New year new (dance) lessons!

Happy 2014 to everyone and I hope you are feeling as refreshed and wonderful as we are!

Firstly, I'd like to say how brilliant the students were in their show/demonstration at the end of 2013. Myself and Clara were very impressed at how natural the students were on stage - being in front of an audience didn't seem to phase them in the slightest. We had no idea what to expect from them with regards nervousness/ stage fright, so we were so pleasantly surprised!

This year we have lots of exciting plans! I have prepared some lessons in sock puppet making and creating stories, mime workshops, juggling workshops and starting yesterday there are now lessons in dance.

I see the dance lessons as an opportunity for the students to-

 1) learn new skills, such as rhythm, co-ordination, basic dance moves
 2) develop confidence and social skills
 3) develop self-expression and communication using the medium of the body
 4) create stories through movement

With an emphasis on dance for musical theatre (as that's what I have most experience in) lessons are divided into three sections.

Warm up  - warm-ups are so important in ensuring the body is prepared for the lesson's content and to lessen the chances of injuring oneself. We spend 20 minutes doing a general warm-up, making sure all body parts are included in the exercises and stretches. The last 5 minutes will show an introduction to the lesson's specific steps.

Games -  who knew there were so many dance games you could play with children? :)  For this 20 minutes, the children have fun with dance, and get to create. They will dance solo or in pairs or groups to the rest of the class, and they will have the opportunity to lead their own routines or create their own choreographies.
Example of games are musical statues (they freeze when the music stops), who is the leader? (in a circle one person leads movements and the rest follow very closely without looking directly at the person, another student who waits outside then comes in and has to guess who is leading), and silly dances to silly music (students take it in turns either solo or with a partner to cross the room doing a silly dance, accompanied by humorous music). More creative activities include 'beginning middle end' in which a 20 second piece of music is played and they create a mini choreography to it, which tells a story with a clear beginning, middle and end. Also, 'the labyrinth' takes a piece of science fiction music and in pairs students create a short routine showing themselves moving through a labyrinth and the various obstacles they encounter - these exercises really encourage thoughtful response to music and how it makes them feel.

Choreography - we recap some moves and then make a choreography. Yesterday we did the box step, chasse, and started learning the pirouette (this will take a few weeks). We then danced to 'Step in time' from Mary Poppins using our new moves and more!

We both look forward to what 2014 brings us and will continue to make the most of working with the children of Jaszbereny!