Author Archives: Leanne
We’ve looked at ballet, tap and theatre, freestyle and jazz, today we look at Contemporary – which is a slightly different style to the previous. As we moved into freestyle which offered scope for personal expression, contemporary and lyrical is all about individuality.
Any form of dance helps develops creativity and creative thinking, but especially so this more free form of dance. Contemporary and lyrical is more free form, focusing on self expression as opposed to rigid technique and so is a great class to try. It will benefit all children – regardless of what they want to do with their dance as they get older – creativity is valued in all careers
There is a lot of talk about the impact of stress on children – dance will help develop healthier kids. Contemporary dance teaches and encourages dancers to access their emotions and express them, translating them into physical motions. Happiness, anger, loneliness, hurt – all can be expressed without words. Dance also releases endorphins as a result of exercise – helping boost happiness.
As mentioned – this is not a rigid technique class – it is about accessing emotions and using physical conditioning and training to express them. This gives a sense of empowerment to children – allowing them to have a unique voice. Its great for children or students who are shy or have concerns about participating due to a disability as its all about them – their body, their feelings, and their expression
Contemporary and lyrical is a very flexible form of dance that values individuality. It develops poise, confidence, emotional stability, creativity and physical fitness. We run our classes Wednesdays at 5:15 at the Church of the Ascension, Kenton for all over 8 years old. Please see more information about the class here and our timetable is here.
For younger dancers we have classes Mondays and Wednesdays in Ballet, and Freestyle and Jazz or for preschool – check out our programme here.
Happy Freestyle Friday – how are you jazzing up your day!! Next up on our blog is the benefits of taking part in Freestyle and Jazz classes. This is a different branch of dance to ballet, tap and theatre.
High energy classes
While other forms of dance do require a lot of work – freestyle and jazz incorporates a much great time of high energy work – the style itself – full of kicks, leaps, jumps, spins and movement around the floor, is very aerobic based.
It also requires great flexibility – especially as they progress in their work with splits both on the floor and in the air, as well as back bending being popular steps.
Dancers will greatly improve their fitness (and burn off lots of energy) at these classes.
Great for all to get involved.
This style has a few basic moves that are then accentuated with varying lines, positions, arm movements and body movements. A simple kick can be performed in so many ways. It is a great form of dance to allow your child to express themselves.
Working with other dancers
Freestyle and jazz has a few different elements – we create solos, duets, trios, team combinations, we do class work and of course performance pieces. So your child will be working alone, in small groups and big groups which is a great way to develop confidence and co-operation and team work.
Rhythm is key
Freestyle was born out of the popularity of Saturday Night Fever and the Disco era – young people and adults expressing themselves to popular music. Jazz has its routes in tap, street, cultural and free expression. Rhythm is the key – dance with the rhythm but do so with you own style
We’ve love for your dancer to be part of our dance family. React Dance Academy holds freestyle and jazz classes every Wednesday at Church of the Ascension, Kenton – please see our timetable for times (and speak to us about ages as these are suggested – we know each child is different). Then please contact us and we can send you more information.
For our pre-school ballet and dance programme (under 5 or nursery and preschool) please visit our dedicated preschool class website
Another form of dance that is at home on the stage is tap and theatre – we teach this as a combined class as there is a lot of overlap in rhythm and musicality – and both a featured greatly in musical theatre. To find out a little more – check out or blog on Tap and Theatre.
All can join in
Tap and theatre are a great class to try something different but that isn’t too complex. Of course there are certain steps and techniques but there is a bit more freedom and less strict guidelines that ballet for example.
Tap – the music and the dancer
In tap – not only do the steps form a dance – they create a beat – a noise – each movement with its own sound. It is an excellent way to develop musicality and rhythm. Tap dancing to music means finding beats and patterns – which is a great help to all other forms of dance and well as general musicality.
Designed to perform
Theatre dance is designed just for that reason – to be performed. So from the start we consider stage space, the layout, the directions, where the audience is. It is created to showcase the dance in the best way to those watching. It’s therefore fantastic for any dancer who wants to develop confidence in performing.
A brain work out too
Tap can get quite complex – the movements may all seem very similar and are confined to the legs and feet, but the variety of steps and indeed combinations is huge. Learning these, remembering these, and dancing these is a great way to help children develop thinking and memory skills.
We’ve love for your dancer to be part of our dance family. React Dance Academy holds tap and theatre classes every Monday at Church of the Ascension, Kenton at 5:15pm – please see our timetable for times (and speak to us about ages as these are suggested – we know each child is different). Then please contact us and we can send you more information. We highly recommend this class as a partner with our Youth Theatre programme which runs on a Thursday
For our pre-school ballet and dance (under 5 or nursery and preschool) please visit our dedicated preschool class website
So we’ve now covered all our classes and what’s happening this term such as our ballet blog here. To help you understand why we are so passionate about dance at React Dance Academy, the next few blogs will look at the benefits joining these classes would have for your child. There will always be over lap, but sometimes there are some specific benefits to each form of dance. Today we look at Ballet.
Ballet as a great foundation
Starting your child’s dance journey with ballet is an excellent way to ground them in good dance technique. It helps with almost all other forms of dance as there is so many parts to remember – posture, foot positions, arm positions that have been established and well recognised for years. Therefore taking ballet allows your child to focus on developing precise technique that will only help them whatever they choose to do with their dance careers – be it just for fun, dancing with the Scottish Ballet, or becoming a world famous hip hop dancer.
Ballet enhanced focus
You will notice a ballet class is quite disciplined and a lot more structured than other forms of dance. Almost all ballet classes follow the same format. The discipline required is also greater than in other more free flowing classes such as freestyle or lyrical. The precise nature of the dance form means students need to concentrate on several elements at once, while making it look effortless! Ballet dancers are excellent at this!
Controlling their body
Aside from the general dance benefits of improved co-ordination, flexibility, and so on. Ballet helps students focus on the precise control of movement – each step being deliberate and in a required position – looking at turnout at all times, posture, neckline, arm line. Students become better at controlling their body in motion and have an excellent balance.
Dance is a fantastic form of fitness – especially for children as it doesn’t seem to stop in the class room – they dance at home, at friends, in the park – make routines together. It’s fun and so isn’t work for them. Keeping children active is so important, and offering something that inspires them daily is a wonder of dance and ballet – the more they practice the stronger and more flexible they become!
As ballet has been around so long, the technique is well established – so achieving the steps, exercises and movements is a great way to develop a student’s confidence. Their self confidence increases – as does their happiness to perform – in groups and even solo. Confidence as they have developed strong skills and technique.
A bit of culture
A student in love with ballet will enjoy so many more cultural experiences – from listening to classical music in class and then falling in love with Tchaikovsky, watching the ballet on YouTube or at the theatre, learning about it’s history, reading new books and looking at art. It’s a great way to develop their cultural knowledge
Dance is a wonderful way to make friends – and ballet is no exception – the work that goes into team routines and performances, duets in class, feedback and creative expression means children and young people develop a “dance family” – those their to support them on their dance journey!
We’ve love for your dancer to be part of our dance family. React Dance Academy holds ballet classes every Monday at Church of the Ascension, Kenton – please see our timetable for times (and speak to us about ages as these are suggested – we know each child is different). Then please contact us and we can send you more information.
For our pre-school ballet (under 5 or nursery and preschool) please visit our dedicated preschool class website
Thank you all so much for a wonderful Intro week last week – we are so excited to get down to dancing now! So here is a brief overview of what is happening this term!
So we work as much as we can with school terms so we are on our half term break from ‘regular classes’ from October 23rd to 29th. But we will be confirming 3 workshops that week in the next couple of weeks.
So term has started properly and we are focusing on developing our technique. There may be lots of new words and phrases (some French) to learn, as well as practicing at home. Have patience – practice will help!
Half term workshops
- Monday 23rd October – Ballet and lyrical
- Wednesday 25th October – Modern Jazz and Street
- Thursday 26th October – Musical Mayhem – Play in an afternoon!
Christmas Showcase (times tbc)
- Run through rehearsal – all cast Saturday 9th December 11am to 1pm
- Dress rehearsal – all cast – Thursday 14th December 4pm to 6pm
- Show Day – Saturday 16th December – attendance from 1pm to 7pm. Shows at 2pm and 5pm
This first half of the term we will be working on technique – building our confidence with exercises, steps, and phrases. After half term we are in SHOWMODE!
Christmas will be here as we prepare for our “Christmas Memories” Christmas Tale – inspired by A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, The Grinch who stole Christmas, The Elves and the Shoemaker – filled with dance and christmas magic!
As mentioned – we’d love all dancers to have our leotard – two orders will be placed before they are required wear at our show (estimated prices £15-£20) so there is time to save or offer as a birthday present. Certain classes will requires shoes – ballet and tap especially, ideally all to have their own jazz shoes too
Order forms will be available at each class and via email – any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Attendance as often as possible is required for your dancer to get the most out of being part of our group, and also so they can keep up. Please do get in touch if regular attendance may be an issue!
Welcoming more dancers
We always love to welcome new dancers into our group – feel free to share your experiences with friends, on Facebook page, check in at class – the more dancers we have the better – they bring new ideas, energy, inspiration and friendship!
There are the many clear benefits of studying dance; reduced obesity risk, it is a fun way to exercise, maintain or gain a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and importantly helping to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
There is clinically significant evidence that children who participate actively in the performing arts (dance and theatre arts) spend less time sitting in front of a computer screen playing games and therefore are at less of a risk of developing health problems. Children who spend more than two hours a day on screen related pastimes are at a high risk of developing health issues, such as obesity.
Creativity is developed
Whilst dance is a good source of fun exercise for young children and a way to train physically for older children and teenagers, it is also a creative outlet. It is part of a balanced lifestyle – exercise and movement is important, and encouraged good nutrition, so is the chance to release creativity for the development of healthy children. Creativity is a key life skills they will learn.
Mental well being and confidence
Dancing can make a person (of any age) feel physically refreshed and improve their mood. This goes a long way to help prevent and also tackle serious issues including anxiety and depression. As fun as dancing in our bedrooms is, dancing with a team or group dancing is a tool to release daily stress, a distraction from everyday worries and an outlet for imagination and emotion. A chance to switch off from school and use our energy in a useful and creative way.
It’s not just adults that need to be concerned about their fitness and physical wellbeing. Dance has enormous benefits such as helping children develop a greater range of movement whilst developing the ability to work within different spaces. They learn to interpret the effect their movement has on the world around them. Dancing also improves a child’s co-ordination, especially at a time when they are rapidly developing in an ever-changing and evolving environment. Good co-ordination is vital in developing skills learned in other parts of life, such as learning to ride a bike and learning how to multitask successfully. Dance and movement patterns also develop kinaesthetic memory. It also develops strength and endurance from an early age. This creates a solid platform for the child’s physical development and level of fitness.
Young children are naturally active, however dancing makes use of more of these muscles and in turn develops the use of their bodies fully. Through the process of learning movement, children become more aware of their bodies and what they are capable of. They develop an understanding of what each muscle and limb can do; also building up the courage to experiment with movement and to push themselves to see what they can achieve with their own bodies. This personal sense of adventure is an important life trait for children to develop and a skill they can apply in all aspects of life. It contributes to the development of a child’s confidence and bravery, and encourages them to search for new challenges to conquer.
Learning to socialise with others from a young age is a vital part of a child’s cognitive development. The ability to express emotion comfortably in front of others shows mental maturity and learning to do so through movement and dance provides a safe gateway for young children to explore. Performing arts activities bring together children from a variety of backgrounds and personalities; creating an environment outside of the habitat a child is accustomed to. Children are forced to learn to adapt and communicate in new ways. By navigating this new environment through creativity, children learn to build trust and effective relationships.
Being part of a group activity, such as learning a dance routine, promotes the importance of teamwork and develops the ability to work successfully in a group environment. The process also helps a child learn patience, listening and leadership skills as they start to help each other with learning and practicing the steps. They also learn to accept vulnerability; that it is okay not to be able to do everything first time and that you should feel confident enough to ask for help, either from the teacher or from another student.
Nonverbal communication represents two thirds of all communication. It’s important for young children to understand that it is possible to portray a message both verbally and with the correct body signals and also to be able to interpret these signals from other people. The study of dance and movement can help a child develop an understanding of their own body language as well as others. Whilst it is relatively simple to express without words straightforward emotions such as ‘happy’ and ‘sad’, the study of dance can teach a child how to express physically more complex emotions and how to read and react when someone else is physically emoting.
Following choreography and developing precise technique is important as a dancer, but so is being expressive and using elements from around the dance world to create pieces that reflect feelings, emotions and ideas
What is lyrical and contemporary?
Lyrical dance is a very emotive form of dance. Dancers learn routines to music that allows them to express themselves and emotions.
Contemporary dance, combines the strong and controlled legwork of ballet with modern dance’s stress on the torso, and also employs contract-release, floor word, fall and recovery, and improvisation characteristic of modern dance. Unpredictable changes in rhythm, speed, and direction are often used, as well. It sometimes also incorporates elements of non-western dance cultures
What are the benefits of this class?
This is a fun and intense class and develops a dancers performance skills. It also develops their improvisation and their own choreography skills. It is about using your wide range of dance knowledge, experience and ideas to create pieces, movements and routines that reflect how you hear the music.
What do I need for this class
Our school leotard is encouraged, with jazz pants or shorts, our school t-shirt or vest (or similar) can be worn. Bare feet for this class, hair to be tied up and no jewellery to be worn. As always to start with – leggings and t-shirt is fine.
We sometimes will use props or items to create around or use – such as chairs, scarfs, hoops, so having an open mind and bringing new ideas is welcome
Come and join our classes – Wednesdays at 5:15 – it’s an hour long to allow time for thought, creativity and developing ideas – so a drink is recommended. For more information on our class, or to enroll please fill in our contact us form or call 07969125975
Mondays focus on theatre branch classes and look at classes to develop technique and dance skills, Thursdays focus on the performance and theatrical side
What is tap and theatre craft?
This is an hour combination class in which dancers look at the technique of theatre craft and tap dancing. Which are often seen together in musicals and on stage.
In theatre craft, dancers study the technique needed for the theatre shows, musicals and pantomimes. In tap, dancers look at rhythms and footwork. Both also include performance elements.
We look to musicals old and new – from Singin’ in the Rain and Oklahoma to modern Wicked and Lion King. It’s about creating performances for the stage and to tell a story
How is the class structured
Generally 40 minutes will be dedicated to theatre and 20 to tap – this is obviously dependent on many factors including show planning, assessments and preparation
Theatre has several exercised designed to warm up and condition the body as a whole and these will start our class, followed by technique and combos and then choreography time. Tap will include similar style with warms ups and drills, then small combos and then choreography.
What is needed for this class?
Dancers will require tap shoes for this class – please contact us to order a pair. We understand that you may wish to give it a couple of weeks before investing – technique can be practiced with socks on. Tap shoes will cost approximately £22-30 including a set of heel taps
Generally our school leotard should be worn with jazz pants/shorts over the top. Theatre craft would be best performed with ballet shoes. As always – leggings and a vest are perfectly acceptable for the first few classes
Hair should be tied back and no jewellery to be worn.
Dancers are given the opportunity to take part in I.D.T.A grade examinations to show their progression. This is a wonderful class to compliment our Youth Theatre programme – for information on multi class discounts, sibling discounts or enrollment please just fill in our contact form, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07969125975
So far we have looked at our dance classes – what benefits dance offers physically, emotionally, and mentally – and I’m sure you’ll agree – the benefits are massive.
Our youth theatre programme – it offers no less, but adds to the ways the arts benefits children and young people.
Mixing drama, singing, dance – it is a safe space to try out new things, to explore issues through these mediums. It allows them to be spontaneous and take risks – to test their emotional and physical boundaries.
The arts is about personal expression – and youth theatre allows them to develop something to showcase this – without being explicit or being about them. They can create a character or storyline to perform through.
Broadened social skills
We know how beneficial dance is in general to confidence but working in a youth theatre team – where you are part of a group – means they develop skills such as tolerance of others ideas – even when they don’t agree. They improve their understanding of others and their situations as they express their ideas. They develop friendships and understand better the concepts of love, hate, loneliness. It builds community within and helps them work better in groups.
Develop artistic expression
The arts is all encompassing – dance, drams, singing – so many ways and mediums to express ideas, thoughts, feelings. Not only does it help them but develops their appreciation for those who work in this field – both on stage or camera and behind!
Youth theatre is a fantastic way for children to be themselves, be creative, be unique, be part of a community – our session runs on Thursdays at 4pm at Church of the Ascension for all over 6 years. Check out more information here and contact us for more information or to book a place
For our younger dancers – we have classes Monday and Wednesday at 3:45pm or our preschool programme information can be found here.
This is a special programme combining dance (in various forms), drama and singing to prepare students for performing on stage. So it is a little different to our standard classes
What is Youth Theatre and what does it involve?
The dance programme focuses on the routines and choreography. It is recommended that our students take ballet, and ideally tap and theatre also to compliment this class in terms of developing their technique. Routines are designed to fit in to the story line of the theatre project of the term and will involve mixing with singing sections and drama.
Our drama offering is designed to develop their scripted performances, as well as improvisation skills. Again the programme will fit into the theatre project of the term.
The singing work will involve techniques for singing in chorus, for movement and singing, as well as building general confidence as a singer.
How is the class structured?
This class is 2 hour 15 minutes. Time is split between the 3 disciplines and will focus on certain aspects of performance. As projects start there will be more planning and preparation time in drama – such as script writing and improvisation activities. Singing will focus on learning the words and practicing performance styles. Time is also spent learning about performing – the stage, the wings, prop management – all essentials for any theatre performer
What is needed?
It is recommended a drink and a small snack is brought along should this be needed (fruit/vegetable snack perhaps). Water will be available.
Students will need our school leotard and jazz shoes for this class and may wear jazz pants, or shorts, our school vest or t-shirt (not stage blacks) over the top. A jacket can be worn for the drama/singing elements. To start with – leggings and t-shirt are perfectly fine!
No jewellery and hair should be tied back. A notebook will be very useful to jot ideas and script plans to look at too.
This is a performance based group. As mentioned the technique is not a huge focus – should you have any questions about the best class to compliment this – please do get in touch! Monday classes – ballet and tap and theatre would work great and we have a multi class discount so don’t hesitate to get in touch!