Tag Archives: ballet

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

Advertisements

How to Run a Ballet Class for Young Children

Are you ready for a frightening opening statement? Running a class for young children (under 6) is probably the most challenging age group to teach! BUT (and it’s a big but) it can also be the most rewarding, and if you get the right balance of structure, imagination and play you’ll get so much enjoyment from teaching this age group you’ll wonder why you never did it before. Read on for some top tips from Twinklesteps teachers on how to run a ballet class for 3-6 year olds that makes your ballet class the highlight of their week.

1) Be Prepared. It’s that old Girl Guide motto but it’s worth its weight in gold. To make the class run smoothly plan your content carefully, remembering that young children can lose focus more quickly. Think about the parts of the class where the children are most likely to get fidgety (e.g. taking turns) and have a few tricks up your sleeve to manage the group. Even if the class isn’t going quite to plan, stay calm and cheerful. A few minor hiccups and mishaps are part of the territory with this age group and, as long as you’re flexible and have Plan B and C at the ready, you can deal with anything! One tip from us is to always have another music play list ready to use that contains lots of moving around to keep the children engaged on a day when they are not so focused. Then if you need to abandon your original plans for the class that day you don’t have to spend time finding music.

2) Make things Fun. You’re working with very young children who love to (and learn through) play. If you can draw on play as their natural learning method you’re working with, rather than against, your class. 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 – at this age they get very excited to share their ideas. When talking about Twinklesteps (the Ballerina Fairy) a little girl in one of our classes said that Twinklesteps lived in her house with her and they practiced their ballet together, but she didn’t like the Goblin and he didn’t come to her house. This then got all the children excited and they wanted to do the exercise where Twinklesteps and the birds were looking for the Goblin. Some of the children wanted to be the Goblin (they love the Goblin music) and the other group wanted to be Twinklesteps. There was a lot of laughter and excitement when they found the Goblins.

3) Use props. Young children can easily lose focus so experimenting with different props can really re-energize them and spark off their imagination. In Twinklesteps’ classes we use lots of props and it really helps to set the mood and atmosphere for each exercise. We use wings and wands, magic sticks (very popular with the boys), scarves, stars and rainbow rings (to go with our rainbow song). Twinklesteps is a real little girl but she’s also a ballerina fairy and has little fairy friends who live in her garden, so we use a little fairy garden, house or door to add to the magic. It also makes a great focus point in the class and the children love to visit Twinklesteps’ garden and to sing and dance to the ‘There are Fairies in my garden’ song.

4) Practice and Repeat. Young children are very capable learners. Don’t be shy of adding in ballet moves with their proper names. We find with the Twinklesteps Syllabus that the children love and learn through repetition and if you repeat the movements lots of times alongside the name of the movement the children quickly learn the names. We also use songs to accompany our syllabus which are simply structured with lots of repetition. They are within the vocal range of young children so they can easily learn to sing and remember them. Children move on from Twinklesteps with a basic foundation in ballet as well as having enormous amounts of fun!

5) Praise and encouragement. Great teachers the world over know that praise works better than criticism. We find that children respond best when they are rewarded for doing something good even if it’s only standing still and getting ready for the next exercise. This has a knock on effect and they all try to get ready first. It also helps to keep control in a nice way and enables you to move on to each exercise more quickly. Children love to please and for the teacher to acknowledge that they have noticed when they are trying hard is very rewarding for them. Teachers everywhere know how giving out stickers works a treat. At Twinklesteps we have our own custom made reward stickers with different little statements on each one – each child has their own sticker card with their name on to keep and get a special reward when they fill the card.

6) Get the Children Involved. Participation is everything with this age group, and not just in terms of them doing rather than watching, but also in terms of empowering them by asking for their input. Give the children opportunities to make choices, be leaders, answer questions or suggest ideas. This doesn’t mean your class should be chaotic or unstructured, it means incorporating chances for the children to be more involved so they’re active learners. If one child in particular is being a little more difficult or new and a little reluctant to join in give her/him a special job to do to help you, such as giving out or collecting the props (or even just holding a prop that the children are using), or helping with the music – they love to help at this age

7) Review your Content. If the children aren’t doing what you want them to or are playing up, it’s often because the content is too challenging, not challenging enough, or you’re making demands on them that they’re not up to (e.g. a lot of waiting around with nothing to do, a routine that’s too complicated). It could just be that they’re not in the right mood that week! Be prepared to try altering your content for the following week and don’t forget to be prepared with a backup plan. The Twinklesteps Syllabus deliberately contains a lot of flexibility so you can switch between the more technical exercises or enact scenes out of our story book ‘Twinklesteps and the Disappearing Birdsong’, letting the children choose to be the different characters out of the book. 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. The next lesson could be completely different and they could be more focused, therefore you can go back to plan A, B or C and do some more technical exercises. If the children are having fun, you will too.

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. The syllabus is intended to be entertaining [which we sincerely hope it is!] but also educational as we aim to encourage a love of dance and music in a natural and progressive way through play, story and imagination.

We hope you found our tips helpful, these are only some suggestions as we know teachers will have their own way of presenting their class to this age group. Do add your ideas below about what works in your class. If you’re a dance teacher interested in teaching the Twinklesteps Syllabus we’d love to hear from you. Email info@twinklesteps.com to find out more about our ballet programme ‘Dance with Twinklesteps’.

Thanks for reading, from The Twinklesteps Team.

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

 

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 🙂

Halloween Colouring Competition

The season of orange pumpkins, frosty windows, smokey bonfires and cinder toffee is upon us, which means Halloween is hiding just around the corner – wa ha haaaa! We throught it would be fun to run a colouring in competition in the run up to Halloween to give your children the chance to win a pair of our beautiful light-up ballet shoes to dance the wintery evenings away in. Here they are with a quote from one happy wearer:

Light up ballet shoes with quote

And here’s Twinklesteps with her light up shoes:

Twinklesteps wearing sparkly ballet shoes

To enter the competition, all you have to do is print out our Halloween colouring in picture from our website (http://games.twinklesteps.com/Haloween.pdf), ask your child (aged 3-8 years) to colour it in by Halloween (31st October) and email a photo or scan of the finished picture to info@twinklesteps.com. You can also enter via our Facebook page. Here’s Halloween colouring in image, which you can download here: http://games.twinklesteps.com/Haloween.pdf.

Halloween ballerina Twinklesteps

We hope your child has lots of fun colouring, sticking, collaging or whatever they feel inspired to do. The winner will be announced on Monday 2nd November (UK entrants only please aged 3-8 years).

We can’t wait to see your entries so start emailing them into us at info@twinklesteps.com or upload to our Facebook competition page here. We’ll put the entries together in a new Facebook photo album ‘Twinklesteps Halloween Colouring in Competition 2015’.

Happy colouring 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 🙂

New Twinklesteps Dance Programme launches August 27th

Exciting news! We’re delighted to announce that our brand new programme for 3-5 year olds ‘Dance With Twinklesteps‘ will be launching on Thursday 27th August. The programme includes 50 tracks of original and specially composed piano music, two CDs of music for dance sequences, one CD of songs and piano instrumentals, a DVD introduction to the concept behind the Programme with storytelling and excerpts of some of the exercises/dance sequences, teaching notes (including a breakdown of the exercises, time signature, counts, etc.) and a copy of our story book ‘Twinklesteps and the Disappearing Bird Song’.  The program will allow licensed teachers to offer Dance With Twinklesteps classes in their area to help children develop a love of dance and music in a fun and imaginative way, as well as developing a good basic ballet technique from an early age.

Thanks so much to those teachers who have already pre paid for the package. Please email info@twinklesteps.com if you would like to be one of our licensed Dance With Twinklesteps teachers and offer classes in your area. Scroll down to see our FAQ’s about the dance programme:

Dance With Twinklesteps

How can the programme be used?

The programme may be used as a  whole dance class programme  with teachers having the opportunity to hold Twinklesteps Awards  and presenting Twinklesteps certificates and medals. It is also possible to integrate the content with other dance syllabuses to add variety and as a stepping stone to the more formal exams.

Who is the programme for?

Dance with Twinklesteps has been specially developed for the 3-5 year age group. However, the content and songs such as the ‘Little Birdie’ song and ‘Birdie Dance’ also make it very possible to adapt to a younger age group. There is also sufficient progression in the programme for children up to 6 years, which could be used in which ever way the teacher structures her classes. We will be offering add on packages to licensed teachers which will offer further progression as the children develop in their ability and maturity.

The storybook will really help to set the scene and transport children into the magical world of ballet and the programme uses story-centred sequences, covering all basic steps and movements in ballet, appropriate for the age group. We know that boys love to dance too so we do have some fun dance exercises for the boys. 

What’s on the CDs?

The CDs contain 50 tracks of original and specially composed piano music. Two cds of music for exercises and dance sequences, plus one cd of 11songs + piano instrumentals of four of the songs for teachers own use and choreography.

What’s on the DVD?

The DVD is an introduction to the concept behind the Dance With Twinklesteps Programme. Rather than being a technical DVD of a dance class, it demonstrates the concept through storytelling and excerpts of some of the dance/exercises sequences. With the help of a narrator, each exercise and sequence is linked into the next and excerpts from our book ‘Dance With Twinklesteps‘ are read out.

What’s in the Teaching Notes?

The teaching notes provide a breakdown of the exercises, time signature, counts,etc. They also contain some of the script linking to each exercise. This is entirely optional but teachers may find helpful to keep the theme going.

If you’re interested in purchasing the programme (price on request) or want to find out more, get in touch on info@twinklesteps.com or phone 01492 532822/07737 930818. Here’s our invitation:

Dance with Twinklesteps Leaflet 2

 

If you’re interested in becoming a licensed teacher and purchasing the Dance With Twinklesteps programme here’s our contact details again:

Email : info@twinklesteps.com

Phone: 01492 532822/07737 930818

We hope you’re having a great summer, from the Twinklesteps team 🙂