Pyramid Schools Dance Festival…

Well, what a wonderful showcase of dance performances from all ages. Group pieces were so much fun to watch and the solos showed great skill! The A level pieces from Shelley College students were of a high standard and something wonderful for my young dancers to aspire to! Many thanks to the Shelley Pyramid Schools Partnership for organising a great event, and we look forward to performing again next year!

I was so proud of all my dancers and you can click this photo to see the video of bits of the performances.

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You can read a little about the rehearsals here too.

Well done to all who performed and thanks to the parents for your continued support and encouragement in bringing the children to rehearsals and events.

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Piano Time…

We are celebrating another exam success today. Freya is just 8 and took her first LCM Piano exam recently. Passing with a Distinction and wonderful feedback, I chatted to her about the process.

Out of the 4 main pieces, she enjoyed playing ‘Lord of The Dance’ the most. This surprised me as this was the one piece Freya battled with. In the few weeks running up to the exam she pulled out all the stops and it was lovely to hear her play it with confidence. When I asked her about it she said…

“It makes me smile. It wasn’t easy at first, but because I had to work hard on it I feel proud of myself. “

The practice process is always hard with everyone being so busy these days. The kids seem to have busier social lives than me! But I asked Freya about when she practices and this is what she told me…

“I played the harder pieces first so that when I was practicing, it felt like it got easier.”

I had never though about it this way but it’s a really interesting way of approaching practice times. I love learning from my students!

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So well done Freya and well done all those who have worked hard towards exams this year. Enjoy playing some Christmassy tunes now 🙂

 

 

When I Dance…

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So as you know I run a dance and gentle exercise class for people who find themselves with restricted movement and limited mobility. Have a quick read here...

This class brings me so much joy and it’s lead to working with other groups of a similar nature, for example Aspire and Jubilee Friends. One of the class members brought to my attention a competition run by ParkinsonsUK called When I Dance.

“The When I Dance competition raises awareness of Parkinson’s by bringing together dance communities of all backgrounds and abilities.” (whenidance.uk)

The premise to is create a video showing how dance makes us feel. I’ve always loved to dance, whether that be en pointe in my classical tutu or throwing some shapes at a friends birthday party! Dance, for me communicates what’s on the inside, the real person and all the different facets that make them who they are. I thrive on giving others that opportunity to feel such freedom regardless of age or ability.

On a side note I recently attended and Ariel Hoop dance class at Yorkshire Dance. Can’t tell you how much I wished I lived closer to the venue. It was so much fun!…But it was the slogen above, that was written on the windows that caught my eye. It’s so true…every ‘body’ can dance and move in some way. Any movement is good movement, and in turn there’s an outworking of something positive, physically and emotionally.

So, with all that said…please go and look at our video and see just how dance makes us feel. And if you like it, why not share it and raise awareness for all those who find themselves in a similar position.

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Dance Club Fun…

So we hit the floor running in September and there have been lots of exciting things happening in my work schedule! Keep a check on some posts to come for all the details.

Two of my dance clubs are working hard towards a performance at Shelley College in a couple of weeks. I’m hoping to get a good video of the show. Organised by Shelley Pyramid Schools Partnership, schools in the local area come together to show their talents and performances they have been working on. It’s a great opportunity for the children. Have a look at our rehearsal pictures.

Denby Dale First and Nursery School have been learning how different dance shoes produce a different style of dance and with a medley of songs from Country to Rock, Musical Theatre to Pop it’s proved to be lots of fun.

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Shelley First Dance Club will be bringing a ghouly dance where the Ghostbusters find themselves surrounded by lots of naughty white ghosts! Who ya gonna call???

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We are all looking forward to the show! We hope you enjoy it if you manage to come and watch. Let us know what you think.

Jubilee Friends

So after finishing summer schools, and between visiting the group at Aspire recently, working with the Lifeline team, planning for the new term ahead, and a quick rest in Barcelona, I went to teach a gentle dance class at Jubilee Friends this weekend. They have an afternoon tea once a month with an activity planned to take part in, alongside a yummy spread of sandwiches and cake…I seem to get cake at every class I teach at the minute…bonus!!

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Some familiar faces and some new to my classes, took part in a steady dance class that involved some chair exercises and some at the barre. I had lovely afternoon and wished I could have stayed longer to chat…one lady told me she had performed on the stage for many years… I could have talked to her all day 🙂
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Another gentleman said he loved to come to the afternoon tea events run by Jubilee Friends as he likes the company and the social aspect of the day. It’s always an honour to be asked to take part in such events.

Summer Music Practice

The school holidays are drawing to a close and music lessons will be starting again soon. I don’t know about you but I love being able to switch off for a few weeks, jump off the madness of the strict routine and take a break from constantly clock watching. However, the rest, for me is good because now my creative brain is getting back into gear and ready for the new term to begin. I’ll hear a piece of music and subconsciously start choreographing to it. I’ll see an image while out and about and I’m instantly transported into a performance that can be worked towards. The brain space helps to restore my creative juices and I’m looking forward to all the different projects coming up again.

If your child will be starting back to their music lessons, here are a few tips to help them get back into the swing of practicing again if you’ve had a break…

  1. Buy a nice new note book just for your practice recordcolored_pencils_pencil_positive_notebook_picture_11032_3840x1200

  2. Remind yourself of the last pieces you were playingpiano_fingers_reflection_bw_by_jclossphoto-d341nyz (1)

  3. Go back few pieces and play through these as a warm upmusic-notes-clip-art-png-139835101453 (1)

  4. In the last couple of holiday weeks, set aside maybe two days p/w. List in your new note book the things you want to practice, or work on, in preparation for the new term.

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  5. Play just 10-15 minutes per practice session and tick off your list as you go. Practise slowly and in phrases, don’t worry about playing through whole pieces.25-horloges-au-design-surprenant-et-cool-quon-voudrait-bien-avoir-chez-soi-2 (1)

I hope you have had a lovely summer and are ready for lots of creativity and learning as we leave the “Summertime” behind and get ready for “Baby it’s Cold Outside”!

Lifeline Kirklees

This week I worked with the Lifeline Kirklees team.

The mornings session welcomed visitors to the Cellar Theatre within Lawrence Batley TheatreDecked out with bunting and tables around the outside, we had plenty of space in the centre for our tea dance. I chose Pink Panther by Erick Alfaro for the smooth gliding movements of the Foxtrot, and the uptempo Olly Murs version of Dance With Me Tonight for an energetic Jive. Adapted slightly for non partner work the team and those attending the session joined in and looked wonderful from where I stood! One lovely couple put me to shame at the end as they took the dance floor and showed us how it’s really done. Was wonderful to watch! 

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Yummy cakes and tea were served afterwards as we chatted with Creedence Clearwater and Nancy Sinatra playing in the background. 

The team do some amazing work with members of the community who may need their help and I was honoured to be asked to be part of the mornings events. Thank you!

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Music for Youth 2016!

feedbackI can’t believe how quickly Nationals came around again! Little Voices got some lovely positive feedback from the Regional Festival and we were invited to Nationals for the 2nd year running. New set list, some new members and of course I had to make a new dress for me! HYS Juniors joined us this year too, so it was double the fun!

The Juniors’ set list included When I Grow Up from Matilda with some gorgeous solos from four members of the group, and a very emotional performance of True Colours. Little Voices sang songs with an ‘around the world’ theme. Saying Hello Around The World was written by yours truly with a musical theatre feel, and my clever little people sang the Rainbow Song in French! Must admit I had a little moment whilst watching them as they unfolded a huge fabric rainbow to finish the set, and singing so sweetly. I was so proud of both choirs.

Music for Youth is an amazing event, and the Fringe Festival is open to all musical groups even if they weren’t invited to perform on one of the main stages, so no one is left out.fringeOur day saw us perform on the magnificent Symphony Hall stage, trot over in convoy to the wonderful Town Hall acoustics for the Juniors, and then back to the middle of the two to sing once again in the fringe tents! We definitely made the most of the day.

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I can’t thank all the parents that came as chaperones enough for their help and being able to give of their time. Our pianist Richard Nimmo was amazing too, and without James and Jo Lewis there would be no choir at all! I’m honoured to be part of such a fantastic team.

Come on Albert Hall…you know you want us! 🙂

Tonight we had our end of year concert where the Little Voices, Juniors and Seniors of Huddersfield Young Singers performed for a full audience. Well done to everyone for a very musically successful year!

 

Creative Week. Act 1

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Projects like these come at the top of my favourites list. Shelley First School have a ‘Creative Week’ once a year. Every class explores the same theme, accessing it through a variety of creative subjects. Artists come into the school and spend time with groups of children to produce huge montages and sculptures. Musicians help them explore sound, rhythm and instrumentation. Gardening experts take the children into the magical world of Forest School, building fairy dens and secret hiding places for adventures. Last year I ran some dance workshops on various themes from the Rainforest and Chinese New Year to the Samurai and Kings and Queens. This years theme is SPACE!

In key stage 1 we looked at the exciting story of Space Dog , and a day in the life of an astronaut, and how to use dance to portray the different characters and how they move in zero gravity.

The workshops for key stage 2 children became more experimental. I gave them the starting points and the skills to develop and they created the most amazing pieces that explored the nature of our solar system, its planets and the universe beyond. I was blown away by their imagination, diverse creativity and the way they worked so well together.

In the current education system, so often I find myself defending the importance of the arts and I will continue to do so! It’s so clear from my time on projects like these how beneficial the arts and media subjects are to so many children. It’s refreshing when schools encourage it and even take time away from extremely intense schedules to nurture the children’s learning in different ways. It’s been my pleasure to work with the staff and children at Shelley First School.

 

Twisted Fairy Tales…

Most schools run some kind of residential programme for their students, but sometimes, for various reasons not all will attend. So instead of pitching tents in a field by the river, as a small group of actors, dancers and performing arts teachers we set about developing some fun workshops for those students staying in sunny Halifax!

I’m sure we all have a favourite traditional Brothers Grimm story. Over the couple of days we looked at these stories from a few different angles…

What if Goldilocks had disturbed a burglar already in the bears house?

What if Hansel and Gretal were allergic to sugar?

What if Little Red Riding Hood wore a Hoodie?!!

What if Rapunzel tweeted that there was a party at her tower?!

We had fun exploring these old stories and putting a modern day twist on them. Using drama skills, popular music, dance and media technology the young people devised performances to be proud of. Jack Frost cursed Elsa with her powers and they declared war on each other, fighting with their armies of Marvel characters, Harry Potter’s friends and Dr Who!… you had to be there 🙂

Ryburn

Ryburn Valley High School is a fantastic school and sixth form college. Their core purpose is to “inspire young people with a love of learning, a zest for life and a genuine confidence to excel in a colourful world.” It was my pleasure to be part of the programme this week. Triestina Bozzo is the Director of Personal Learning and Creative Development and alongside her many other roles within the school, produces a range of performances, workshop programmes, open evenings and awards events that give students the opportunity to showcase their achievements throughout all areas of the school. Scenes from season 2 of Happy Valley were filmed at the school last year too! I love working with her!

Thank you Ryburn for a great few days!