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Introducing Ourselves

It’s the start of an exciting new year and a new term. It’s always fantastic to see the children after the holidays and to meet lots of new children who join us for the first time.

Our theme for the 4-7s this term is Fairytale Forest and we will be journeying deep into the forest to meet some well-known nursery rhyme characters such as Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack, Beauty and the Beast plus our own Perform additions including Funky Fairy and The Red Queen.

Our focus of the week is to learn how to introduce ourselves and we role-play a situation where we meet people for the first time and have to introduce ourselves and make new friends.

Asking for help

We alternate our weekly topics with ones that are drama-based but also others that are more general and social-skills focused.  

This week we discuss how it’s good (and necessary) to sometimes to ask for help with a problem and how this isn’t something we should ever be hesitant about doing.

In our PF adventure we meet The Fairy Tale Explorer who is looking for a fairy “tail” but can’t find one.

We encourage him to ask for help and he’s quickly told that it’s a fairy “tale” and not “tail”!  And his problem is solved.

Clear Diction

We work on our diction this week. Those who attend Perform regularly will know that it’s a topic we like to cover in detail each term as well as it being a regular focus during our classes each week.

It’s essential that the children know the importance of speaking and articulating clearly, even from a young age, so we meet Little Red Riding Hood and learn her tongue twister. Not only is it great fun but also re-enforces the importance of clear diction and paying particular attention to sounding the consonant at the end of the word too. 

Using a loud voice

We learn all about how to project our voices to an audience this week. As an actor, this is crucial for being on stage but having a strong, healthy, projected voice is also an invaluable skill for everyone to have. It’s definitely something that we really want to instil in our Perform children from day one.

We also teach the difference between shouting and projecting so please do ask the children to project their voices when reciting something out loud at home, too.

It's what's inside that counts

Through the characters of Rapunzel and the Frog Prince, we introduce the children to the importance that it’s what’s inside a person that counts, as opposed to what they look like.

Rapunzel does not want to kiss a frog because he doesn’t look like a “handsome prince” but PF tells her that it’s not what someone looks like that matters, it’s what they’re like inside.

It’s an important message and one that we hope to communicate to the children we teach. 

 

Try something new

This week's focus is about how sometimes it’s good to try something new and not just stick to what we already know and are comfortable with.

It’s sometimes tricky to get children (or adults) to try new things, be it food or activities!

At Perform, we find it effective for children to learn from empathising through role-play and improvisations as it’s so much more powerful than being told to do something. So we meet Prince Charming and we encourage him to let Cinderella try the glass slipper and well…. You know what happens next. 

Taking Turns

Our focus this week is about Taking Turns and we look at how important it is to be fair and let other people have a turn at something; be it simply talking or doing an activity.

We discuss what happens if people all want to take their turn at once and we improvise this by visiting The Gingerbread House. Lots of fairytale characters are there and they all want to eat as many sweets as possible. There’s lots of pushing people out of the way and eventually no one actually gets any sweets at all.

We learn that if we all wait and take our turn fairly, we’ll all get a share of the sweets. 

Dealing with anger

This week we re-visit a topic about helping children with ways to calm down if they’re feeling angry or cross.

We meet Sleeping Beauty who is having a meltdown and PF helps to calm her down and teach her what to do next time she feels angry in order to control her anger.

We then, as a group we discuss the ways in which we can help ourselves to calm down when we’re feeling cross.

Compromise

This week’s topic explores what compromise means and we discuss ways in which we can compromise in different situations or, have done so before.

We talk about how this sometimes means ‘meeting in the middle’ on something and that neither person gets exactly what they want but they still get some of what they want.

In keeping with the theme, we meet Beauty and the Beast who can’t agree on what they’re cooking PF for supper. In the end they meet half way and they have a delicious feast where everyone is happy!

Team work

It’s the week before our show so we spend a significant amount of the class going through our show (as well as getting excited about dressing up, singing and dancing and performing for our families).

It fits in brilliantly with our topic of the week which is Team Work as after all, to put on a show you have to work as a team.

Even though it’s a significant part of our term’s work, the performance is not the most important part of what we do at Perform. However, it’s a fantastic way to bring together the skills that we focus on each week.

Our teachers take the children on a final run through and get them to really work on their vocal projection in front of the audience and also to remember where they stand in every scene.  So much to remember! 

End of term presentation

On show day we celebrate the work we have achieved since term started. The children come in costume which really raises the level of performance and adds a huge excitement to the day.

We present a mini-musical where we journey into Fairytale Forest with PF help to rescue the Story book from The Red Queen.  We sing The “Funky Fairy”, “Frog Prince” and “Gingerbread House” songs. Dance The “Fairy Tail” Dance routine, rap about Rapunzel and tongue twist with Little Red Riding Hood.

It’s a wonderful way to finish off our term’s work by celebrating with our family and testing out all the skills we’ve learnt through the term. 

 

Introducing Ourselves

It’s the start of an exciting new year and a new term and it’s always fantastic to see the children after the holidays plus meet lots of new students who join us for the first time.

Our theme for the 7-12s is Outlaw and throughout the term we will be rehearsing a modern day musical about the legendary tale of Robin Hood, so we have lots of fun introducing the story to the children and showing them how we’re going to adapt it for a 2017 version.

Each week we also explore a different topic. This week's topic is all about how to introduce ourselves to someone.  It’s a skill that we all will use in life constantly so it’s a good one to start the term with and give the children instructions and practice on how to do this well.

Asking for help

We alternate our weekly topics with ones that are drama-based but also others that are more general and social-skills focused. 

This week we discuss how it’s good (and often necessary) to sometimes to ask for help with a problem and how this isn’t something we should ever be hesitant about doing.

As children get older they tend to ask for help less (even if they need it) as they’re trying to become more independent.

We focus this week on discussing why asking for help is the responsible and sensible thing to do if you need it and we role-play situations where we might need to ask for help and how to go about doing it. 

Clear diction

Using clear diction when we speak is incredibly important and it’s a skill that we want all Perform children to recognise and use at all times, whether it be on stage or in a one to one conversation. So our focus this week is Clear Diction.

We play lots of tongue twisters and diction games to esure that the topic has a special focus; however, this is something that runs throughout the term and your child’s time with us so we will always spend time on making sure that the children know about clear diction as it’s central to our classes. 

Vocal Projection

We spend time this week on Vocal Projection to help further our public speaking skills.

The children may not realise they’re learning these skills as the exercises are fun and engaging but the aim is that they learn the importance of using a lovely loud voice when they speak in public. 

It's what's inside that counts

We focus this week on why it might not be a good idea to judge someone on what they look like rather than what they actually are like inside and how important it is to get to know someone properly before deciding if you like them or not.

We discuss characters that we know in famous stories that look lovely on the outside, but are not so on the inside (eg. Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter), and ones that look like they might by scary, like the BFG, but who are actually gentle and friendly on the inside. 

Try something new

We have a fun topic this week as we explore why it’s important to try new things in life, even though you may think they’re not for you.

We look at times when we have tried something for the first time and been a bit reluctant and then discussed the outcome. The message was that you can’t really say you like something or not until you’ve given it a go!

We split the class into different groups and ask them to tell the Outlaw story in their own words but each group has to do it in a different and new way eg. soap opera, action film or even operatic - the sky's the limit.

 

Taking turns

Our topic this week is the importance of taking turns. We look at how important it is to be fair and let other people have a turn at something, whether it be talking or having a go at an activity.  

To bring this to life, we do an improvisation where we split the children into groups and give them a scenario where one group lets the children take turns and the other group doesn’t and we look at the outcomes of the different situations. 

Dealing with anger

This week we re-visit a topic that we’ve previously done which looks at how to help children with ways to calm down if they’re feeling angry or cross.

We discuss the ways in which we can help ourselves to calm down when we’re feeling cross and make a list of things that we can do when next time we’re feeling cross. These range from counting to 20 and breathing exercises, to visualising a place where we feel calm.

It’s very close to our Outlaw show now so we’re also working hard with our songs and dance routines ready for the show next month. 

Compromise 

There are so many skills that children need to learn to get along in life and we thought that the art of compromising was high on that list, so it takes focus this week.

Drama is a great way to explore what compromise means because you can become a different character and look at a situation from their view point.

We talk about how this sometimes means 'meeting in the middle on something' and that neither person gets exactly what they want but they still get some of what they want. 

Team work

It’s the week before our show so we spend a significant amount of the class rehearsing, (as well as getting excited about dressing up, singing and dancing and performing for our families).

Even though it’s a large part of our term’s work, the performance is not the most important part of what we do at Perform. However, it’s a fantastic way to bring together the skills that we focus on each week.

It also fits in brilliantly with our topic of the week which is Team Work as after all, to put on a show you have to work as a team.

Our teachers take the children on a final run through and get them to really work on their vocal projection in front of the audience and also to remember where they stand in every scene.  So much to remember! 

End of term presentation

On show day we celebrate the work we have achieved since term started. The children come in costume which really raises the level of performance and adds a huge excitement to the day.

We perform Outlaw, a specially-written musical based on the legend of Robin Hood.

This is a more advanced musical that will see them stretched vocally and choreographically. With a host of lines and blocking to remember, the stage craft that they have learnt throughout term will stand them in good stead for a fun and polished performance. 

Welcome to the New Term

We always love seeing the children for the first time after the holidays and meet the new children who have joined us.

This week we start work on our specially choreographed dance combining street and hip-hop moves with an original story that showcases the techniques we’ll be working on throughout the term.

The routine is called Jailbreak and is an exhilarating, energetic piece that explores the adventures of notorious prison breaker Jack Sheppard – we love to combine history with hip hop at Perform X!

Concentration

Our topic of the week is Concentration which is not just important for dancing but also an important skill to have for life.

We play a cross section of concentration-based activities including a game where we put an object on the floor and in a sequence of stylised moves, someone picks up the object. But the next step is for volunteers to replicate the exact movements that the first person made. It’s simple but a very good concentration exercise involving the whole class - they have to judge if it’s been done accurately and have a go themselves too.

Posture

We have an extremely physical workshop this week. We look in detail at the importance of Good Posture and how to ensure that we have healthy posture when we sit, stand, walk and of course, dance.

We discuss the importance of walking correctly (shoulders back and our head held high) and do lots of physical exercises to compare good and bad posture.  As well as all the physical benefits, good posture also gives you confidence which is our all-important goal for Perform X.

Working with a partner

This week’s focus is about working with a partner but we ask the children to make a special effort to choose a partner that they’ve never worked with before.

We learn that basic choreography for partner dances’ involves co-ordinated dancing of two partners, as opposed to individuals dancing alone or in a group and we discuss famous styles of partner dancing.

In partners we ask the children to put together a short dance using a few of our creative concepts to share with the group.

Memory Skills

At Perform X we ask the children to learn and memorise choreography all the time. We’re constantly throwing new ideas and moves at them and we know that because the brain is a muscle, the children actually get faster and faster at picking things up.

Research also says that with regular aerobic training that incorporates some type of dance at least once a week, we can maximise our brain function.

Self-Expression

Throughout history dance has been used to express feelings so this week we focus on Self-Expression through movement and dance.

We choose a cross-section of different music and ask the children to put together choreography based on how the music makes them feel and what it makes them want to express. We ask them to think about the rhythm and tempo of the music in particular and how their moves change when a different style of music is played.

We talk about how it’s sometimes easier to express yourself through movement as opposed to words too, which is interesting.

It’s a really fun lesson and a fantastic way of losing inhibitions and gaining confidence.

Our core

Each week in the first part of our lesson we have a section which centres around our ‘core muscles’. This week we have a special focus on the importance of our core muscles which incorporate almost every movement of the human body.

We learn that it’s difficult to balance, perform co-ordinated movements on both sides of the body, sit up straight, hold a pencil or jump if you don’t have a strong core.

A very fitness focused lesson. 

Following Instructions

This week's topic of the week is Following Instructions and our exercises are centred around the children following specific instructions in smaller groups and pairs.

Following instructions is something that we have to do throughout our lives, so we focus on getting the children to listen carefully and then carry out the tasks as requested in as precise way as possible.

In our Creative Concepts section we give the children very detailed instructions to create their own choreography piece for us. 

Confident body language

Our focus this week is the all-important Confident Body Language. We experiment with different emotions and look at how what we are feeling inside can manifest into our body language.

We then look at how important it is to have confident body language and touch on power posing and how sometimes if you make your body language confident it can actually make you feel confident from the inside too. 

Team work 

It’s the week before our presentation of our routine this term called Jailbreak, so we focus a lot on rehearsing and going through the final touches to this mini show.

Even though it’s a significant part of our term’s work, the performance is not the most important part of what we do at Perform. However, it’s a fantastic way to bring together the skills that we focus on each week.

It fits in brilliantly with our focus which is Team Work, as after all, to put on a show you have to work as a team. 

End of term presentation

On show day we celebrate the work we have achieved since term started. The children will show a cross section of our X activities to the parents and we’ll also perform for them our Jail Break dance routine.