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Getting to know each other

It’s the start of our term and a new academic year. It’s lovely to see the children again after the long holiday and also to meet lots of new students too.

We always start each term with a communication topic and so we play lots of games around the theme of “getting to know each other”.

For the 4-7s, in our improvised adventure, our character PF ends up having to sit next to some children from a different school at the cinema, and feels a bit nervous about being amongst children he doesn’t know. So we role-play how to deal with this situation and play some ‘greeting games’ to demonstrate how much fun it is getting to know new people. Perfect for the first day of term when we have lots of new children joining our class.

Eye contact

Our topic of the week is eye contact, which is a massive focus for us at Perform and one that we work on a lot throughout our workshops.

We encourage the children to give eye contact when they are speaking to individuals and to groups of people too. But, it’s quite normal for children not to look at people when they might not know very well and it’s something that parents often mention when their child first joins Perform.

We explore how to look at people when you talk to them and we play lots of fun games to highlight the importance of this to the children. As always, although the life skills we teach the children are very important we try and teach them through fun and laughter.

Good posture

This week is a very physical and energised lesson based on the topic of why it’s important to have good posture.

We talk about how it’s important to walk with our shoulders back and our head held high as not only is it good for our body but it’s also good for our confidence too.

One of the ways children learn best is through actually acting out the topic so that they understand and empathise rather than us teachers telling them. So for our 4-7 year olds in our improvised adventure, PF goes on a flying adventure with The Broomstick. But when PF sits on it with bad posture, The Broomstick flies really slowly. But when he’s sitting up straight and holding his head high, The Broomstick is really fast!
 

Vocal volume

It’s Vocal Volume week this week. If you’re a regular Perform parent then you’ll know that teaching vocal projection is very important to us.

We encourage the children to project their voices at all times as it’s such an important life skill. As well as having a loud voice, our clarity and diction must always be excellent and that means paying attention to consonants too.

We play a variety of games to work on how to have a healthy loud, well projected voice, including vocal tennis with consonants, where we “throw” consonants at the children either quietly or loudly at the children and they have to respond by “throwing” them back to us in exactly the same way.

My opinion is...

Each term we like to have a week where our focus is on the children expressing their opinion about something and sharing it with the class. 

We ask the children to review their favourite toy and to discuss why they love it. It’s so good to see the children express themselves analytically like this.

Drama (and thinking as someone else) can really free up the analytical part of their brain as when you’re ‘in character’ you can look at a situation from a different point of view to yours and see it more rationally. 

Sharing

Our focus with the 4-7 year olds is about sharing and we discuss what sharing means and how nice it is to share. We role-play how different it makes you feel when you share as opposed to when you don’t share.

Enunciation

A really fun week this week where we look at Enunciation.

Good enunciation is the act of speaking clearly and concisely. The opposite of good enunciation is mumbling and slurring which we definitely don’t advocate!

We spend a bit of time on the importance of enunciating properly when we speak. For example, imagine ordering ‘french fries’ in a restaurant and getting ‘french flies’ instead!

As well as lots of different tongue twisters and vocal exercises we also experiment by exaggerating our enunciation so really going over the top with this and then bringing it back to a normal level. It’s an excellent way to wake up our mouths and faces!

You’ll no doubt have noticed that the very best actors and speech-makers have brilliant enunciation when they speak and that’s the type of thing we want to promote at Perform, so that they learn it at an early age and have it forever.

Being positive

Our focus this week is “Being Positive” and looking at the bright side of situations.

The 4-7 year olds play a brand new game called “Positive Potion” where they have to create a positive potion by everyone adding a positive/happy word into the magic cauldron. This also helps to expand their vocabulary by offering and listening to different children’s positive words and we make sure that they announce their word in a loud and clear voice.

We play a really fun solo-speaking game suitable for all ages ranges called “Unfortunately/Fortunately” where the children have to one at a time think of something that’s not very good and then they immediately have to think of a positive instead.
 

Thinking about other people's feelings

We’re now well underway into rehearsals for our end of term shows and we have lots of fun going through the scenes, blocking and remembering stage directions.

Our focus of the week is “Thinking about other people’s feelings”. We start off by establishing what feelings are, and act them out both verbally and physically (through mime) and then we led the children through improvisation and role-play.

Vocal dynamics

We have fun this week with our topic “Vocal Dynamics”.

We do lots of work at Perform on vocal projection (and we had a focus on this earlier in the term), but this week we look specifically at how our voice can change depending on the situation we’re in. So we experiment with quiet voices, medium voices and loud voices and do lots of vocal warm ups and games in the process.

We also look at how different situations can affect your voice (e.g nerves) and how you can counteract this with breathing support.

Improvisation

Our special focus this week is Improvisation, where scenes, characters and stories are made up and invented in the moment. 

We do lots of improvisation at Perform, and it is a regular weekly activity, but this week we run the theme throughout the whole session.

One of the benefits of drama workshops is that you get put the children into imaginary situations where they have to think quickly on their feet quickly and problem solve. It helps them practice creative thinking skills and is fantastic for their confidence.

The 4- 7 year olds will play a cross-section of exercises, including improvising making objects with our bodies in 10 seconds, speaking for 15 seconds on our own and giving a reason for why we didn’t take the cookies from the cookie jar! Do ask your child to explain.
 

Standing up for yourself

Our topic this week is Standing up for yourself.

For the 4-7 year olds, in the improvised adventure Morgan Le Fay (King Arthur’s sister) tries to persuade PF to do something against his will and keeps on and on trying to make him do it. Suddenly PF realises that she’s bullying him and he has to stand up for himself, (stand tall, look her straight in the eye, have a confident voice) and tell her simply that he won’t do it. And it works. As soon as someone stands up to her she backs down and is sorry.

It's the week before the show

Next week is show week so we spend a significant amount of the class going through our show and getting excited about dressing up, singing and dancing and performing for our families.

Even though it’s a great 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!

Show time!

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 they go back to Ancient Britan and help Merlin the Magician defeat the evil Morgan Le Fay. They perform dances and songs, and recite raps and tongue twisters including The Broomstick Flick dance, and The Rabbit in a Hat and Black Cat songs.

Fun week!

We have a blast this week and celebrate our term’s work by playing the children's favourite games and giving them a sneaky peek into next term’s theme which sees us heading off Around the World with Phileas Fogg.

Getting to know each other

It’s the start of our term and a new academic year. It’s lovely to see the children again after the long holiday and also to meet lots of new students too.

We always start each term with a communication topic and so we play lots of games around the theme of “getting to know each other”. We role-play how to deal with meeting new people and play some ‘greeting games’ to demonstrate how much fun it is getting to know new people.

Perfect for the first day of term when we have lots of new children joining our class.

Eye contact

Our topic of the week is eye contact, which is a massive focus for us at Perform and one that we work on a lot throughout our workshops.

We encourage the children to give eye contact when they are speaking to individuals and to groups of people too. But, it’s quite normal for children not to look at people when they might not know very well and it’s something that parents often mention when their child first joins Perform.

We explore how to look at people when you talk to them and we play lots of fun games to highlight the importance of this to the children. As always, although the life skills we teach the children are very important we try and teach them through fun and laughter.

Good posture

This week is a very physical and energised lesson based on the topic of why it’s important to have good posture.

We talk about how it’s important to walk with our shoulders back and our head held high as not only is it good for our body but it’s also good for our confidence too.

One of the ways children learn best is through actually acting out the topic so that they understand and empathise rather than us teachers telling them.

With our 7-12s we look at posture not only from a physical point of view but also the benefits it gives to our body language also.

Vocal volume

It’s Vocal Volume week this week. If you’re a regular Perform parent then you’ll know that teaching vocal projection is very important to us.

We encourage the children to project their voices at all times as it’s such an important life skill. As well as having a loud voice, our clarity and diction must always be excellent and that means paying attention to consonants too. We play a variety of games to work on how to have a healthy loud, well projected voice, including vocal tennis with consonants, where we “throw” consonants at the children either quietly or loudly at the children and they have to respond by “throwing” them back to us in exactly the same way.

Critical thinking

Each term we like to have a week where our focus is on the children expressing their opinion about something and sharing it with the class. 

Critical thinking can help to make children more independent and creative, solve problems and construct arguments.

Drama (and thinking as someone else) can really free up the analytical part of their brain as when you’re ‘in character’ you can look at a situation from a different point of view to yours and see it more rationally. So we look at this in more detail with the 7-12 year olds and do lots improvisation, hot seating and role-play work.

Stage directions

For the 7-12s we look in detail at theatrical terms for stage directions. E.G If they are told to enter from Stage Left that means that if you’re in the audience watching they’ll enter from the right hand side.

Whilst we aren’t working on a proper elevated stage, it’s important and interesting for the children to know these terms.

Enunciation

A really fun week this week where we look at Enunciation.

Good enunciation is the act of speaking clearly and concisely. The opposite of good enunciation is mumbling and slurring which we definitely don’t advocate!

We spend a bit of time on the importance of enunciating properly when we speak. For example, imagine ordering ‘french fries’ in a restaurant and getting ‘french flies’ instead!

As well as lots of different tongue twisters and vocal exercises we also experiment by exaggerating our enunciation so really going over the top with this and then bringing it back to a normal level. It’s an excellent way to wake up our mouths and faces!

You’ll no doubt have noticed that the very best actors and speech-makers have brilliant enunciation when they speak and that’s the type of thing we want to promote at Perform, so that they learn it at an early age and have it forever.

Being positive

Our focus this week is “Being Positive” and looking at the bright side of situations.

We play a really fun solo-speaking game suitable for all ages ranges called “Unfortunately/Fortunately” where the children have to one at a time think of something that’s not very good and then they immediately have to think of a positive instead.

Through improvisation, we give them problem-scenarios and ask them to turn them round into positive situations by using their imaginations.

Thinking about other people's feelings

We’re now well underway into rehearsals for our end of term shows and we have lots of fun going through the scenes, blocking and remembering stage directions.

Our focus of the week is “Thinking about other people’s feelings”. We start off by establishing what feelings are, and act them out both verbally and physically (through mime) and then we led the children through improvisation and role-play.

Vocal dynamics

We have fun this week with our topic “Vocal Dynamics”.

We do lots of work at Perform on vocal projection (and we had a focus on this earlier in the term), but this week we look specifically at how our voice can change depending on the situation we’re in. So we experiment with quiet voices, medium voices and loud voices and do lots of vocal warm ups and games in the process.

We also look at how different situations can affect your voice (e.g nerves) and how you can counteract this with breathing support.

Improvisation

Our special focus this week is Improvisation, where scenes, characters and stories are made up and invented in the moment. 

We do lots of improvisation at Perform, and it is a regular weekly activity, but this week we run the theme throughout the whole session.

One of the benefits of drama workshops is that you get put the children into imaginary situations where they have to think quickly on their feet quickly and problem solve. It helps them practice creative thinking skills and is fantastic for their confidence.

The 7-12 year olds improvise using our Ebenezer theme and explore and act out different twists to the plot whilst remaining in character.

Being assertive

Our topic this week is being assertive.

We discuss that being assertive means to be self-assured and confident without being aggressive. It’s a very valuable session, teaching the children that it’s really important to be assertive in situations and drama and improvisation techniques are a great way of getting this message across.

It's the week before the show

Next week is show week so we spend a significant amount of the class going through our show and getting excited about dressing up, singing and dancing and performing for our families.

Even though it’s a great 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!

Show time!

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.

Our 7-12 year olds perform Ebenezer, a specially-written musical based on Charles Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol. 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.

Fun week!

We have a blast this week and celebrate our term’s work by playing the children's favourite games and giving them a sneaky peek into next term’s theme which is Outlaw.

Getting to know each other

It’s the start of our term and a new academic year. It’s lovely to see the children again after the long holiday and also to meet lots of new students too.

We always start each term with a communication topic and so we play lots of games around the theme of “getting to know each other” and we get acquainted with our new theme for the term- The Looking Glass.

Perfect for the first day of term when we have lots of new children joining our class.

Muscle memory

Muscle Memory is the idea that your body can remember sequences of movement. Eventually, once they are stored, you can repeat these sequences without even thinking about it.

This allows us to perform a dance without having to remember which step comes next and leaves us free to concentrate on performing the routine and adding style and energy.

Popping & locking

Our topic of the week is to look at the dance styles of Popping and Locking; which is incredibly good fun.

We learn that locking means freezing from a fast movement and locking in a certain position, holding that position for a short while and then continuing in the same speed as before. Popping is a street dance style actually first seen in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; during a scene where the actress  acts as a music box doll, it is based on the technique of quickly contracting and relaxing muscles to cause a jerk in the dancer's body, referred to as a pop or a hit.

Freeze frames

A freeze frame is like a photograph, where a still image can be examined closely paying attention to body language and facial expressions.

In groups ask the children to create a freeze frames based on a different emotion. E.G Watching a scary film. One at a time we look closely at each individual group and examine it in detail focusing on body language and facial expressions. Then we ask the children to have 30 seconds to change their body language/facial expressions very slightly and re-examine to see that it can become a completely different picture. E.G Watching a scary film could become – Watching a Sad film or a Hysterical Film. The picture remains the same but the body language changes so that it transforms the whole picture.

Travelling

Our weekly focus is the dance term travelling. We look specifically at how we can travel around the space within our choreography and do lots of corner work where we travel doing a particular step from one side of the room to the other.

We play a game called Swarm, where they have to travel around the room as an ensemble and each time choose a different dance step to do it with, but remain within their Swarm.

Isolation

Our focus this week is isolation; which means moving one part of the body independently from the rest.

This is a tricky dance skill to grasp so we play lots of fun exercises around this topic. The children really enjoy experimenting with keeping their whole body still while moving only one part.

Mirroring

This week we focus on Mirroring. This is a fantastic type of dance exercise which helps develop concentration and communication skills.

Mirroring is when one person moves and the other follows as if they were a mirror. It is also a wonderful way to promote physical awareness.

Losing inhibitions

It’s our Open workshop this week when parents can come and watch the last 20 minutes of the class.

Anyone who has ever done a dance class will know that it’s a brilliant way of losing your inhibitions. You may start the lesson feeling apprehensive but once the music and focus on the movement starts – they are soon forgotten.

Our topic of the week is Losing Inhibitions and we’ll play a variety of high energy games to focus on this.

Full out

We'll really go for it this week as we learn what Full Out means- that's dancing will all our heart and energy.

Brain Gym

The Brain Gym is all about the children listening to different sounds and then reacting with the correct movement. We jumble up the sounds so it’s a real exercise in listening and responding.

We also play a fun exercise called The Moving Alphabet. In this exercise the children imagine as well as having a sound, each letter of the alphabet can move and we used this to create our own styles of movement.

Spatial awareness

Our focus this week is spatial awareness within dance.

Spatial awareness is the ability to be aware of oneself in space. It is a really worthwhile lesson exploring just what spatial awareness means through loads of interesting games and exercises. We have a really fun lesson in the process.

Canon

Our focus of the week is to look at the use of canon within dance.

Canon is when a movement is introduced by one dancer and then repeated exactly by subsequent dancers in turn and you’ll see this in most of our Perform X dance routines too, so watch out for it when you come in and see us in action.

Show time!

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!

Fun week!

We have a blast this week and celebrate our term’s work by playing the children's favourite games and giving them a sneaky peek into next term’s theme.

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