How our new dance classes were born
Since starting Perform in 2000, we have developed lots of other activities for children and they have always been at the request of parents and have grown organically.
For instance, I had never considered doing children’s birthday parties until a Mum asked me if I could “do what you do in the class for his birthday” and that’s how Perform Parties was born. In the same way, it is down to primary schools asking for workshops that we now have a thriving education department – Perform For Schools - visiting about 20 primary schools a day with our National Curriculum topic-based drama sessions. We also run themed Holiday Courses throughout the school holidays each year because parents continually asked for them.
For a number of years now, parents have been asking us to run dance classes but I have to confess that it was only when I started to look for dance classes for my own children aged six and eight, that I realised that there really was an opportunity (and dare I say it) a need to create a fresh and fun new type of dance class that would appeal to both girls and boys alike.
There are lots of dance schools out there that teach specific disciplines such as ballet, tap, jazz, modern etc. but we wanted to do something very different, something fresh and modern and completely original whilst offering the same benefits that we have at Perform. So with a team of dance and movement specialists, we have developed Perform X. And, although our five pilot schools have only been running for five weeks, I am extremely excited about it and we are having amazing feedback from the children and parents.
All the music is original hip-hop and street and extremely cool (according to my eight year old son) and, as with all Perform music, it's composed in-house. Each 60 minute class is broken down into three sections. The first, Exhilarate, is choreographed to a continuous track of hip hop music that lasts 15 minutes during which the children do physical warm ups, a “brain gym” memory sequence , a bleep test, a yoga/stretch part and a final “Celebration dance” – the aim here being exclusively on fitness and energy levels.
They then move on to Explore which is less intense and focuses on the children devising and choreographing themselves. A lot of this section is spent working in smaller groups with the two teachers.
The final part is Express. Here the children learn a set dance routine which is performed at the end of the term for the parents and this term's routine is called “Rise of the Robots.”
The children have a real workout but at the same time are learning important physical and social skills as well as having a huge amount of fun in the process. It doesn’t matter how good they are at dancing, Perform X is all about getting children energised, improving their coordination and giving them a brilliant way to get fit and ultimately, have fun.
If you’d like your son or daughter to dance but not in a strict ballet or ‘jazz hands’ way, then you might want to try Perform X. It’s definitely been a hit with my own children!