Category Archives: dance

I love… New Year

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There’s only one day to go until 2013 and I’m really rather excited.

Not only we have a cracking party at my parents house surrounded by lovely family, eating fabulous food and consuming a tasty tipple (or two) but I’m really lucky that I’ve got so much to look forward to in the New Year…

Things are settling down (of sorts) in my Part-time ‘normal (?)’ day job; I’ve got a fair few things in the pipeline with regards to the dancing side of my life; there may even be time for a short holiday somewhere warm too 🙂

Here’s just a few of the dancing projects that are coming up…

Monday

1-2pm(Jan & Feb) Adult Tap Classes at St Andrew’s Hall
4-5pm NEW Children’s classes at the DanceFit Studio
   

Tuesday

1:30-3pm NEW PE Class at St Mary’s Fields Infant School
1:30-2:30pm (June & July) NEW Tiny Dancer at Embrace Arts, Leicester University
7:30-9pm NEW Advanced Ballet Classes at Dance Leicester
   

Wednesday

7:15-8:15pm BalletTone Classes at the Dance Fit Studio
   

Thursday

1:30-3pm (Jan & Feb) NEW PE Classes at Mayflower Primary School
1-2pm (from March) Adult Tap Classes at St Andrew’s Hall
   

Friday

3-4pm After School Club at St Mary’s Fields Infant School
   

Saturday

early morning time tbc! Zumba without music at the Ceeda Centre
   

Sunday

Day off ? Although being self employed this doesn’t really exist, does it ?! 🙂

Plus, I’m going to be working towards a GNVQ Level 2 in ‘Exercise to Music’

As you can see there’s a fair few things going on, but there’s always space for more – get in touch at abdance@ntlworld.com

It’s going to feed my love of stationery quite nicely with diaries and calendars to make sure I know what I’m doing, where and when; and folders with routines and registers and coursework for the ETM 😀

I hope you have a fun-filled and prosperous 2013 too xx

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I love … Christmas!

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It’s been a while since I’ve been in touch but what better topic than Christmas?!?!

The preparations for this Christmas have been a little differnt for me this year for a couple of reasons:

  • Being Part Time in my ‘normal’ job (is there such a thing – that’s another blog post in it’s own right!) has given me more time to prepare
  • And being the Christmas Shopping Fairy has made me feel even more Christmassy than usual.

If you don’t know about the Christmas Shopping Fairy then let me get you up to speed…
I’m not a parent but lots of my firends are and I know how hard it can be when you need to go shopping with the little cherubs, never mind Christmas shopping which is on a whole other level in terms of pressure.
So I had the idea that parents could drop their children with me on a Saturday afternoon and have a few hours to themselves to go shopping/have a cup of tea/go to the hair-dressers/go back home/whatever they need while we dance and sign and make stuff all with a Christmassy theme.

I even featured  In the Paper (Leicester mercury More Magazine) on 1st December 2012.
It’s been really good fun, and I don’t know about the children, but I’ve certainly slept well when I’ve got home!!:

  • we’ve made paper chains, posters and decorations;
  • we’ve played traditional games like hunt the thimble and wink murder;
  • we’ve sung songs and made up dance routines to some pop as well as Christmas music.
Paper Chains made by the Christmas Fairies Dec 2012

Paper Chains made by the Christmas Fairies Dec 2012

Merry Christmas made by the Christmas Fairies Dec 2012

Merry Christmas made by the Christmas Fairies Dec 2012

This Saturday will be the last one (22nd Dec) and we’re going to be singing and dancing to a few new songs as well as all of the songs we’ve used in the last few weeks, and we’re going to make Christmas cards – all of the tissue paper shapes are cut out and ready to go.

Spending time with the children has really given me time to think about what’s important, all year around, but especially at Christmas.  For me that’s spending time with friends and family and having a good time.  It really doesn’t need to cost lots of money to show people that you care for and appreciate them.

I’ll sign off now and wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year
xx

I love … Learning

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Some might call me a ‘course tourist’ (you know who you are!) but I really do love learning.

Partly because it often means compiling the newly acquired knowledge into a folder which feeds my love for stationery as well as recognising that I now know something new.

Within the dancing word you never stop learning – you pick things up from other teachers and instructors as well as the people (young and not-so-young) who take part in your classes and it all goes towards constantly working to improve what you do.  Also, within the dancing and education worlds there is a great emphasis on qualifications to ensure that you are the right person to run the classes.  The qualifications give reassurance that I…

  • have the relevant subject knowledge.
  • teach the technical aspects (steps and movements).
  • teach correctly and safely.
  • teach the work to examination standard and enter pupils for examinations.
  • have critical knowledge of anatomy and physiology along with correct warm ups, limbering, stretching and cool (warm) down.
  • keep up to date with developments in the syllabus/curriculum and teaching practices.

Here are the teaching qualifications I have and the courses I’ve attended recently, with a little bit about why each one is so useful…

Associate Ballet, Tap and Theatre Craft – syllabus and teaching practice suitable for pre-school children up to and including Intermediate grade;
Licenciate Freestyle – steps and movements, anatomy and physiology, warm up/down, stretching and limbering for children and adults;
Dance Exercise Diploma – all ages and all styles of dance with fitness and fun as the focus;
Zumba – steps and musical appreciation to create simple and effective fitness routines;
TinyTalk – sign language for babies and young children to help everyone communicate;
Safeguarding and Protecting Children – awareness of the procedures for ensuring the safety of the children who attend classes;
First Aid for Sport – just in case there are any injuries or medical mishaps;
Nutrition for Sport  – to understand what the body needs to support an active lifestyle, and how to ensure your diet is meeting your needs;
PE and the National Curriculum – to keep up to date with the changes so I can be sure I’m meeting the requirements.

Next on my list is ‘Exercise to Music’ and ‘Zumbatomic’…

I love … Strictly

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It feels like ages since the previous series graced our screens and I’m sooooo glad it’s back tonight!

It’s such a popular show and has got so many people dancing – including me, as it inspired my to start a Strictly DanceFit class to teach the basic steps to the favourite dances while getting fit and having fun.

This is the link to the BBC’s dedicated Strictly pages with all of the latest details about the show.

Here’s this years celebrity line-up (in alphabetical order!):

Colin Salmon starred in Prime Suspect and Doctor Who as well as three James Bond films where he played the character Charles Robinson.
Dani Harmer is the star of a the very popular ‘Tracey Beaker ‘ from CBBC .
Denise Van Outen is a household favourite thanks to her time on ‘The Big Breakfast’ through her roles on Broadway and the West End.
Fern Britton is best known for her partnership with Philip Schofield on ‘This Morning’.
Jerry Hall with her famously golden locks and model figure should feel very comfortable in front of the cameras.
Johnny Ball  is a tv legend who brough science and maths to life for so many people and I can’t wait to see him in action.
Kimberley Walsh should feel right at home with the glitz and glamour following her time with Girls Aloud.
Lisa Riley shot to fame as Mandy Dingle in ‘Emerdale’ but has recently been in a play on the West End about pole dancing.
Louis Smith clearly wasn’t satisfied with his two Olympic medals and wants the glitterball trophy next ;-).
Michael Vaughan has a hard act to follow in fellow cricketers Mark Ramprakash (2006 winner) and Darren Gough (2005 series and Christmas Special winner).
Nicky Byrne has performed with Westlife in front of thousands, but dancing is a different world.
Richard Arnold is Mr Showbiz and there isn’t much he doesn’t know about TV.
Sid Owen played Ricky in Eastenders for 25 years so is accustomed to drama.
Victoria Pendleton has nine world titles for cycling and won two Olympic medals at London 2012.

Here are the professional dancers:

Aliona Vilani was last years winner when she was partnered with Harry Judd.
Anton du Beke.  It wouldn’t be Strictly without him.
Artem Chigvintsev was the winner in 2011 with Kara Tointon.
Brendan Cole won the very first series with Natasha Kaplinsky and is famous for standing up to the judges.
Erin Boag is a fabulous dancer and has been with the series since the very beginning.
Flavia Cacace was paired with Russell Grant last year and showed the nation what fun dancing is and should be.
James Jordancan be a bit cheeky at times, but honest with it.
Karen Hauer is the newest member of the team and I’m looking forward to seeing her dance.
Kristina Rihanoff was John Sergeant and Jason Donovan’s partner in previous series’ proving that anyone and everyone can dance.
Natalie Lowe was very lucky to have been partnered with Ricky Whittle in 2009 and finished in 2nd place.
Ola Jordan won in 2009 with Chris Hollins, quite possibly the smallest partnership on record.
Pasha Kovalev joined in 2011 and made it to the final so there are high hopes for 2012.
Robin Windsor is a dancer after my own heart who loves performing and teaching.
Vincent Simone is the shortest male dancer but makes up for it with his outrageous flirting.

And finally the judges:
Len Goodman returns as the chair of the panel and with his fair and constructive comments will keep the other two fellas under control.
Bruno Tonioli gets so carried away, you can see his passion for dance and it’s infectious.
Craig Revel Horwood gets a bit of a bad press but he is nearly always right in his comments (in my opinion) just maybe could be a bit ‘fluffier’ in how he says things.
Darcey Bussell is new to the judging panel and (as a fellow fan of ballet) I think she’ll be a great addition to the team.

Only 7 hours and 30 minutes to wait until it starts!!!!!

I love … Music …

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… of pretty much all styles – classical, pop, rock, jazz, musicals.  From all eras.  Some for singing along with, others for dancing to and others just for listening pleasure.

At the latest count there are over 2,000 tracks on my iPod (other MP3 devices are available).

While in the doctor’s waiting room the other day I had a quick read of the September 2012 Reader’s Digest and saw an article called ‘No. 22 – Reasons To Be Cheerful’ by James Brown as part of their ‘Keep Britain Happy’ campaign.   It reccommended that you dig out your music collection, be it on vinyl, cassette, cd, or whatever and have a listen.  The nostalgia trip can be enjoyed on your own but better still shared with someone.

These are just some of my favourites songs/tunes:

Artist Singing Dancing Listening
Pink Martini Hang On Little Tomato Bitty Boppy Betty Ou Est Ma Tete?
Lilly La Soledad
Aspettami Sunday Table
Let’s Never Stop Falling In Love The Gardens Of Sampson and Beasley
Hey Eugene
Everywhere
Foo Fighters Pretender Statues
Monkey Wrench Bridge Burning
Virginia Moon
Scott Joplin The Entertainer Bethena Waltz
Caro Emerald Dr Wanna Do
Back It Up
Stuck
Robbie Williams Me And My Shadow
Paolo Nutini Pencil Full Of Lead
Ella Fitzgerald That Ole Devil Called Love
Every Time We Say Goodbye
Eva Cassidy Over The Rainbow
Summertime
The Artist 1931
George Valentin
Dean Martin Baby It’s Cold Outside
Chicago Roxie
Mr Cellophane
They Both Reached For The Gun
Jamie Cullum I Get A Kick Out Of You
Fascinating Rhythm
High & Dry
Zez Confrey Dizzy Fingers
Dido Thank you
Alex Sings & Oscar Swings Do The Cha Cha Cha
Cold Play Fix You
Flight of the Conchords Robots

I love … Stationery

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Did you ever get really excited about going back to school after the summer holidays?

I did, every year, not because I was looking forward to learning new stuff or wearing my new uniform (although they were good), but just because I had a new pencil-case, filled to the brim with new pens and things!  I used a Parker fountain pen (other manufacturers are available) and underlined everything in green, rather than red which I thought looked a bit aggressive?!

These days I still have a thing for pens.  But it’s expanded to note books of all shapes and sizes with various patterns – probably stemming from my love for covering my text books with old wallpaper.  I also enjoy decorating folders now that I’ve discovered sticky-backed-plastic!!  Then there’s the whole dividers, plastic wallets and getting things in order.

One of my favourite parts of one of my previous office jobs was going through the stationery catalogue for routine orders of paper and paperclips etc as well as setting up new desks with in-trays, pencil pots, files, furniture, you name it.  There was nearly always something on each page that took my fancy.  Imagine my delight when in another office job when I found they had a label maker!!  I was in my element and the office was tidied and organised to within an inch of its life.  I’m not all that offended when people compare me to Monica from Friends 😀
Update – 12th Sept 2012
My friends know me so well!!

I love … Teaching

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I’ve loved dancing for longer than I can remember and there’s something special about sharing that love with other people, regardless of the their age, gender, ability etc.

I love teaching the different age groups as it reminds me of the basics which are often taken for granted once you’ve been dancing for a while, and it helps me to improve as a dancer since without the basics you have no solid foundation to your technique.  This works well in classes as we have a mixture of abilities and experience.  The new people are shown the basics while the experienced people are reminded of them allowing everyone to progress.  Teaching children and adults makes you vary your vocabulary to ensure everyone understands you.

My husband, Mark, is convinced that one of the reasons I enjoy teaching so much is that I’m bossy and like telling people what to do!!  I don’t think he’s far from the mark, if I’m honest, but I like to think that I ‘tell people what to do’ in an encouraging way – come along to one of my classes and let me know!!

Tiny dancer is a great chance for a cute-fix.  Under 4’s have brilliant imaginations and no inhibitions.  Their little faces looking up at me with a mixture of amazement and fun, and occasionally ‘what are you doing?!’ is the best part.  Closely followed by watching them learn to skip (that could be an article in its own right) and developing their uniqueness.

Ballet Tone is a (slightly) grown up version of Tiny Dancer, for adults using everything I’ve learnt during my study of ballet.  Concentrating on strength and flexibility of the main muscle groups helping with core strength and posture.

In terms of favourites, tap comes second only to ballet.  It’s fun to teach as you can make up age appropriate poems to help to remember the rhythms for the steps and in a large class we can make the noises between us :-).

Zumba really is a party where I get to choose all of the music and create a hard work out which no-one notices as they’re having so much fun.  Even if a move doesn’t quite go to plan, no-one minds in the slightest – if anything it adds to the fun laughing with each other (which works your abs too)!