St Joseph's Year 1 & 2 Topic Dance Courses-Spring Term 2

WOW! The two classes were fantastic in this weeks class.

Nocturnal Animals
Year 1 worked on the basic rhythm of the ballroom dance Tango before developing this beat into travelling steps and then partner work. There were lots of dramatic face expressions and head flicks!
The Tango will be the focus of Phrase 1 for our dance as the group enter the performing area in partners.
*1 2 3 4 5
*slow slow quick quick slow
*big big, small small big
Next week the children will concentrate on further details of hand and finger positioning and the important entrance of the Nocturnal Animals before learning the Paso Doble… let the hunting begin!
Seasons of a Tree
Year 2 developed their seasonal woodland tree poses in four groups and worked on the first two dance styles of Spring and Summer. (Updated choreography videos below)
We worked on the routines as a whole class but the Spring and Summer seasons were given the opportunity to show their routines in their smaller  groups. Lots of lovely feedback from the rest of the class.
Next week will focus on the Modern Dance and Hip-Hop routines for the Autumn and Winter groups.

Week 2

The classes missed their dance sessions last week due to the snow closing the schools so we have a lot to catch up on! Choreography videos will be available week commencing March 12th if your child would like to continue practising at home.

Year 1
Nocturnal Animals
This week the class will be allocated their animal groups and be given a corresponding mask to use during the class. The children will be learning the basic beats and steps of the Tango and Paso Doble including . I chose these two dance genres as they have a ‘stalking’ and ‘dramatic’ dynamic which work well together.

Phrase 1-The Animals Entrance-‘Hernando’s Hideaway’-Tango Ballroom
Phrase 2-The Hunt-‘Spanish Gypsy Dance’

Year 2
Seasons of a Tree
The class will be developing four ‘tree’ poses representing the different seasons which will lead into four separate dances and music which characterise each season and offer a variety of styles.

Phrase 1-Tree Poses
Phrase 2-Spring-‘Singing in the Rain’ by Gene Kelly-Musical Theatre
Phrase 3-Summer-‘Surfin’ USA’ by The Beach Boys/Hand Jive
Phrase 4-Autumn-‘Autumn Leaves’ by Eva Cassidy/Jazz
Phrase 5-Winter-‘Winter things’ by Ariane Grande/Hip-Hop

Ideas from the children-Week 1

Our first step towards creating a Class Topic Dance  piece is collating the ideas and knowledge from the children and inspiring them to look forward to the next class and the course. Great ideas for us to develop into actions, stories and dance phrases next week.

Year 1-Nocturnal Animals- Wolf, Bat, Rabbit, Owl, Hedgehog, Mouse, Fox and Badger

What is a nocturnal animal
Why do they come out at night
What do they eat
What is important to these animals
How do they move and sound

Year 2-The Life of a Tree- Seasons


Week 5 & Performance Morning


The students in Reception and Year 1 enjoyed the experience of creating and presenting an expressive movement routine inspired by their class topics and were proud to perform the routines to their parents and teachers.  The children were focused throughout the course and looked forward to each class.

Confidence building, active, physical warm up games started each session. The class topics were explored through storytelling, art, discussion and improvisation. Movement and pose ideas were developed and compiled for a series of phrases taught, filmed and refined over the five weeks. The course concluded with a performance to parents and trophies for special achievements.
The routines were solo steps with no partner work included. The sequences used a chair for each individual with myself demonstrating the routine in front of the group during the performance. This instilled confidence in the children and a higher standard of dance. The same effort was expected of all the students.

The music choices were backing tracks with a repetitive beat and subtle variations to assist the understanding, flow and rhythm of the piece.

By the end of the course:

  • the children were encouraged to participate and enjoy dance as a physical activity
  • the children began to understand the benefits of a regular fitness activity
  • the children understood the creative process we used to create our unique, expressive dance piece
  • the children used a variety of dynamics and shapes, from staccato phrases into fluid, legato phrases and explored the power of stillness within dance
  • the children were able to describe the meaning and language of individual moves and phrases
  • the children began to remember and repeat actions with increasing control and coordination
  • the children developed more awareness of space and direction using the chair as the central point
  • the children were introduced to an exciting choreography style


Week 4

Last week was the best week so far. Both classes were completely focused and really pleased with their routines. They understand the process we have gone through to develop these sequences and can name every move and their meanings. They all asked to do it again and again. I cannot ask for more.
They are also excited about performing the routines to their friends and the school next week!

Unfortunately I was not able to film the updated videos in a lovely big hall so occasionally my head or an arm is missing as I work around the space in my little cottage. But, the children will understand!

Week 3

During week three of the five week course each class were taught a series of moves and poses developing each sequence. Videos below show the initial ideas which will be developed and added to next week.
This is a unique opportunity for young students to develop their individual ideas into a unique piece of movement. It doesn’t matter if the audience understands the dance or not, enjoy the moves and interpret how you want to.

Expressive dance meaning: Expressive dancers should have the ability to show empathy with the mood or meaning of the dance and be able to interpret and communicate this.

Both tracks are available on Spotify.
Reception Class
*Sing-Karaoke Moment Extended Originally Performed by Ed Sheeran & Pharrell Williams / Jim E.Carter
Year 1
*Shape of You (Karaoke Version) Originally performed by Ed Sheeran / Karaoke Station

Class topic contemporary dance courses

Reception Class and Year 1 Class at St Josephs have been gradually developing ideas and emotions inspired by their class topic. Last week we focused on a group brainstorm and this week the initial ideas have been developed into moves and poses, including facial expressions. Next week the classes will be gradually learning the sequences and choreography videos will be available from Friday 27th so your child can continue practising at home, if they choose to.
To see what we have been up to so far …..

999-Reception class brainstorm ideas
Phrase 1
POLICE, arrest naughty people, bars/jail/cell, escaping, burglars, help people, lost, handcuffs
Phrase 2
AMBULANCE, Hurt, bandages, poorly or sick, medicine
Phrase 3
FIRE BRIGADE, fire, house, hose/water, cats in trees, ladders
Phrase 4
FEELINGS, Sad, angry, scared, worried

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE! Year 1 brainstorm ideas
Phrase 1
Not listening, naughty step, breaking things, lying, sent to bed
Phrase 2
Grass, flowers, vines, trees, bugs
Phrase 3
Sailing, water, island
Phrase 4
Wild Things, Scary, Sharp claws and teeth, Yellow eyes, naughty
Phrase 5
Max is King, Max dances with Wild Things, Max sends them to bed, Max misses his mum, sad
Phrase 6
Sails home
Phrase 7
Max’s dinner is still hot, happy

Chair Dance Choreography is a dynamic dance form which uses the chair as the central point for the choreography. It is used for storytelling, fitness classes, dance and drama exams, people in wheelchairs who love to dance and modern dance pieces. The chair creates new and interesting movement opportunities.

‘Rosas Danst Rosas’ by choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker is a modern chair dance routine. The dance is a powerful and gripping sequence. The dancers sit on chairs which are arranged facing the same direction. The dancing is powerful, sharp and compelling as they repeat a simple motif to create polyrhythmic patterns by speeding up, slowing down and repeating elements of the main movement motif. The movement is dynamic with sudden strong gestures mixed with pauses, breaks and moments of letting go as they relax and then whip back. I found it mesmerising.

Inspired by this modern dance piece I decided to incorporate a choreographed chair sequence into a ‘Matilda’ musical theatre workshop in 2016. Small groups brainstormed their feelings and thoughts on ‘A day at school’ which were used to influenced and create a series of movement phrases. The groups performed the sequence alternately to a repetitive beat. This turned into one of the most enjoyable parts of the children’s, and the Dazzle teams, experience. One child developed her own routine for a school show.

I am returning to this dance form as I work with the KS1 students at St Josephs in Nympsfield on their Contemporary Dance Courses.  ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and ‘999’ are the class topics and we are working together on these themes over five weeks to produce two routines using chairography to be performed to the school on the final week. We will be working on rhythm, beats and working together as a team. We will be exploring isolated, detailed poses and moves, the importance and power of stillness within dance, how we can vary our moves using a chair and the transitions between each move or pose. I love challenging the children but also challenging myself.


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