Edinburgh Festival

The Edinburgh Festival is about to kick off and I have lots of dance performances marked in my diary to see. Watching dance is so valuable as a dance teacher told see what is out there and give inspiration for both yourself and your students.

I hope to get lots of inspiration for forthcoming blogs and classes!


Claire and Kerry’s lessons

I have been away for a week at the Homeless World Cup but prior to that each of us taught a lesson at RCS. I already blogged about my Highland lesson but just wanted to note my thoughts on Claire and Kerry’s.

Claire taught a contemporary class. Her theme was space and I really liked the idea of doing a themed series of lessons. Her warm-up was well linked to the theme speaking a lot about weightlessness and then we did some more technical exercises. These were really helpful and I would like to have spent more time on this. I enjoyed all of Claire’s exercise sequences but they were challenging and I think they would be too hard for the S2/3 age group we were to target our lesson for. At the end she returned to the space idea, using tennis balls as planets. The lesson was quite long but I think there were enough good ideas for Claire to build on for next time.

Kerry was last to go with her Jazz class. It was really fun and pitched correctly for the age group. She started with a fitness style warm-up which was good but not very ‘dancy’ and not related to the later activities. The corner work was good – I use lots of the same exercises, but we could have spent more time on them. The dance was great though – I may pinch it for my own S3 class….

Highland Beginners

On Sunday 3rd July each of us on the Context and Culture Dance module had to teach a lesson to the others. The premise was to design a lesson for a level 3/4 class and my peers encouraged me to do Highland as it would be something new to them. Here is my lesson plan and feedback given following the class:

Beginners Highland

Learning Intention: To introduce highland dancing steps and technique

Success Criteria: Be able to complete a four step fling
E’s and O’s:

I have created and taken part in dance from a range of styles and cultures (EXA 3-08a)

I can participate in dance styles and activities which challenge and extend my repertoire of movement and my knowledge of the styles and cultures of dance (EXA 4-10a)

‘Uptown Funk’
Head, shoulders, over

Arms – first-fifth
Feet – first, second, second aerial, third, third aerial, third rear aerial
Posture and alignment

The Steps: (cheerleader, what makes you beautiful, fling)
Toe Heel
Back step
Shake and rock
Strathspey (movement only)

The Dance:
‘Wake Me Up’
Any two fling steps
Any fling step

Feedback and Visible Learning:

Record the final performance then watch back.
What did you do well?
What could you improve on?
How will you improve upon this?
Write up in logbook.

Peer Feedback:
Kids who choose it would like it
Learnt a lot
More specific calves, feet and ankle exercises to warm-up
Play a game instead of a warm-up?
Watch a Highland games – make that the theme
Coaches eye app
Dart fish
App for alignment
Mirror more rather than facing away from pupils – so learn dance on both sides


I will upload a video when I can….

And All That Jazz…!

Spent the last two days at the Conservatoire doing Jazz dance sessions. I am pretty confident with Jazz but it is always good to brush up on technique and learn some new sequences. I will take a few tips away from the sessions like perhaps challenging my dancers with longer travelling sequences and then allowing them to be creative by mixing up the sequences. It may also be helpful for choreography as pupils often struggle to get started. With this idea I could make a sequence with around ten moves, rehearse it to help with their technique then allow them to use the movements to come up with a sequence for their own choreography. I’ll try this when we get back in October. Meanwhile, here’s a quick example of what we did today:

Lyrical Jazz

On Wednesday night I covered a Lyrical Jazz class at Dance Base. This is a great opportunity to teach adults and teach across different styles. The class was quite advanced so I was able to test out some trickier sequences and practice complex technique with them. The class went well but it has made me really sure that I want to return to an adult class of my own to keep my skills up and broaden my own experiences in dance.