Category Archives: Music

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

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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 … 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 … 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)!