for the Journey

 

Shanice and I have just finished our cross-curricular classes at Miers Court Primary School and we have thoroughly enjoyed working with both the school and the children.

The classes focused on ‘Journeys’ so we took all of the Reception year on a fantastic journey to a hot dessert island so they could find treasure.

 

 

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The Rowing Boat

Firstly we had to go on a few other journeys before we could reach our destination. We visited the beach where we started our adventure. The children played in the sand, rubbed on their sun cream, enjoyed ice creams and even ensured our hats and sun glasses were on to protect us from the sun. Next we stepped into the sea to go on a number of boats. We went on a rowing boat, a canoe and on speed boats that were very fast. On our boat journey we saw many sea creatures. The children enjoyed pretending to be a shark, octopus, crab and fish.

 

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The Treasure!

At last, after our speed boat adventure, we stepped onto our very quiet, beautiful dessert island. The children searched behind palm trees and even used a map to find the treasure! We eventually found the golden treasure and the children were so excited they created a disco dance to celebrate!

 

 

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Having a Disco to Celebrate

The children worked very hard and were committed in all of their sessions. They were supported by their teachers which was lovely.

The lovely reception classes even created their own moves for the dance and performed the whole piece with lots of energy.

Shanice and I were very sad to leave, but we hope Miers Court enjoyed the dance. Well done Year R, it has been a pleasure!

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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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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!

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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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