Category Archives: Experience Dance

Kenton Youth Theatre

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!

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Freestyle and Jazz

Our Freestyle and Jazz classes to run on a Wednesday mix two disciplines to allow our students to explore their expression and musicality

What is freestyle?

Freestyle is a modern, expressive and varied dance style, still a popular form of dance in the UK today. It involves runs, spins, kicks and leaps, as well as many other diverse steps and movements with lots of arm and hand actions.

The music can be fast and rhythmic or slow and sensuous, allowing dancers of all ages to use freedom of expression to enhance their style.

What is jazz?

Modern Jazz is fun. You will learn to develop many different movements reaching to a broad choice of varying rhythms and musical styles. Classes are structured to begin to prepare the physical strength and flexibility required to demonstrate emotion through interpretation of any musical genre.

One minute you may be dancing to the rhythm of a drum, the next to a funky jazz style. You may explore contrast between expansion and relaxation or learn to isolate in a slick stylish mood. Whatever the atmosphere of the class, it will be a wonderful opportunity to react and interact with other members and really dance to express your feelings.

Why take this class?

Both disciplines work well together as both can involve a lot of dramatic moves, as well as slower steps. There is a great mix of rhythms and using some of the technique of modern jazz we can develop our freestyle in much greater ways

Jazz adds a technique element – focusing on developing strong isolation and the traditional strength and flexibility work with the more explosive style found in freestyle

How is this class structured?

Freestyle and jazz involves quite a fast paced warm up as there is a lot of flexibility required in some of the moves. We work on improving stamina and then strength through some jazz technique and flexibility work – especially working our split variations and back bends.

Corner work involves steps and combinations traveling across the floor in small groups or pairs so we can see the movements and style.

Routines are developed next – both shorter step based and then group routines. For shows we start to develop group choreography, for exams we work on examination style routines.

Improv time is important in that it allows children to develop their musicality and rhythmic expression – solo work as well as team work is key here.

What to wear and what to bring?

Ideally all students will eventually have our school leotard (Which is needed for performances and assessments) and for this class it is paired with jazz pants or warm up shorts.

To start – leggings and a form fitting vest top is perfect.

Always bring a drink where possible as this class is hard work! A snack for afterwards as well is also suggested

Classes will run on Wednesdays – £25.00 per month (multi class and sibling discounts will apply) and the ages listed are suggestions. Please just drop us a line for more information – leanne@reactdance.co.uk or call or text 07969 125 975

Ballet classes

As we prepare for our new term – we’ll be sharing a new blog each Tuesday about what each of our classes involve, what you’ll need and what we’ll be doing

What is ballet?

Ballet is a wonderful form of dance that offers so much to all dancers. It is a classical style of expressive movement has something to offer for everyone – all ages and eventual dance dreams.Whether they look to take ballet just for pleasure, or a student has the goal of a career as a dancer and is more serious-minded, everyone who takes a class can benefit. Ballet dates back to the 17th century and the conventional steps, grace and fluidity of movement are still found in Ballet today. Choreographers have been influenced by composers through the ages.Ballet has a technique which is the foundation of all dance.

Why take ballet?

Ballet has so many benefits for dancers of all ages. It is a more disciplined form of dance and classes have more structure to them than other forms of dance.

  • Discipline is developed through the focus on structure and developing good technique
  • Being prepared to take class in correct uniform/dancewear and with the appropriate appearance (no jewellery, hair back ideally in a bun, shoes, tights and leotard worn)
  • Patience is learned as the steps, exercises and moves require a great deal of practice
  • Fitness is improved in terms of strength, stamina, and flexibility – beneficial to all forms of dance

How are classes structured?

Classes start with exercises – at the barre and in the centre to develop skills, focus on technique and warm up.

Movement exercises are next looking at steps then creating combinations to practice.

We spend a little time on a focus point each class – this could be a small exercise or a combination of steps.

Choreographed routines are then taught – be they one off routines around our focus or working towards a performance or exam.

Improvisation or free expressive movement – allowing students to listen and learn how to interpret the movement within the ballet framework

All classes finish with the curtsy or bow – a little choreography is provided and the hard work celebrated

What to wear and what to bring.

We will have a school leotard that all students we’d love to wear for shows, performances and are suitable should they decide to take exams.

Ballet requires form fitting clothing to allow us to see the full body and its lines and movement.

Ideally:

  • School leotard
  • Ballet tights
  • Ballet shoes
  • Hair in a bun or at least up and off the face
  • Optional – ballet skirt and ballet cardigan

If you are just joining us – any leotard is ok, as is leggings and a form fitting vest top.

Our uniform order will be placed on September 21st – allowing you time to try our classes and ensure they are happy. Dance wear is priced based on size – Leotards will be between £12 and £20, ballet shoes from £11, ballet tights from £9.

We also recommend they bring a drink with them and perhaps a snack for after class. A notebook is also handy to note down anything they need to remember or practice.

We can’t wait to welcome you along – Ballet runs Mondays at Ascension Kenton – £25 per month (or we offer multi class and family discounts – simple email for more information leanne@reactdance.co.uk or call 07969125975)

 

Welcome to React Dance Academy

We are so excited to welcome you to our Dance Academy website! And would love for you to get in touch with us to find out more about joining us in September.

For those who have followed the journey with us – we are excited to be moving on from our dance clubs to our IDTA syllabus and separate disciplined dance tuition.React Dance Academy kenton newcastle childrens dance classes ballet, tap, theatre, jazz, freestyle, youth theatreReact Dance Academy

We will offer a wide range of classes working towards a minimum of 2 performances per year and yearly examinations with the IDTA. Both of these are optional and your child can still enjoy our classes without taking exams or being part of our show.

However, we believe in helping children gain confidence, and students become confident performers so we’d love all our students to take part.

Our 2017-18 plans

September we will love to welcome our new enrollments and for the first part of the term we will work on getting our basic technique right. After our half term workshops we will start preparation for our Christmas Showcase – 2 shows on 16th December 2017

We will spend our Spring term really working on our dance skills and (should children wish) preparing for examinations. This means we will also host a medal presentation and announce our scholarship award winners

After our Easter Dance Camps, we will be heading towards our Summer Showcase – this term is about creativity and choreography so there will be a focus on learning new combinations, improvisation, working as a solo, duet, and team to create some fun pieces for our Summer show

Summer we will host a minimum of 2 dance camps and several workshops

React Dance Academy kenton newcastle childrens dance classes ballet, tap, theatre, jazz, freestyle, youth theatre

Helping dancers be the best

Regular attendance is key, as is practicing at home to improve and develop as a dancer. As mentioned on our site we expect (after your trial) that payments are made on the 1st of each month for that months classes – we have worked out the cost over a year (September to July) and divided it so it is an easy amount to budget each month.

As shows and examinations are optional extras – fees for these will be set out at the start of each term.

We also will have a dress code for classes – each class will have its own requirements and will be provided to you on enrollment or you can see them on our website. We have a uniform order service for you to buy their leotards, shoes, etc. Appropriate wear is important for safety and to allow them to dance the best they can – without restriction.

React Dance Academy kenton newcastle childrens dance classes ballet, tap, theatre, jazz, freestyle, youth theatre

React Dancers work hard and have fun

We can’t wait to help your child be the best dancer they can be and to enjoy their sessions with us each week. We hope you encourage them to practice at home, for our younger ones to come to the lesson prepared and our older ones to support them in getting ready for class.

We are always here to talk, answer questions, support and guide you as a parent of one of our dancers. Class time is busy but you can call, email or text at any time and we will get back as soon as we can if we aren’t available there an then

A bright future

We look forward to your support as we build up our dance academy, as we welcome more children, as we see them develop. We are exciting to offer more and can’t wait for you to see how much they will have learned at Christmas

Understanding …. tap dance

Tap dance is a type of dance, in modern terms, that is performed wearing shoes fitted with metal taps and involves the rhythmical tapping of toes and heels, and sometimes quite complex foot work.

There are two main forms – jazz or rhythmical and Broadway. Rhythmical tap focuses on musicality and sometimes had softer shoes, and made use of the noises generates with slides and even used sand on stage to emphasise this. Broadway tap is probably the more familiar – and focuses on the dance element, as seen in musical theatre.

It’s a fusion style of dance with its history and roots going into African Tribal Dance as well as English, Scottish, and Irish Clog dancing. In the mid 20th Century dancers brought their own elements into this form of dance. Fred Astaire for example combined tap with ballroom, whereas Gene Kelly introduced elements of ballet to his tap.

Tap dance makes use of syncopation – the displacement of beats where a strong beat becomes weak in a tap, and vis-a-versa. It also usually starts on the 8th count.

Examples of tap can be seen in Happy Feet, Singin’ in the Rain, 42nd Street, Stomp, as well as more modern takes – Youtube has some fabulous performers – Christopher Rice – check this out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAU8eBek_NU

Understanding …. Theatre Craft

Theatre craft is one of the main disciplines in a performing arts company – along side ballet and tap. It generally falls in with acting and singing in Musical Theatre studies. It can be one of the most fun to study, as while there is plenty of technique, it has less so than Ballet or Tap. And comes down a lot to performance.

What is it?

It is a fun, varied, performance based dance style. It has a variety of styles under the umbrella term “Theatre Craft” including cabaret, musicals, pantomimes, and commercial. It is led by the music.

Essential Elements

There are a huge range of steps and ideas that can go into a theatre craft dance piece, but certain aspects are key, and tend to be found in most piece. These include kick variations, turn variations, use of strong arm positions, as well as rhythmical awareness and use of props and accessories.

Artistic ability here is the ability to interpret the music and tell a story on stage. It is more about the performance than necessarily the steps.

Day to day Theatre

Where can you see it or find it? Its the Broadway or the West End, down to school productions. Theatre craft is what is shown across the world, mixing acting, dance and song to tell stories.

You will be familiar with the Lion King, Singin’ in the Rain, Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story – all popular musicals. From makers and legends such as Gilbert and Sullivan, Rodgers and Hammerstein, to Andrew Lloyd Webber – stories have been told through dance for decades.

It could be a story based musical – like West Side Story (based on Romeo and Juliet), or a TV or Film – such as Moulin Rouge, Glee even, or maybe what is termed as a Juke Box Musical – where they songs of an artist are used as inspiration – The Buddy Holly Story, We Will Rock You, the Jersey Boys.

 

Tell us – what is your favourite musical?

Understanding…. Freestyle

Freestyle dance is a very popular form of dance with both structured exams and competitions forming a major part of this style.

History (Summarised from Anna Jones – Freestyle Dance)

In 1978 the era of Disco dancing was truly born in the UK. For months we eagerly anticipated the arrival of the dance craze that was sweeping America. This was all due to one film and one performer, John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever! Travolta brought a message across to millions of young people that here was a lad with a mundane nine-till-five, poorly paid job, who was able to become a success in a different way – he could dance, and dance well! His reputation at the local Discotheque was a legend and when he entered that atmosphere at night he was respected and hero-worshiped. At this time Antony Allen made several trips to the States in order to bring back much of the work emanating from the film. And as well as many of the “Disco” moves, he brought back Hustle, a “together” dance that was also made popular by the film. Dance classes specialising in the “Night Fever” routines quickly became popular in all areas of the UK.

It was at this point that a number of professionals decided to carry on where the film had left off. Using chart music at the time, they began working out their own routines, often cautious at first then increasing in confidence as the pupils continued to enjoy the work that they were creating. As time progressed more varied and interesting work was included in the routines which was graded according to the standard of the class. Ultimately, greater rhythmical interpretation was involved and the use of more body parts.

What is Freestyle Dance?

It’s an artistic dance form that co-ordinates accentuated body movements with a number of basic steps incorporating arm, head and hand positions and movements. This is developed by the teachers who need to keep abreast of modern trends and music, whilst allowing the dancer freedom to express their own individual interpretation. The development of a top class Freestyle dancer requires the understanding of several basic principals in order to create good style and technique. I.e. Good timing, as with any other form of dance is essential. Choreography needs to be tailored to suit the age, grade and capability of each dancer. Extension and projection are also important aspects of Freestyle dance. Presentation as with other forms of dance needs to be aesthetic to the eye in every possible detail. Personality is an attribute that does or does not come naturally, but this can be developed by building confidence and practising facial expression.

Freestyle Dance contains a great variety of steps and movements particularly in the choreography of the higher grade dancers. However, the three “basic ingredients” of Freestyle Dance relating to solo work are runs, spins and kicks. Almost all dancers in intermediate grades and above will perform these steps as part of their routine in one form or another. Beginners will generally use less progressive types of movements but will normally have some running steps in their routines. Kicks are often introduced at starter level and spins developed for intermediate and above. The basic steps and movements include different types of Walks and Runs, a variety of turns and spins e.g. Switch Turn, Whisk Turn, Twist Turn, Progressive and Accelerated Spins. Kicks and Flicks to include Cross-Tap-Kick, Flick Ball Change, Spring Kick and Hitch Kick. Various jumps and leaps e.g. Star Jump, Stag Leap and Scissors Jump. Plus balletic type movements e.g. Arabesque, Pirouette and Developpe.

7 Reasons I am Lucky to Dance

Today is my Birthday and since it’s lucky number 7th November I thought I’d share with you the 7 reasons I feel lucky to be able to dance.

1. The music

Oh my goodness – how much music is out there! And as a dancer you can try and experience it all – from slow, lyrical to fast passed dance, hip hop to classical, remixes to mash ups. And make it your own – you can interpret it and really feel the rhythm, the music, the life, and the meaning! You can enjoy deep emotional pieces or simply enjoy dancing to some cheesy hits!

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2. Cultures

You can learn so much from dance. Understanding the cultures through national dances or dances that are synonymous with them. Being able to try bhangra or salsa, highland dancing or reggaeton. Seeing how ballet is interpreted in Russia, Spain, the US. It opens your eyes!

3. Emotions

We know that music can cause “feels”, that goosebump moment in a power ballad, or the urge to move as a showstopper reaches the climax. Good, bad, happy, sad, you can interpret this through dance.

4. Challenges

Boy does dance challenge you. You try things that you only dreamed of before and you fall, you get bruised (your body and your ego). But you try, you develop the inner strength to keep going despite it being “hard”. It’s learning never to give up!

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5. Growth

Watching people grow as dancers is one of my favourite things. Experiencing it too is amazing. From being too shy to stand at the front of a class to performing solo’s on stage. From being too unsure to try a tap class to nailing your first timestep. Meeting new friends, embracing competition, success and failure – it’s all in dance!

6. Success

And when the hours of practice pay off – whether it is simply getting that pirouette or the leap, to making it through an audition, or being singled out in class for showing musicality. Successes come in many ways and dance allows us all to achieve – week in week out!

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7. FUN!

Should be number one – but lucky number 7 – IT’S FUN! I LOVE IT. Every aspect of it – all the reasons above, your fellow dancers, your dancing heros, how it keeps you fit and active, how you develop personally, how you can have a bad day turn good by stepping on to the hall or studio floor!

 

Musicality for dancers

Dance is more than just movement – it is listening too and interpreting the music – the feel, the mood, the tempo, the rhythm.

It’s understanding phrases in songs or pieces, how to interpret the music with the movement – the height, the speed, expansion and contraction.

Importance

Being able to connect to the music you are dancing too is key. You can’t dance the same to Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy as you would do to Crazy in Love. You can’t dance the same to “Everything I do” as you would do “Sweet Child o’ Mine” – even if the steps are the same

Developing Musicality

In our classes (and you can try this at home) we involve these aspects from pre-school classes (in less obvious ways such as our Rig a Jig track or Twinkle Twinkle) to our dance club and older with using beats and bars.

  • Tempo – using different speeds of music for the steps or combinations and asking children to dance to the music
  • Using 3/4, 4/4/ and even 2/4 tracks to help develop understanding different music arrangements
  • Using a combination of steps and dancing them to different styles of music and asking them to show the type of music through the steps
  • Putting music on for improvisation – emotions, adventures, party, space, forest and landscapes and ask them to use their movements to express the type of music

 

Understanding … Jazz

Next up in our series about dance is a little bit on Jazz

History of Jazz Dance

Most of the time when people talk jazz – you imagine Liza Minnelli, Fosse, “Cabaret,” or even polished, long lines, tricks and triple pirouettes in music videos. But Jazz is something that has evolved over time – as something creative, it changes with trends and times, social change impacts on the styles too. Jazz initially came from the type of music people listened too – which lead to a specific type of movement – think African Dance. The idea that the music inspired the movement.

While jazz dance has broken off into small niches through time, there are several figures under the umbrella of jazz dance that have shaped the movement and influence of popular choreographers that you see today.

Types of ‘jazz’: traditional jazz dance, to modern and further back to the Cakewalk, Black Bottom, Charleston, Jitterbug, Boogie Woogie, swing and the related Lindy Hop. These last few now considered as “swing dance”.

Main names in Jazz

Many figures made their mark in the 1950’s and these movements are still relevant today

  • Bob Fosse

Fosse’s movement was unique and was groundbreaking. The movement was detailed, specific and very distinguishable. Best known for his Broadway shows such as Chicago, Cabaret, Damn Yankees, and The Pajama Game. The phrase “jazz hands” directly references Fosse and his detailed hand movements and placement during his choreography.

Other well known choreographers: Katherine Dunham, George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Jack Cole, Hanya Holm, Helen Tamiris, Michael Kidd (choreographer of Guys and Dolls) and Jerome Robbins.

About a class

While this style of dance had its roots in expressing music through movement it is also a very technical style of dance, which has much to link to ballet or at least an understanding of ballet movement.

The idea being the better a jazz dancer technically understands the movements and technique, the better they will be at expressing themselves and improvising.

Jazz in the modern era

Today it is slightly different to the Fosse and Gene Kelly – but the influences are still there – think Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal and Beyonce’s Single ladies. Jazz extends into hip hop styles as well as its traditional styles too. Many key choreographers around today working with Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, on So You Think You Can Dance and others have grounding in Jazz.