Category Archives: Ballet inspiration

The Qualities of a Dance with Twinklesteps Teacher

We’ve had lots of interest in our exciting new dance programme ‘Dance with Twinklesteps’ for 3 – 6 year olds, so we thought it would be useful (and fun!) to share the very special qualities of a ‘Dance with Twinklesteps’ teacher.

We have written and presented the Dance With Twinklesteps programme with the understanding that the teacher has experience in teaching young children and has a strong background training in dance and in particularly ballet. Twinklesteps teachers carefully teach the foundation of ballet technique by following the guide lines in the Twinklesteps syllabus, which uses parallel feet for the very young child. The progression exercises in the syllabus provide a natural and safe development for the children to progress to the next level (primary).

For more on what’s included in the Dance With Twinklesteps programme see here.

Qualities of a Dance With Twinklesteps Teacher

Well Number 1 of course is that all our teachers love children and enjoy interacting with them. They also have the ability to make things fun. Our teachers are great at getting the right balance of structure, imagination and play. Drawing on play as the natural learning method of younger children, means you’re working with, rather than against, your class. Dance with Twinklesteps teachers incorporate role play, storytelling, sensory experiences and, of course, participation. At Twinklesteps we’ve found that engaging the children in the story telling, asking them about their ideas and then acting them out in the class really works: incorporating chances for the children to be involved in the class makes them active and interested learners.

Since these are very young children who love to (and learn through) play, our teachers are able to immerse themselves in all the imagination of this age group and encourage the children to use their own imagination within the class. To be creative and imaginative, to be able to motivate and excite the young children in the class, encouraging the relationship with the main character Twinklesteps, is a great quality for our Dance with Twinklesteps teachers.

We always say to new teachers that it’s important to keep the Twinklesteps’ character real and a focus point in the class, as an inspiring role model for the children and as a tool to base the learning around. After all, we created Twinklesteps as a little girl who loves ballet, so children should feel an affinity with her (Twinklesteps’ best friend Jett has been created as a role model for boys). The addition of her magical fairy powers taps into the imaginative world of this age group and helps them learn some basic ballet steps and movements through imagination and play. The fact that Twinklesteps has shoes that sparkle when she points her toes encourages children to point their toes too. Linking the characters from the Twinklesteps book in the class and even adding some of the children’s own imaginary characters helps the childrens enjoyment of, and learning within, the class.

Leading on from this, Twinklesteps teachers are also great at taking a flexible approach. When teaching this age group on some days you have to be prepared to throw out your planned lesson and go with the mood of the children. This doesn’t necessarily mean always thinking on your feet, many of our teachers have worked out a plan B, C and D to deal with any situation! If the children are lacking in focus for a technical exercise, a back up plan (something more play based for example), can really help. Being able to assess the ability of each child and plan the class to suit the children makes life so much easier for our teachers. The accompanying Dance With Twinklesteps programme music is aimed at encouraging teachers to be flexible in helping the children to respond in different ways through dance.

All our teachers are genuinely warm and kind, with an encouraging style. They understand that young children respond really well to reward and praise and they recognize children’s efforts. Stickers, certificates and praise all help the children to feel proud of their efforts and pleased to be in the class.

Children move on from ‘Dance with Twinklesteps’ with a basic foundation in ballet as well as having enormous amounts of fun! The syllabus is intended to be entertaining but also educational as we aim to encourage a love of dance and music in a natural and progressive way through play, storytelling and imagination.

To find out more about our dance programme ‘Dance With Twinklesteps’ visit here. Email Yvonne MacGregor (‘Dance With Twinklesteps’ creator and coordinator) at info@twinkesteps.com if you’re interested in becoming a ‘Dance With Twinklesteps’ teacher.

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It’s Move It Show 2016!

We’re really excited to be back at The Move It Show this weekend for the second year running. The show has a wonderful atmosphere and it’s so good to be able to meet so many like minded people who love dance as much as we do. Here’s our stall from last year:

MOve

We loved our space so much that we’ll be back there again this year too! So come and find us next to Dance Direct on stall 206.

Twinklesteps the Ballerina Fairy, was created to encourage children to practise pointing their toes and to develop a love and understanding of ballet. Twinklesteps’ magical shoes, which sparkle when she points her toes, will be on sale at the show at a special 20% off discount price. They’re a perfect gift to make the recipient dance with delight – after all, they only light up when you’re moving.

Light-up Ballet Shoes

For dance teachers, the show will be a great opportunity to talk through our new dance programme for 3-6 year olds, ‘Dance With Twinklesteps’. We’ve had wonderful feedback from new Dance With Twinklesteps teachers and we’ll be sharing just what makes our dance programme so special. We will even be offering a 10% discount on the dance programme if bought or ordered at the show!

Dance With Twinklesteps images

As well as our magical light-up dance shoes we will also be showcasing our lovely dance wear and our new custom made Twinklesteps’ Fairy Dress, proudly manufactured in the UK. We know how popular a touch of magic is to inspire young children to dance, so we will also be selling split sole ballet shoes with glitter.

Come and find us on stall 206 and find out why children and dance teachers alike are falling in love with Twinklesteps and her role model approach to ballet for young children. Hopefully see you this weekend, Friday 18th to Sunday 20th March, at the Excel Centre in London! For more about the Move It Show click here and to see our exhibitor info click here.

Move It Show Twinklesteps Advert

The Easiest Ballerina Pops in the World!

We’ve created our very own ballerina cake pops here at Twinklesteps HQ and we’re proud to say, they’re so easy to make that even the Growling Goblin could make them:

The easiest ballerina pops in the world!

The easiest ballerina pops in the world!

Ingredients

Mini meringues
Mini marshmallows
Pop Sticks (or kebab sticks)
Pink Sugar Sprinkles
Icing sugar (c. 1 dessert spoon)
Ribbon (to decorate)

Method

As you can see, the meringue and marshmallows are threaded onto the pop sticks. Because the pop sticks have a flat end, it’s easier to spear the ingredients with a cocktail stick first and then thread onto the sick.

Insert a mini marshmallow onto the stick first to stop the meringue sliding off, add the meringue then finish with two pink marshmallows. Mix the icing sugar with a few drops of water to make a paste and brush around the marshmallow with a pastry brush before sprinkling on the pink sugar sprinkles.

Tie some ribbon around and voilà!

Ballerina Cake Pops

We hope you have lots of fun making these tasty treats at your next ballet themed party 🙂

Love from the Twinklesteps Team x

Ballet Forfeits for Pass the Parcel

This week we thought it would be fun to help you out with some more ballet themed party ideas. Have you ever thought of doing a ballet themed pass the parcel? Well we’re here to help! Below are some handy forfeits you are free to use to wrap up into your parcel. Whatever kind of party you’re organising (birthday, Christmas etc), any kids who love the world of ballet will have great fun with these forfeits.

So, are you ready? Here are your forfeits, cut and paste as you like (the last 5 are Twinklesteps themed ones – find out more about her here):

  1. Tell this ballet joke: “What is a ballet dancer’s number one priority? To always get right to the pointe!”
  2. Do a princess walk around the circle.
  3. Do Good toes, Naughty toes.
  4. Tell this ballet joke: What is a pigs favourite ballet? Swine Lake!
  5. Have a go at a pirouette.
  6. Can you do Second Position (ask someone else to help if you don’t know it).
  7. Tell this ballet joke: “Why did the ballet dancer cross the road? Because she had to practice on the other side!”
  8. Have a go at an arabesque (you can do it!).
  9. Tell this ballet joke: What do you call a dancing lamb? A baa-lerina!
  10. Try First Position (if you don’t know it ask if anyone can help).
  11. Can you raise your arms up like a ballerina?
  12. Do ballerina steps over to one of your friends and tickle them!
  13. Tell this ballet joke: “What is a ballet dancer’s favourite number? Two-two!”
  14. Tell everyone your favourite ballet show.
  15. Show everyone your best ballet move.
  16. Point your toes, just like Twinklesteps.
  17. Wave a magic wand, as if putting a spell on the Growling Goblin.
  18. Imagine you have magic flying wristbands on like Jett and fly around the room.
  19. Pretend to be the Growling Goblin and grumpily move around the circle.
  20. Imagine you are Twinklesteps and practice a ballet move (don’t forget to point your toes).

So there you go. We hope you enjoyed our ballet forfeits and find them helpful. We’ve even attached them as a PDF so you can just print them out and cut them up!

Click here to print out the forfeits: Twinklesteps Ballet Forfeits

If you’re stuck for a ballet themed prize for the middle, how about our ballet adventure book?

Twinklesteps ballet adventure birdsong book front cover

You can buy it here, along with lots of accessories to put in each layer of the parcel or to give out as extra prizes.

Enjoy your ballerina party and don’t forget to let us know how it goes over on our Facebook page. We also have lots of other ballet themed party ideas here on our blog.

Happy pass-the-parcelling, love from The Twinklesteps Team. x

 

Ballet Gifts for Girls

With Christmas just around the corner and the magical Nutcracker season underway we thought it was time to share some of our best ballet gifts for girls. We have some gorgeous dancewear, shoes, books and accessories which we hope you’ll love as much as we do.

Our Sparkling Ballet Tutu Skirt  is a beautiful addition to any girl’s ballet/dressing up wardrobe. It features one layer of pale pink tutu net and two overlapping top layers of hot pink tulle. Scattered with lots of little holograms that sparkle when they catch the light, it’s a skirt to have children pirouetting into their own magical world. It has a very soft stretch waist band in pale pink lycra, featuring the Twinklesteps logo in hot pink glitter text and Velcro fastening for easy fitting and comfort.

Sparkly Skirt and wand

Sparkly Skirt and wand

Wear with the Twinklesteps leotard, add some fairy wings, a butterfly wand and maybe some fairy dust and you are ready to practise your ballet and make some magic.

Our beautiful tutu skirts are made in the UK and at just £16.99 are really great value. Buy here.

Twinklesteps’ ballet bookTwinklesteps and the Disappearing Birdsong‘ is an action packed ballet adventure story. Twinklesteps the Ballerina Fairy uses her ballet skills and magical powers to defeat the Growling Goblin and help her friends. This highly illustrated little book can be shared with pre-readers or young readers up to 6+.

Twinklesteps birdsong ballet book

Twinklesteps birdsong ballet book

Find out all about the fairy who loves to dance and learn the names of some simple ballet steps as the story unfolds. One reader said: “Imaginatively written, beautifully illustrated and a perfect size for small hands to hold and treasure.” Buy here for just £5.45.

Our NEW sparkly light-up ballet shoes are a great present. The shoes light up when you dance and come with a little bag of jewels and stickers so you can decorate them too. A perfect present for all little fairy ballerinas who will love to see their ballet shoes sparkling when they dance, just like Twinklesteps’ shoes. They’re particularly magical when it’s dark! Sizes starting from as small as child size UK size 8/EU 26- adult size 5.5-6/EU39. Buy here.

Dressing up sparkly light up ballet shoes for kids that love to dance.

Did you know we have introduced our very own canvas split sole ballet shoes with sizes starting from as small as child size UK 6/EU 23?

ballet shoes

The shoes come with attached elastics, so no worrying about having time to sew! We love these shoes – just pull the draw strings for a more snug fit – easy peasy! Buy here.

Our shop also sells Camisole leotards in a beautiful classic style, with a moderate scoop back and coloured in pale pink. You can buy both with or without  the Twinklesteps logo across the front in hot pink glitter text.

Twinklesteps leotard
The leotard is smooth fitting in 92% cotton, 8% lycra with 100% cotton full front lining. Your child will feel like a ballerina in this beautiful classical style leotard which can be worn on its own or with the sparkly tutu skirt. Please check measurements in our Size page. Buy here.

We hope you enjoy browsing through our shop to see what inspiring dance goodies we have on offer. Don’t forget, if it’s too dark and cold to dance outside, you can practice your ballerina turns in the house 🙂

Have fun from the Twinklesteps team.

 

Dance With Twinklesteps all around the UK!

The brand new ‘Dance With Twinklesteps’ syllabus is now gaining momentum around the United Kingdom with classes starting up in Scotland, England and Wales. Lots of happy 3-5 year olds are enjoying the world of ballet and dance through imagination and play: looking for the Goblin, exploring Twinklesteps’ garden and lots, lots more. We also have classes starting up in Portugal as well as teachers across Europe who are interested in using the Syllabus – fantastic! We were thrilled to get this feedback from two of our new dance teachers:

Classes are going brilliantly! Thank you so much for creating an excellent Ballet programme!!! The kids love it and everyone is commenting on it.” Justeen Randall, Principal of Razzle Dazzle Performers

Lessons are going great. Children are enjoying them. We read a couple of pages of the story a lesson and then incorporate a different exercise or 2! We love the story!!” Katie Readman, KTZ DANCE

We also had this lovely feedback from one of our Dance With Twinklesteps children who was asked by her mum which ballet class she wanted to go to:

I want to be a Fairy Ballerina just like Twinklesteps so I want to come to Twinklesteps classes.”

To give you a real feel for the content of the ballet classes and the imagination and play elements we’re aiming for, we thought we’d share some photos. These photos are from the DVD, which comes with the Dance With Twinklesteps syllabus. They hopefully give you an idea of the kind of exercises the programme contains:

Twinklesteps’ Garden: the children visiting the fairy houses in Twinklesteps' garden.

Twinklesteps’ Garden: the children visiting the fairy houses in Twinklesteps’ garden.

Sparkly toes

Sparkly toes

Twinkle Twinkle little star

Twinkle Twinkle little star

Twinklesteps and some of the birds looking for the Goblin

Twinklesteps and some of the birds looking for the Goblin

Dance With Twinklesteps Ballet Programme - Music like the Birds

Elves Making Music

Twinklesteps Storytime

Twinklesteps Storytime

Dance With Twinklesteps aims to encourage children to enjoy the world of ballet and dance through a syllabus they’ll fall in love with. Yvonne MacGregor (Twinklesteps Director) and Stephanie Gardner (Musician and Composer) who developed Dance With Twinklesteps, both have a special interest in teaching young children, with the aim of developing a love of music and dance through imagination and play:

We wrote ‘Dance with Twinklesteps’ with the view to introducing very young children, in a fun and playful way, to the world of dance and in particular-ballet. It’s fantastic to hear such lovely feedback from some of the teachers saying that their classes are going really well and that the children are loving them. We are delighted that teachers are embracing and capturing the whole concept of imagination and play, involving the Twinklesteps character and her story book’- which is what we hoped they would do. We hope everyone  will enjoy dancing with Twinklesteps as much as we have enjoyed creating her little dances and music.” Yvonne and Stephanie.

Contact us at info@twinklesteps.com if you’d like to find out more or teach the Dance With Twinklesteps programme in your dance school. Read more about the programme here.

Dance with Twinklesteps Leaflet 2

We hope you’re having a magical autumn. From the Twinklesteps team 🙂

Winter Ballet Shows for Children 2015/16

Hi everyone, we hope you’re enjoying yourselves in the sporadic autumn sunshine we’ve been having. As the leaves start to crackle and fall into a blanket of autumn crispiness we thought it was time to look ahead at what dance delights are in store this winter. We love live ballet performances, there’s no better way to inspire your kids to love dance and also to bring a bit of magic into your lives as the summer waves us goodbye and the winter beckons us in.

First up is the brilliant Ballet Black with their charming performance of Dogs Don’t Do Ballet. The ballet follows the story of Biff the dog who loves tutus, tiaras and ballet a whole lot more than chasing sticks and fetching newspapers! This ballet is suitable for children aged 3+ and is on at Watford Palace Theatre on the 30th and 31st October and Swansea University on the 14th November. One of our Twinklesteps team has seen this and can thoroughly recommend it 🙂 For more info see here.

Dogs Don't Do Ballet

© Bill Cooper.

Wee Cinderella is a delightfully fun pocket sized version of Cinderella by the wonderful Scottish Ballet. Your family can follow Cinderella on an enchanting journey into the woods filled with adventure, imagination and festive charm. This ballet is also suitable for children from 3+, so a big thankyou to Scottish Ballet for offering a ballet aimed at delighting younger children and their accompanying big people. It’s only on up in Scotland during December and January, but might just be worth venturing over the border for! More info here.

© Scottish Ballet

© Scottish Ballet

Get into the festive season with one of Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairytales The Snow Queen. Follow Gerda’s fantasic adventure across the frozen north to rescue her friend kay from The Snow Queen’s Palace of Ice. Ballet Theatre UK are touring The Snow Queen this autumn and winter in a huge array of local venues (find out more here). Here’s a clip of one of Theatre Ballet Uk’s previous tours of The Snow Queen:

Other ballets you can look forward to and find out more about over on our events page are The Tortoise and the Hare, by Northern Ballet and My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty by English National Ballet. So cosy up and watch a children friendly ballet performance this winter: as the nights start to draw in, the magic of ballet awakens 🙂

Let us know what you think of any performances you see and give us a nudge if you see any ballet shows for children we should add onto our events page.

Here’s to a wintery season filled with the magic of ballet, from the Twinklesteps Team 🙂