Tag Archives: TRS Teachers

A Year in The Life

by

Steph, Level Three TRS Teacher, Level Two Active Armchairs Facilitator and Educating Dance Teacher (what a mouthful, she’s reached the highest levels possible at TRS!) was voted TRS Teacher of the year 2017 by TRS staff in November last year. As we are coming up to this year’s vote I asked her to write about her year and I’m pleased to say it’s really varied and has been very exciting!

This is how young dancers in Steph’s classes put their hand up to talk… in any funky position!

A Year in The Life of Steph…

One of my favourite things about my work with The Right Step Dance Company is the variety it brings each day. The past year has been no exception to this. Teaching all over Kent and Medway, I’ve covered thousands of miles, planned hundreds of classes and had a wonderful time sharing my love of dance and movement with hundreds of class participants for another year. 

Flicking through my diary, I’ve been reminded of some of the new schools and care homes I’ve visited this year amongst my regular classes. I’ve been teaching for The Right Step Dance Company for over 5 years, and whilst there are new classes and ‘one off’ sessions happening all the time, I have some brilliant regular classes too.  One of my longest running classes is the Friday afternoon Dance Club at Byron Primary School. I wrote a blog post (read it HERE) about their Dance club earlier in the year after their fantastic Summer Term. Often we get to see the development and enjoyment children have in their dance classes, but there isn’t always a show or opportunity to share the brilliant work the children have achieved. To overcome this, we decided to film the last class of term so they could share their achievements and experiences. I was so pleased to have been able to put this video together for the Dance Club participants at Byron Primary.

Another filming day, and definite highlight of my year, would have to be the BBC Filming Day at Hale Place Care Home. We were honoured and utterly thrilled to have been asked to be part of the filming as one of the home’s favourite activities. We continually see the positive impacts of Active Armchairs, but when others can really see and feel the benefits of the classes too and wave the Active Armchairs flag of joy it’s a brilliant feeling! Myself and Rebecca had a wonderful morning with the residents and carers, and I think its fair to say we both left that morning with big smiles on our faces!  Hale Place was a relatively new class for me at the time, and has now become one of my regular weekly classes. I have loved getting to know the residents even better over the past year, and look forward to another year of dancing and singing with everyone.

There have been great team moments throughout the year too, with our twice yearly All Hands Meetings and training sessions. We usually find ourselves teaching alone, so having the opportunity to meet with others teachers on the team at All Hands meetings means we can share experiences and advice. It’s also just a lovely opportunity to have a good catch up over a cup of tea and some biscuits!  We often have training within these meetings, and in our most recent one we had a session with confidence coach Andrea Barker.  The session was not only a great team bonding experience, but also enabled us to take strategies away to implement into our practice.  Catch us striking our power pose below!

I really enjoy the opportunity to work with other TRS teachers, and as a Level 3 TRS Teacher, I had the opportunity to mentor one of our newer teachers to the team this year.  When teachers join me in my classes for training, I love to share experiences and tips so it’s been great to be able to focus this into a mentoring process.  I know myself I find it very beneficial to be observed, and to share teaching practices with other teachers, so combing this with my experiences as a freelancer made for a great first mentoring experience.

As I reflect upon the year, It’s very hard to pin point a few favourite moments, as in all honesty every day and every class brings something magic. I mentioned the notion of ‘Magic Moments’ and how we capture them in classes in an All Hands meeting a few years ago and it has since become a wonderful way to share these little snippets of joy with everyone.  There are plenty of Magic Moment quotes to be found on TRS social media; Whether it’s a comment about the participants class experience, a child that expresses their enjoyment and pride at learning a new dance step, the older adult that taps along to the music for the first time or feedback from a teacher/carer about how a participants response is a breakthrough….we are so lucky to be a part of so much magical! Here are two of my most recent Magic Moments. 

“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

“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

As the final school term of the year approaches, and I begin to think about Christmas classes and plans for the new terms in 2019 (!) I find myself feeling very grateful for having another great year of classes and experiences with the Company.  This year especially seems to have flown by…but maybe that’s because I’ve just been having too much fun dancing!

Related Images:

Partnership

by

Written by Georgie Tedora, owner of The Right Step, South Kent, TRS Teacher and Active Armchairs Facilitator.

For the past 2 weeks we have been celebrating the Age of Creativity Festival. We know what this is, but perhaps you don’t? To give you a better idea here’s what Age UK said:

“The Age of Creativity provides leadership, profile, advocacy and infrastructure development for everyone who believes in the value of creativity for older people. Established in 2012 with funding from the Baring Foundation, the project aims to support professionals working in arts, health, culture, social care, academia, voluntary and community sectors to enable more older people to take part creative activities and enjoy improved health, wellbeing and quality of life.”

This year’s festival theme is partnership, TRS already do so much involving this, but we thought we’d go even further in celebration of the festival! More about what we did during the festival later. 

So, let’s start off with the basics….

What is partnership? To different people this can mean different things. It could be a spouse, it could be business partner, or even your ‘partner in crime’. To us partnership is one of the key aspects of The Right Step Dance Company. Just by going through some testimonials from participants, teachers and observers I have picked out so many words which all relate to partnership:

The Right Step Dance Company states in it’s executive summary that TRS “links companies, dance artists and participants, taking on administration and building relationships with those who love dance.” We are always looking to create new partnerships within our company. Creating these links allows this to happen. This has even passed onto our TRS teachers. When asked what partnership means to them here’s what some had to say:

“Working, thinking and creating together” – Georgia

“Partnership is working and communicating with one another or others in the community. This could be local, global or international.” – Becca G

“Working together to create opportunities together. Partnership is key in all aspects of life!” Georgie

Like I said, TRS use partnership on a daily basis, ever since the start. Here are some blasts from the Past that give some great examples of partnership in action!

Hale Place Care Solutions, Active Armchairs with Steph on BBC Filiming day

Age UK Folkestone, Active Armchairs with Alice on the very first day of classes for The Right Step South Kent

Montgomery Court, Social Dance with Georgie, John and Doff enjoying themselves

And here’s another great example of encouraging partnership within our classes:

“My favourite story is one you’ve all heard before… when a participant joined the circle at Valley View because I used the giant elastic. It was the first time she left her table to join the circle for me!” Rebecca Ashton, Company Director talking to TRS Teachers

TRS have always been able to understand the importance of partners within our Active Armchairs classes, avoiding the social isolation that can sadly occur for older adults. This is why we encourage all participants to join in our sessions, and for those who would prefer one-to-one within their own space, we offer that too. One to one still involves the contact and social aspects just on a smaller scale. Partnerships can be and are created anywhere and everywhere. Which is where the next part of the blog comes in…

For the past two weeks the TRS Teachers have been focusing on the theme of Partnership, and it’s even spread onto our schools classes too:

With partnership in mind, I’ve been tying my scarves together in Active Armchairs this week. It unites the group as we shake and wiggle and makes a for a great game of tug of war! Steph

“At Durland House we I asked the participants what partnership meant to them, and almost at the same time they all said ‘togetherness!’ We then had a fun game of the egg and spoon, encouraging team work, balance and focus. They were so good I thought I’d make it a little harder by using plastic balls too!’’ Georgie

“I am working on partnership with my reception class this week. They are very young and new to a dance class environment so I thought something simple like mirroring our partners movements and traveling across the space together in different ways would be a good idea to get them comfortable in the space and with each other.” Georgia at Burham Primary School

“At Hoo Primary we discussed partnership and what the word meant to the children. We also explored how people would work in partnership in a Circus (as that’s this terms theme). The two keywords that came up were Trust and Team Work. So we experimented with ways to use these two themes with the circus in mind and had lots of supportive movements and balances on the tight rope! We also had some very funny clowns who were working well as a team to make sure that no one dropped their imaginary juggling balls! We’ve added these into our Greatest Showman Dance” Steph

“We often finish a session with a mini meditation as part of our cool down to help centre ourselves and calm down from all of the excitement of dance so we can go home calmly and safely. Yesterday we did it holding hands to help calm each other. Wrotham Road” Alice

“Our theme at Hoo this term has been superheroes! We have been working in partners and the children had to pick a superhero each and create movements that fit the superheroes character. We then joined 2 partners up with each other to create longer dances and bigger teams together!” Becca G

“At Mereworth we have been doing street dance this term. We end the sessions with a team huddle up and shout ‘’Street Crew!’’ We have also worked on some secret handshakes (which aren’t so secret) to coincide with the partnership them which turned out so good that we added them onto our routine!” Georgie

Age of creativity festival has really allowed us to explore and expand our partnerships even further. We are looking forward to next year’s festival to see what that theme brings to our team!

Related Images:

Magic Moments! Sept 2018

by

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!

Related Images:

Healthy Weight Summit

by

Yesterday A Better Medway held the 2018 Healthy Weight Summit and I went along with TRS Teacher and franchise owner, Georgie, to find out more.

The day opened with a speech by Councillor David Brake who talked about helping our community achieve a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet and be more active. He talked about our collective wisdom and said we would be “Working together to support Medway residents to adopt healthier lifestyles and achieve a healthy weight.”

The together theme continued and the thing that has struck me most about the day is that the people there want to work in partnership, build connections and network. Why wouldn’t they, together we can do more than one individual. This ties in really well with The Right Step’s plans for the next month as we get involved with the Age of Creativity Festival. For 2018 their focus is partnership. It’s more than a co-incidence that partnership seems to be the buzz word when talking about weight as well as when discussing arts. Partnership is the way forward, with cuts taking place across the country, the only way to make things happen is to utilize the resources and skills that are already out there. The people are out there and we’re going to find them!

20180925_103119After Councillor Brake, Scott Elliot, Head of Health and Wellbeing Services and, in my opinion, a driving force when it comes to getting Medway healthy and active, talked about what has happened in the year since the last Healthy Weight Summit. He discussed how trends in obesity in Medway are relatively static and similar or slightly above average in comparison to the rest of the country.

20180925_105548The thing that shocked us most though was information found in the following graph. I took a photo of the slide so it may not be clear, but the graph suggests that 63.3% of adults are inactive in the UK. I Tweeted whilst there and found out that this includes adults up to the age of 65. Since then I have also spoken to Scott and have discovered that the drop in activity around 65 / 70 years old is huge, he compared it to a a cliff edge and commented that this has something to do with retirement. We didn’t go into further detail at the time, but this is interesting to me due to our work with older adults and older frail adults. I’m sure the Active Armchairs Facilitators would agree with me, we see the inactivity and we see why regularly. See our Twitter feed for more about this.

I hadn’t realised how many brilliant initiatives are already taking place in Medway and still, new ideas are being developed. These include the Health Walks, cycling groups and, of course, the Better Medway Champions.

The reality is, we are all part of the solution. Scott Elliot

I was especially interested in what Penny Lazell, Physical Activity Nurse Clinical Champion about health professionals delivering the message of the importance of physical activity for wellbeing. She has a long road ahead of her, but it sounds like a great initiative. Physical Activity is a large part of personal wellbeing and it’s important to get this message out in hospitals. Even the smallest movement counts and activity is different for every person, but it is still key.

20180925_111331

 

James Williams, Director for Public Health also spoke. He inspired everyone to go out there and get things done and said it’s “an equalities plan, not all about obesity.” He means that we need to look at all the parts of the jigsaw puzzle that is health (another theme of the day!).

 

20151123_110539At The Right Step we are well aware of the importance of partnership, we are a team of community dance practitioners who work together to do more than any individual could. That is who we are. We also see how dance can be a bridge between arts and sport and therefore is an excellent medium for improving health and wellbeing.

We are always developing though and, moving forward, the summit has encouraged me to look deeper into the type of partnerships we make outside of The Right Step. We work with many schools and care homes, but how else can we partner in order to take dance to more places? This is something for me to explore. For now, I can share some of the work we already have with regards to dance, fitness and weight. Here is a link to all of our blog posts about health and wellbeing…
http://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/category/health-and-wellbeing/ 
We will be discussing all of these things in our next All Hands Meeting (a meeting for all the TRS Teachers that is held twice a year) and we will be speaking to Scott further about how we can reach more of the right people.

I will end with a quote from Scott. I met with him this morning (less than 24 hours after the very busy summit!) and asked him about his thoughts on partnership.

It’s the informalities of partnership and networking that makes them what they are. My quote about partnership would be taken from M Riley who said ‘Start somewhere, follow them everywhere.’ Problems are only going to be solved by working together and we will improve social isolation, community engagement and everything that overlaps. That is why this agenda is such a passion for me.

 

Related Images:

Reflections at Byron Primary

by

As we move into the 9th year of dance at Byron Primary School (yes we have been visiting them for breakfast and after school clubs for 8 years already!), Steph reflects on her time there last year and talks about the video performance!

Blog post written by Steph, TRS Teacher of The Year 2017, Level Three TRS Teacher and Level Two Active Armchairs Facilitator.

 

As the new term starts for Schools this week and planning is in full swing, it’s always nice to reflect on previous work.

I have been leading the after school Dance and Cheerleading club at Byron Primary for the past four years, and we’re about to go into our fifth year Dancing fun!  Byron Primary dedicate their Friday afternoons to clubs, and we at TRS love to be a part of their programme.  Over the past four years I have taught many of the Children across both Key Stage One and Key Stage Two and have had the pleasure of many of those returning each term. We have covered lots of different genres from Bollywood to Creative Dance, Showstoppers to Street Dance and most recently Cheerleading.

IMG-20180728-WA0003Cheerleading is always a fun, vibrant and popular class!  Children love to shake, wiggle and learn new skills…and when you add sparkly pom poms into that equation the excitement and smiles on the participants faces say it all.  The children at Byron Primary had 12 weeks of Cheerleading for the Summer term and in that time picked up lots of new skills, learnt and danced three different routines (!) and made up their own cheer motions.  They were an absolute pleasure to teach, always running into class to tell me they had been practicing at home and eager to share their ideas for new creative moves to add into our routines.

One of the most poignant moments that stands out for me when I reflect on the last term is the strength in team work from the students.  Aside from attending the same school, quite often the children do not know each other very well at the start of a dance club as they may be in different classes or year groups entirely.  It is wonderful to watch them grow in confidence and see friendships develop and flourish over the term.  The children at Byron became a truly strong team over the weeks and by the end of term they were supporting each other throughout the class.  And they did all of this with a smile on their faces!

IMG-20180728-WA0001In the last class of term I filmed their most recent dance routine so the children could watch themselves.  Standing at the front of hall, I always have the pleasure of seeing their hard work, smiling faces and fabulous moves so it’s really great when we can show the children what we get to see.  After lots of giggles, and ‘oooos’ and ‘ahhhhs’ from the children I think it’s fair to say that they enjoyed watching themselves back.  You can take a look at some of the things we got up to in our video here:

I cant wait to return for my fifth year of Dance Clubs at Byron Primary and meet some new participants as well as seeing returning Dancers.

Here’s the video from last term!

Related Images:

School’s Summer Shows!

by

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.

 

Related Images:

Dance in The Dockyard

by

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!

IMG_1177

 

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.

IMG_1118

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!

Related Images:

Spring Time, Show Time!

by

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!”

the-lion-king-image-2

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:

_img

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.

download (1)

 

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.

FC93621F

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!

super-heroes-trivia-category-comic-trivia-night

Related Images:

What’s in the teacher’s bag…?

by

By Georgie

What’s in a TRS teacher’s bag? Or Many Bags? Or cars?!

Around a year ago, Steph did a lovely blog about ‘prop’s in the car!’ This year, we have more teachers, therefore more props and who knows what in the car! Which is why I thought we’d give you a sneak peak into a TRS teachers car….

We got the teachers to send us photos of their very busy cars. If you have ever been a passenger in a dance teachers car you’ll know that it’s a jungle in there! Trying to squeeze between pompoms, feathers, balls, bean bags, hula hoops and so much more!

So what exactly do we have in our cars?

We created a ‘general list’ here for you:

  • Our favourite props – these are our go-to props. You maybe called to cover on short notice and you never know what or who you maybe teaching.
  • Speakers – essential for any dance teacher!
  • Spare clothes/shoes.
  • Hair ties – you always get the ones that break at the most inconvenient times!
  • Water – after all, it’s very thirsty work. Not just one bottle, often a large stash of water!
  • First aid kit
  • Food – yes, we get very hungry! And you can often spot us parked up in the car enjoying a spot of lunch! Who has time to go into a café?!
  • And due to the above… perhaps a lot of empty food wrappers! *pulls embarrassed face*
  • Notebooks and pens (basically we could put any stationary store to shame!)
  • Diary… wait… DIARIES.
  • TRS Teacher pack!
  • Laptops

And, if you are also like me… I have a few added extra’s in my car:

  • TRS Promotion Banner
  • Wellies, not just for the weather… great for gumboot dancing!
  • Boot Organiser (this has been a life saver!)
  • Merchandise… just think of me as the TRS postman, well postwoman.
  • BIN! Yes, as mentioned above, I got a bit tired of having a messy car… so I purchased a bin.

We are always on the go, so we basically live in our cars, and our work does too! But we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Maybe there’s a few extra you can think of? Let us know! And on the plus side, we can never get bored with all of these wonderful, colourful props to play with!

Props Collage

 

 

Related Images:

Sharing Is Caring

by

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!

 

 

 

 

Related Images:

1 2 3 4 5