Tag Archives: dance

Egyptian and Charlston

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Written by Georgie, Level Three TRS Teacher and Educating Dance Teacher

This was my first term at Singlewell Primary. I had heard lots of wonderful things from previous teachers and was excited to go, even more so when I found out the two themes for this term; Egyptian and Charleston! What a great way to rekindle my Educating Dance sessions than with two of my favourites!

Year 3 were doing Ancient Egypt in their lessons so they went for some Egyptian dance. I chose not to focus on ‘up-to-date’ Egyptian dancing, as this is mainly belly dancing and not my forte. However, I was very excited to introduce them to Ancient Egyptian dancing.

Firstly we discussed Egyptian Gods, I gave each corner a God, explained key parts and together we came up for movements. We had Ra; the God of the Sun, and we created a huge sunshine movement. Then we had Horus; God of the sky, who looked like a bird, so we did huge wings. We also had Hathor; the Goddess of love, we gave ourselves a hug. Finally Bastet; a feline creature, where we acted like cats, very proud showing off our coat. I loved seeing the ideas they created. Each week I would test them on names and meanings and the class got better and better each time!

We then worked in groups, I asked a student from each group to close their eyes and pick out a God. We had; Osiris, Ra, Hathor, Seth, Nut and Bastet. The groups each came up with a starting pose to do with their Gods, either with they way the looked or their God traits. Each group was so different it created a wonderful scene for the start of our dance.

The next task was done individually. I gave them the alphabet in Hieroglyphics and asked them to dance out their names. Some of them found this quite difficult as they had longer names! I also did it myself which was fun.

For the starter for this group we created a giant Pyramid (not all climbing on top of one another though!) We used different levels in lines and finished with tiptoes and points to make the top. Each week I challenged them to come into the classroom and make their pyramid before the music ran out.

We then learnt our dance to ‘walk like an Egyptian’. The class really liked this and they had so much focus when learning it. I also included a bit of ‘tutting’ as they use Egyptian like moves in this. The class enjoyed the modern spin that I put on that. The final part of the dance was done in pairs, they had to create strong Egyptian moves using ‘opposites’ as the theme. The class grasped this very well.

The last couple of weeks we put it altogether. Starting with our Gods, then creating a wall of Hieroglyphics at the back of the room. They then came forward and performed their names. Finishing with the walk like an Egyptian dance.

The last week I split them into two groups as we performed them to one another. It was great to see the progression and how much they had developed. It was a lovely start to my time at Singlewell!

 

Year 2 had Charleston for their subject, I was very excited about this. To start with I went over some very basic steps, as the full Charleston is a difficult one! We started with diagonal jumps, twists, flick kicks and crazy knees. This was their warm up, they would walk around in ‘Jazzy’ ways and when I tapped the tambourine they would go to the nearest corner and perform that move. This was a great way to introduce the style to them and they picked these movements up so quickly I was very impressed!

We then came to the centre and worked on the moves a bit more thoroughly, repeating move after move and then finishing with a simple Charleston. I started saying ‘step forward, step back’ and by the end of the 6 weeks they were all saying it too!

For the next few weeks I wanted them to create a ‘Speakeasy’ as their starter so, they would come into the classroom and, as quickly as they could, get into the position to hold it. We have the band, performers, audience and bar workers. They all created their own position, but it worked so well when you put it altogether. I couldn’t believe how well they remembered it the first week and by week 6 they managed to do this in just 15 seconds! I think that’s the best yet!

We then started our routine, which included all of the other steps as well as some partner work. It was great to see the development over the weeks, of how well they could remember the dance, as well as all of the moves. By the end they were facing their partners and going back and forth doing the Charleston. Definitely a proud teacher moment right there!

To finish the dance I had them get into smaller groups and put their own ‘mini’ dance together. However, the class did this so quickly, I had to give them a range of developments on the spot! Firstly, I asked them to create different patterns and positions to dance in. Some used triangles, others used lines and swapped through each other too. I then gave them the idea of using different levels, we had groups holding hands and turning on the floor! It opened up my imagination seeing all these wonderful moves.

By week 6 the class were complete professionals. I split them in half so we could do a show. It was lovely to see the support for one another and I really enjoyed seeing the outcome. They  were all so focused and worked so hard that I gave everyone a sticker at the end!

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Enhance Project Report

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The full Enhance Project Report is ready to read! 

The Enhance Project was undertaken as a way to find out what it is that Active Armchairs does for participants, but it became much more than that. 

“When I was developing Active Armchairs, a gentleman in the session, told me that, before doing the classes, he couldn’t brush his hair. He proudly stated that now he could. From this day I wanted to find out what it is that dance can do for it’s participants. Almost 10 years later, it’s finally time to scientifically prove what it is that our classes do for the dancers, and that is why we want to hold a research project.” Rebecca Ashton, Director at The Right Step Dance Company.

The Enhance Project Report explains what Active Armchairs is, including a quick history, outlines what was included in the project and explains the results. University of Kent PhD Student, Ian Farr’s short report is also included. This is a short version of the full report that will be written for his PhD. 

“The current study shows an increase in physical activity and associated benefits to physical and mental health when care home residents take part in Active Armchairs dance workshops.” Ian Farr, PhD Student, University of Kent.

If you would like a copy of the report please email us or read below. 

For more information about Active Armchairs please click HERE.

For more blog posts about the Enhance Project, please click HERE.

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December Shows

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This year there have been lots of festive performances and the TRS Teachers wanted to share the fun with you. Even if there wasn’t a show to friends and family, there will have been performances to peers within dance club. We love a show and a performance opportunity is essential to a dance class. So congratulations to every participant in our lessons who has performed this term. I know of at least 10 schools so far. Here are some words from the TRS Teachers and I about just a few. 

Palace Wood Primary School

Rebecca – I’ve been working with KS2 Creative Dance Club at Palace Wood Primary School since September. The theme has been The Lion King and we’ve looked at ideas from the films and the stage musical. By the show we had three pieces of music put together to make quite a lengthy dance. We even added Rocking Around The Christmas to the end and gave it a festive finish! 

We began with Timon and Puma. It was September so we explored friendships and greetings. The dancers, in pairs, used movements I choreographed for warm up as well as some of their own. Alongside this the group choreographed a dance altogether. They danced with feathers and movements were inspired by Zazu, a bird. Later in the term I showed the dancers a short video about how the dancers in the musical move like lions. They worked in groups, their prides, and choreographed dances as lions. Then, in the last ten minutes of the week before the show, we very quickly threw some moves together and danced to Rocking Around The Christmas Tree. By this point they were excellent at choreography and thought of some brilliant movements very quickly.

They were so fantastic in performance. Very professional, they concentrated, counted and smiled. The audience were really impressed and we were all very proud. Well done KS2!

Here’s a little clip of photos and videos from the final rehearsal and performance.

St William of Perth Primary School

Jess – The 19 performers at St William Of Perth performed their two dances in front of their school in an early morning assembly. For most of the group it was the first time they’ve performed, with more never having danced before. It was a very nerve racking experience but each dancer performed amazingly.

At the start of this term we were working on Rainforest animals, from tree frogs and snakes to tigers and sloths. We spent time learning how each animal moves and learning from each other, picking up ideas and exploring new movements. The class were separated into two groups who were given a small number of animals to explore the movements with. This allowed each dancer to work on their creativity, learn from their peers and gather new ideas.

A week before the performance we started a new winter theme, our song was “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let us snow!”. The dancers created the whole dance by listening to the lyrics and finding movements to suit. This allowed the dancers who were usually shy to have a big input, feel a sense of accomplishment and own part of the dance that was being performed by everyone. It was during this week, the dancers expressed an interest in performing their routines.

Performance week arrived. As the news of the performance was delivered, a sense of nervousness overcame a lot of the younger dancers, however with the encourage and support of the older dancers, everyone pulled through and performed together.

I am so proud of every single one of those dancers who overcame their nerves to perform two dance routines to their peers and class friends. Everyone did brilliantly. Well done.

Byron Primary School

Steph has been working at Byron Primary for many years now. Their club isn’t at a time that is good to invite friends and family in so they can be an audience, but this didn’t stop them! They did a video show and here is the fantastic result!

So a big well done to everyone, you were fantastic! 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Santa Fun Run 2019

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We to the Santa Fun Run in aid of Rotary Children’s Hospice Family Holidays every year and have a wonderful time. It’s our job to get the santas warm and ready for their run. It’s usually cold, but always good fun!

A big change this year was the venue. Usually held in Rochester, this year we were welcomed to The Historic Dockyard, Chatham. Another change, this year was that we were joined for the warm up by The Gym Group who were also one of the event sponsors. It was great to have more people joining in for the warm up. We took it in turns to take the lead, Lou took the lead for us, and we had the rest of the teams dotted around for the santas to copy.

You can read more about it on The Dockyards website, https://thedockyard.co.uk/whats-on/santa-fun-run/

We also have other clips, including our finish line slow mo on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/therightstepdc/

A big thank you to Medway Rotary for having us there again, the The Historic Dockyard for welcoming us to your venue and to The Gym Group for being our new warm up friends!

Now, here’s the video!!

If it doesn’t work on the website, or if you want to see all the Santa Fun Run videos, please head to YouTube… https://youtu.be/El5A5ibu5h0 

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Six Weeks at Greenfields

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This year we were invited back to Greenfields Community Primary School for their dance sessions. Georgie and Lou went along to work with every pupil for six weeks and the dances will be taken to competitions by the pupils who want to take dance from curricular to extra curricular. The choreography is excellent and we can’t wait to see where the pupils take it!

Written by Georgie…

This year I was really grateful to have the opportunity to go back to teach at Greenfields. They were amazing last year and I couldn’t wait to see what this year would bring. I not only had the joy of teaching years 5&6 again, but I also got to teach years 3&4 too!

I was really excited for my themes again this year, I did ‘Space Jam’ with years 3&4 and ‘Superheroes’ with years 5&6. Both sets of participants got really excited and into the theme which was great!

With ‘Space Jam’ I first got them into groups and asked them to create giant alien shapes in their groups. We had so much fun coming up with ideas, like antenna, how many legs, and of course alien faces! The dance started off with the music ‘Men in Black’ by Will Smith, so the dancers were acting really cool and slick like they were protectors of humans in case of aliens. One movement I put in the dance, as the music transitioned, was the break dance move, the helicopter (some call it coffee grinder), which can be quite a tricky move, but the students picked it up so quickly! I was really impressed. Then the music picked up as we went into ‘Space Jam’ and we had some really upbeat movements as we partied with some aliens!  Again, with some complex moves in there, but they all got it by the end and it was great to see their faces once they had got the moves. The music then reverted back to the Men in Black and they became cool and collected ready for the finish. They all did so well to learn a 3 and a half minute dance in just 6 weeks. I loved their enthusiasm and they came in each week really eager and excited which made it even better for me as a teacher. I really hope they do well in the competitions as they worked so hard and it looks fantastic!

I taught most of years 5&6 last year and it was so nice when they came running in saying ‘Yay!’ and ‘I hoped it would be you again!’ with some even saying they still remember the dance from last year (definitely a proud teacher moment!). When I told them their theme, Superheroes, they were even more excited! Last year I remembered them being so talented and definitely up for a challenge, so I went even further this year.

Again, I split them into their house groups and based the Superheroes on their house colours. So we had reds as Iron Man, yellows were Wolverine, greens were the Hulk and blues were Spiderman! Their dance was a mash up of songs, so it was also a mix of dance styles. We had street, contemporary, lyrical and jazz. We used the avengers theme throughout the dance and then filled it in with; Snap – I’ve got the power, Kanye West – Stronger, Alesso – Heroes and Little Mix – Power.

I didn’t tell them the songs, so when we got to that part of the dance it was a surprise for them and they really enjoyed that. Each week they came back even better than the week before. I even managed to put it a lift. I was so impressed by their behavior with such a risky task. Each class all worked so hard, and I was so impressed with how quickly they picked up the moves. By the end the dance looked like it was being performed by professionals! They were all getting really into character and really performing. It was a bittersweet end for this year group as a lot of them realised they wouldn’t be there if I came back again next year. So the year 6’s all came up and gave me a hug. I wished them all them best, and told them all to continue dancing as they were all so amazing!

Lastly I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Greenfields and especially Wendy Ball for allowing me to come in and teach these wonderful students. It’s a great build up to Christmas and I wish them all the best and good luck in their competitions!

 

Written by Lou…

This term was our 6 weeks of dancing at Greenfields primary school. Working with years 1&2, I choreographed a dance with the theme of power and strength to the song Roar by Katy Perry.

Throughout the 6 weeks we explored the idea of confidence and independence. This was achieved through the warm up where the children would improvise dance moves to travel across the space by themselves. As the weeks progressed the dancers had become more confident in traveling across the space.

We also explored working in teams on different themes of Hero, Bees and Butterfly; allowing the groups to work as a team to create a short motif. I rotated the creative task so everyone could explore each theme, it was inspiring to see how each group interpreted the themes. Also, I taught the choreography week by week, introducing new sections each time.

Using the lyrics from the song I created movement that used different levels and showed the idea of being pushed down and jumping back up. In the second week we explored formations of two teams facing each other, repeating parts the chorus in a questions and answer structure, like a dance off. In the third and fourth week we worked on changing of directions and spacing. This was allowing them to work harder on their coordination and special awareness by creating different facing and altering the choreographer.

In the final weeks we worked on refining and performing the dance. All he classes remembered and put their all into the choreography. They all had so much enthusiasm and energy throughout the whole six weeks.

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Enhance Training Day

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The final testing as part of the Enhance, our Active Armchairs research project, is complete and I’ve received first drafts and many questionnaires and reports from various people. We are now awaiting the final results and I will also be writing a full project report, it is an exciting time for me as I can’t wait to share all the positive things that have come from it! 

Over half term the Active Armchairs Facilitators and I met for a training day. This is probably the first time that all facilitators have been in the same room at the same time. This unprecedented training day was exciting for all of us, but it also sent a clear message… your Active Armchairs sessions are doing fantastic things. A confidence boost like this is always good and we had a whole day to explore the many positives, how we can replicate them and what we can do to improve further. 

Bring on the Continued Professional Development (CPD) that the TRS Teachers crave! 

I asked some of the teachers to comment on the day…

“I thoroughly enjoyed the Enhance training session. I was looking forward to hearing the results. As a facilitator I know and can see the benefits in each one of my classes, but to get the scientific proof to back this, is fantastic! The CPD session allowed us all to be caught up and expand our knowledge further to enable us to really help the participants in each one. I learnt a lot of new ideas and ways to make my Active Armchairs sessions even better, for both myself and participants to enjoy!” Georgie, Owner of TRS South Kent, Level Three TRS Teacher and Level Two Active Armchairs Facilitator

“I think the training was important as it was an opportunity for the teachers to come together and talk about the Active Armchairs sessions and how they will implement the result of Enhance in their classes. It was great to have evidence to back up what we actually already knew, that Active Armchairs is good for us! I thought the confidence increase was really interesting and it was fascinating to hear about how this can affect our ability to do something when we previously thought that we couldn’t. I think the results will influence my choreography as I will now think about what impact I what the moment to have and how this can be adapted and achieved.” Georgia Smith, Level Three TRS Teacher and Active Armchairs Facilitator

“I was really interested to understand what kind of tests was carried out and the results of them. I was extremely interested in the results about the hand grip. Understanding that it wasn’t dance that helped improve movement. but the dance increased wellbeing and self belief. Aiding them to push further and accomplish more movement. 
I really enjoyed the training and understanding how psychological it can be in boosting your mood and well being.” Hayley, Level Two TRS Teacher and Level One Active Armchairs Facilitator
 
“Being a part of, and subsequently hearing the results from the Enhance Project will play an integral part to how I approach the planning and delivery of my Active Armchairs classes. I was elated to hear about the importance of instilling confidence to participants during classes and look forward to ensuring this is a given going forward.” Steph, Facilitator for the Enhance Project, Level Three TRS Teacher and Level Two Active Armchairs Facilitator
I began the day by telling the facilitators all about the project, although they all knew some of what was going on, it was great to share everything from the question we asked (above) to the logistics of the day to day. We then did lots of exercises, brain break games (left), a Q and A session with facilitators and, of course, some choreography, to explore the various outcomes and experiences from all aspects of the project. 
 
The full results will be published soon along with a project report in January, but for now we can share some of the conclusions we drew during the Enhance Training. 
 
We talked a lot about how Active Armchairs affects the various people involved and this includes care home staff and family members. We looked at their perspectives and drew conclusions from the questionnaires and feedback we’d received throughout. One comment particularly stood out because it mentioned lots of the things we consider for our sessions such as CHOICE.

“Enabling our residents to have varied meaningful activities is a must. Our activities coordinator is really motivated and arranges a wide range of activities. As with any activity only certain residents will participate depending on their ability, physically and whether they are actually interested and willing to take part in specific activities.” Pat Rossouw, Home Manager at Barton Court

We talked about how Active Armchairs is a meaningful activity, outlined in NICE Quality Statement 1: Participation in Meaningful Activity and we thought of lots of ways we support this fact as well as how we can develop further.
 
The biggest thing to come from the results so far… in brief, and as alluded to by the facilitators above, increased confidence led to improved hand grip in the non dominant hand. This is something we are all extremely pleased with because, with the group of people we work with, physical maintenance at the most is expected, we made an improvement and, not only that, the improvements come from all the things we do that surround the physical activity, not just the physical activity itself. This is very affirming. 
 
Towards the end of the day we created a list of the main things Active Armchairs is adding to the lives of our participants. The findings behind this list will all be in the project report. 
 
  • Meaningful Activity
  • Confidence
  • Motivation
  • Inclusion
  • Maintenance
  • Positive Relationships
  • Variety
  • Physical Maintenance / Development

All the facilitators, including myself, left with a practical, personal to do list, of the things we wanted to do next for our classes. These were things like set myself a mini challenge (so that we would choreograph in a new way), learn more participant names (because sometimes participants can’t tell us themselves), research meaningful activity further and check the care homes have our poster on their notice board (this helps participants/residents know when we’re coming, gives them opportunity to get excited and integrates us into care home life).
 
The main aim of the day was for it to be useful and inspiring and it really was. It was also very confidence boosting for everyone and it really was very therapeutic! The dance teachers did a great job and I can’t wait to see what happens next. 

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Welly Walk, Welly Dance

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Children love a welly walk. They love to be outside and they love to explore. Why not bring the welly walk into the dance class and extend the fun! Some things to try for schools, pre-schools, nurseries and when at home.

What is a Welly Walk?

A welly walk is basically that, a walk in wellies. Along the walk the children are encouraged to collect things they see. At this time of year that could be leaves, acorns, chestnut cases and other things that have fallen from trees. It often involves some puddle jumping and could include some leaf kicking.

 

Into Dance…

There are lots of opportunities for movement play whilst on the welly walk, but I’ve put together some ideas for in a dance class, continuing the fun and extending the learning. These things can be done with parents at home or with teachers at school.

Collections

Collect things from the welly walk and bring them into the dance class as inspiration or props. A leaf is great for a cool down. Ask children to sit or lay down comfortably, leaf in hand. With calming music on, they can copy you or interpret your direction in their way. You could begin with stroking the arms, don’t forget the elbows. You could do a tickley arm pit or chin. You can twirl the leaf between the fingers. It can be balanced on different body parts. There are lots of things that can be done during cool down.

Link to English

Use the welly walk to encourage the use of different types of descriptive words (float, swish, splash, slide) then choreograph a dance using the words. This is an easy way to help children be more creative with the types of movements they do. For example, if you ask a child to pretend to be a falling leaf it’s likely that they will reach up and then wiggle down to the ground. If you ask them whilst also reminding them of some of the words they’ve thought of, their movements will be very different. They might begin high up, swaying, twitchy, swoop and then get lower as they float, twist, fly and land softly. If you don’t have real leaves, conkers and twigs etc. for this you can get craft leaves that work well throughout the year!

Roots Game

Whilst on a welly walk, roots are great for inspiring movement, especially big gnarly ones that stick up out of the ground. When back inside you can play the roots game and remember what you did. Set up some bases around the space and at each base the task is different. Tasks could be root jumping (like a ski jump over something), root balancing (find something to balance on in a certain position or balance whilst walking along it), root hopping (a row of roots that need to be hopped or hurdled over) etc. This is circuits for dance and with a theme!

Gumboot Dance

Quite a specialist area, we have dance teachers who are trained to deliver authentic classes, but you could take some aspects of this African dance style into the dance class. Put wellies on and dance in them. Use the wellies to inspire stamping, clapping and welly slapping rhythms!

Acorn, leaf, muddy puddle game.

Get some pictures of these things and/or use your voice to announce each thing. Start slowly. Ask the children to improvise around each item, use descriptive words. See my blog about improvisation for more about this. Once they have some movement material for each one, speed up your announcements. A slow breeze to start with then speeding up so they are moving between each one quickly, switching movements fast and getting excited as they go. This idea could be used as a warm up or for a game anytime in the lesson.

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Dance Ideas for PSHE

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As a subject, the content, aims and reasons for PSHE change often. It has changed names multiple times since I was at school and most schools have different approaches to it. However, at it’s core, PSHE in primary schools, generally always covers similar values and subjects.  

PSHE stands for Personal, Social and Health Education. Sometimes it is taught to a whole class in a normal setting or in circle time, sometimes it is taught it small groups. It is also taught all of the time in terms of personal development, values and general knowledge. This means it is an excellent subject for a cross-curricular dance class. Dance also teaches many of the life skills found in PSHE without the teacher having to focus on a particular aspect. For example, team work and friendships are seen in all dance classes.

In this blog I’m going to share a few dance ideas for just a few of the subjects covered by PSHE. These could be put towards a dance class or used as stand alone fun.

Friendship

Dance About You – Put children into partners. Start with someone they know well, you can repeat the task with someone they don’t know at another time. Put a short piece of music on (about 2 minutes, Come on Everybody or Blue Suede Shoes are good) and let the children ask each other questions until they find out a new thing (3 things if able) about each other. Now they work alone for a few minutes to make up a movement or sequence about the new fact(s) they’ve learnt. Share the moves with partners and then the whole class. All the movements or sequences could be strung together and performed by the whole class as a team and this would be nice at the start of the year with a new class or if more togetherness or team building is needed within a class.

Teamwork

The Spider Web – Everyone holds onto the giant elastic in a circle. Teacher says a name and that person moves across the circle. This repeats with dancers going over and under the elastic in different ways until it is a big web. Now they have to undo the web! This is a dance class though so everything needs to be done with an interesting way of moving.

The Mexican Wave – you don’t just have to do this the traditional way, other movements can be performed in a similar way and in dance we call this is cannon.

Country Dancing – As a whole dance style, country dancing is great for teamwork. A do-si-do (moving back to back around your partner) is a well known example. A Grand Chain (Holding hands) or Weave The Ring (Not holding hands) are excellent whole class team work based country dance elements that could be used in a dance or as an exercise. All stand in a circle face your partner next to you, holding right hand. Move past your partner and towards the next person and hold left hands. Keep passing holding right then left hands as you go.

Trust

There are a lot of dance and drama trust exercises such as trust falls and trust walks and they are well documented. The following idea is just for dance though and it is also great for teamwork.

Trust Motif Development – teach a simple motif or allow the dancers to choreograph one. It must all be standing up. Once they’ve learnt the motif they have to partner up and choose a prop. Things that work well are solid, about half a metre in length and are not heavy. For example, scarves or giant pipe cleaners. To simplify, the teacher can give everyone the same prop. The partners hold the prop between them and have to perform the motif again, but with the prop connecting them. The motif might develop in various ways, it might be slowed down or one person might use the opposite side of the body, for example. To make things more exciting, the partners could unknowingly choose how to hold the prop. They choose from the options hand or foot, face front or face back and right or left. Then, once the teacher has explained, they hold the prop between them. For example, hand, facing each other, left hands.

Confidence and Honesty

Telling the truth is often about having self confidence and that’s why I’ve put these two together. It’s also about how truth and lies feel to other people. It is quite a concept to grasp and from around Year 2 as it becomes more complicated than just, telling the truth is the right thing to do. You could use a story to support learning around telling the truth and use a cross-curricular approach in the dance class. The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig or, of course, the very famous, Pinnochio might be helpful

Peer feedback is good way to encourage positive, helpful, constructive truth telling. Ask for Nice and Helpful feedback, You did this and now you could try…

To encourage confidence in dance class I try to find an opportunity for every young dance to do a movement or shape on their own near the start of class. This could be during the register or part of name and shape. It’s important thay there is a ‘way out’ if they don’t know what to do. This could be by copying someone else’s idea or the teacher using whatever position they’re standing in as their shape or a move such as a shoulder shrug or head shake if they have indicated they don’t know what to do in this way. Either way, they have taken part and got through it.

Respect and Anti Bullying

Your Daily Dance has lists of music by theme, including one for songs about bullying. Appropriate versions would need to be sought for many of the song, but the list is a very useful starting point.  https://www.yourdailydance.com/songs-about-bullying/

Greetings Warm Up with a difference – Everyone walks around the space and, when teacher calls a number or colour, or holds up a sign or makes an instrument noise (there are lots of options!), they perform an action. Here are some examples.

– High five the nearest person
– Hand shake with the nearest person
– Fold arms and stop in front of the nearest person then turn away
– Stand in front of the nearest person with your arms and legs out stretched (open and vulnerable)
– Loop arms, link together

Afterwards, talk about how the actions made you feel. Progress this further in other lessons by asking the dancers for their own ideas, perhaps focusing on things that make them happy or things they think will make others happy.

 

I’ve just scratched the surface of how dance and pshe go hand in hand. Other aspects such as Golden Rules, worry and internet safety could all be explored using a cross-curricular approach and the things I have covered could be part of a lesson or scheme of work. As always with our work in Educating Dance, the options are endless!

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Dance Ideas for New Friends

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This month we’re focusing on friendship, new things and social inclusion so I had a conversation with the TRS Teachers about their ideas. Dance is a fantastic medium for making friends and learning about social interactions. 

It’s September and the schools are back, the children in our classes are meeting new people in their new classes and it’s a new school year, but we’ve talked about all classes for this blog, including Active Armchairs, because the social aspects of dance are present everywhere!

The TRS Teachers have shared lots of ideas for dancing around these themes below. I’ll also be writing a blog post about PSHE towards the end of the month and this will relate as well.
 

Meet and Greet Ideas…

Rebecca
Name and shape is a fantastic introduction game. It’s an old favourite that I first played when volunteering at Magpie Dance Company ten years ago! It works with any age, any ability and pretty much any theme! Its great for us dance teachers to learn names and to give all participants a chance to be in the spotlight if they want to.
 

How to play:
Everyone stands in a circle. Teacher explains that we are going to take it in turns to say our name and make a shape or do a little movement. Then everyone will copy the shape or movement and say the name back. As you go around each person can pass the turn onto the next person by gesturing that it is their go.
 
 
Georgia
“I like doing ‘Meet and Move’ we have selected movements and then travel around the space, when the teach shouts meet you find a friend (A different partner each time) and do the movement together and then continue. I have done this as part of a warm up where when we meet we circle a different body part starting from our head and then working towards our toes! By the end you will have danced with around 6 different people! for younger ones to make this clearer it can be when the music stops that you ‘meet’ with a friend to do the moments.”
 

Social Inclusion, how we can encourage it…

Steph
“I’ve been using the theme of holidays recently in Active Armchairs which has lead to some brilliant conversations and connections between participants. We have been sharing memories of places we have lived or visited, which has connected many people in conversation as they had visited the same place! It’s so interesting to hear how people have moved around in their lives, and lead to lots of revelations between the participants as they released that perhaps they might have even crossed paths before!”
 
Rebecca
Props are a brilliant way to include everyone in a session. I had a magic moment in Active Armchairs at Valley View Nursing Home and always share it with trainee facilitators…
 

“One lady has her table that when chooses to always sit at. The layout of the home means that she’s close enough to the seating area to see the tv and be involved with my sessions, but she is still comfortable at her table. She always sings and joins in with arms movements even though she isn’t in the circle. This is nice, but I thought she might enjoy it more and feel included if she joined our circle so I thought of some ideas. The prop that worked best was the giant elastic. I had excellent support from Dee the Activities Co-ordinator so we were able to work together. I laid the elastic out before the start and went to chat to the participant. I explain what we were going to do and asked if she would like to join us. Luckily she did and Dee helped move her to the main circle. It was a fantastic class and a real turning point.”
 

Jess

Parachutes are such a sociable prop. Call a colour and the participant runs underneath and swops places with someone else. Yoy could adapt to include a high five under the parachute.
 
Our ideas for the best props for social inclusion…
Giant elastic
Huge piece of lycra
Big balloons or beach balls
Knotted scarves
Feathers used for mirroring
Shakers for call and response
Parachute
 

Exploring Friendship…

Becca T
A nice dance idea is people bring an item to share or the teacher brings a small selection. E.g stone, feather, cube. The dancers explore the texture/shape/pathway/feeling of the item to make their own phrase. Progress: partner up and combine 2 items. Suitable for all ages and abilities.
 
Steph
I covered the theme of Friendship last term in schools. We discussed what we felt made a good friend, and then used those ideas to create movements. We made sure we danced with people in class that perhaps we didn’t know very well or were in different year groups and kept swapping partners throughout the dance. There were lots of brilliant buzz words like ‘supportive’ and ‘caring’ which lead to some lovely trust and support movements. Then together we put all of this together into a dance to ‘You’ve got a friend in me’ from Toy Story.
 

 

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Guest Post – The Parent Dance

by

Why Every Parent Should Learn To Dance

Author Bio: Ryan Howard runs SmartParentAdvice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Ryan writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase for babies and toddlers.

 

Parenthood is all about new experiences. Once your baby arrives, you are thrown right into the deep end and have to learn to take care of a new human being. As soon as you figure out how to a care for a baby, toddlerdom arrives with a whole new set of challenges. Then, before you know it, they are off to preschool, elementary school and beyond.

While you’re learning all of the new things that come along with parenthood, I would encourage you to learn to dance as well. Why do I say this? Read on to find out.

Dancing Is A Good Skill To Have In Life

There are all sorts of occasions that are a lot more fun if you know how to dance. Taking your kids to see a musician? Breaking out a few patented steps would be a blast.

Heading to a wedding? It would be fun to hit the dance floor with the family.

Dancing is just one of those things that’s a lot of fun if you can do it, and really awkward if you can’t. So, it pays to take a little time to learn at some point in your life.

Good Role Model For Kids

Kids learn so much by watching their parents. You can always tell them what you think they should do, but they will often do what you do rather than what you say.

If your kids see you dancing and having fun, they’ll want to get in on the action. On the other hand, if they see you start shifting uncomfortably once the music starts and other people start showing their stuff, they just might do the same.

Get Your Kids Into Music

Music is something that your kids might be able to enjoy over a lifetime, and dancing is a great way to help them cultivate an appreciation for music. If you know how to dance, you might just throw on Spotify and have a family dance party at home.

Once they start to enjoy music, you never know where it might lead. Maybe they will decide they want to take up piano or some other instrument. Once they can carry a tune, you might even have fun dancing while they make some music.

It’s Great Exercise

Being active is good for people of all ages. What could be more fun than getting a little exercise with your spouse on the dance floor?

It’s great exercise for your kids as well. Maybe one day, they go for a bike ride, another day they go for a swim, and then another day they do a little dancing. All of these things can be a lot of fun in their own right, but also offer huge benefits as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Final Thoughts

Some people are naturals when it comes to dancing. For others, it takes a little more effort. If you’re in the latter camp, I think it’s definitely worth taking the time to learn a few basic steps. You might even find that it’s more fun than you realized or that you have a hidden talent that you didn’t know about.

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