Tag Archives: ballet

How was Twinklesteps Created?

This week we thought you might like to know a little bit more about Twinklesteps: who she is, where she came from and how she was brought to life. Twinklesteps started out as a bright idea dancing in the imagination of Twinklesteps creator and dance school owner Yvonne MacGregor. However, it wasn’t until Yvonne met writer Andrea Wilder and illustrator Lisa Williams that Twinklesteps leaped into the world and developed into an inspiring role model, encouraging young children to dance through imagination and play. Read on as the Twinklesteps team share all of their secrets about Twinklesteps, the fairy ballerina…

Twinklesteps jumping in light up ballet shoes

How did the Story of Twinklesteps begin?

Yvonne: It all started from a wish to inspire young children to enjoy dance through the magical world of ballet. Most little girls who start ballet want to feel like a fairy or Princess and I wanted to encourage and explore this imagination. I was keen to make the early stages of leaning ballet into something magical, and at the same time provide a visual aid to help them to understand how to stretch right to the ends of their toes. I wanted to create a shoe that would sparkle when they had reached a full stretch through the foot to the ends of the toes – very important in ballet. This developed into the idea of creating a little girl /fairy character who loved to dance and had shoes that sparkled when she pointed her toes. Because the ‘Twinklesteps Full Stretch’ ballet shoes are taking time to perfect, and inspired by children in my own ballet classes who loved the idea of sparkly ballet shoes, I created a different set of ballet shoes that would light up and sparkle when the wearer dances and are not reliant on pointing their toes. The ‘Twinklesteps Light Up‘ ballet shoes have little lights under a pink butterfly that sparkle when the children dance – so adding to the magical world of fairies and ballerinas. The shoes are great fun and intended for imagination and play – the children can now have sparkly shoes just like Twinklesteps. Read more about our light-up ballet shoes here and buy your pair here.

What’s the meaning behind the name?

Yvonne: I thought of the name after developing the idea of the shoes but before I thought of the character. I searched for Twinkle related names but didn’t want the obvious Twinkle Toes. I decided on Twinklesteps, as the shoes twinkle on each step. Twinklesteps then seemed like the perfect name for our new little character. Twinklesteps has taken on a life of her own and the shoes are now just a product that add to the fun of dressing up like Twinklesteps. The boys have not been left out – Twinklesteps has a good friend called Jett who also enjoys dancing and going on adventures with her.

Twinklesteps and Jett ballet

Is Twinklesteps a fairy or a little girl?

Yvonne: I knew that I wanted her to be a little girl who all young girls could identify with and not just be a mystical fairy. I had some ideas of how I wanted her to look but needed help to take my ideas forward. I was fortunate to meet Lisa and Andrea who shared my vision and excitement. We had numerous meetings and discussions of how she would look and had great fun exploring ideas for her character. Twinklesteps was brought to life by Lisa’s wonderful illustrations and by Andrea’s exciting adventure stories.

Andrea: One of the biggest discussions we had early on, was about the magical content of the stories and in particular of Twinklesteps herself. Twinklesteps is a fairy but she’s also a little girl and I was keen to keep the part that children could relate to very strong. She can do extraordinary and impossible things, like fly, but I wanted her qualities to inspire children. I wanted young readers to feel that if they could be brave, courageous, determined, kind and funny like Twinklesteps, they could achieve their dreams or at least give them wings!

Anything is possible - Twinklesteps ballet inspiration

How did the character of Twinklesteps come to life?

Andrea: For me, as the writer, creating Twinklesteps was more a case of allowing her to step through the team’s collective imagination to reveal herself rather than consciously trying to construct a new character from scratch. From Yvonne’s first discussion about her, she very quickly appeared in my mind’s eye and so really my job was to allow that picture to become clearer and sharper in detail and then listen to her voice. That wasn’t very difficult as Twinklesteps has plenty to say!

We bounced ideas around as a team, which is always fun and inspiring. Encouraging children to dance by using dance terminology was always going to be a major feature of the stories. This gave me a very clear framework to work within. Once Lisa presented some rough draft sketches, the stories and characters of the Twinklesteps world took off very quickly.

Lisa: Twinklesteps came to life in the Step One studio – We decided that she was a little mischievous red head with freckles – We also decided that she loved dancing and dressing up in different fairy outfits. Twinklesteps is extra special because not only does she fly, she has special shoes that light up when she dances.

As Andrea, Yvonne and I chatted through our thoughts about the character she became more and more real to us – each of us added to the discussion and Twinklesteps evolved in to the character we all know and love today. When she flies in the rain she has waterproof wings – she even has glow in the dark wings for night time adventures too. I thought her skirt would flow through the air if it were in petal shaped pieces rather than a conventional pancake style tutu then she could return to her ordinary clothes when she is home being an ordinary little girl.

Twinklesteps is a kind friend …not everyone knows that she is a fairy, they think she is just a 'normal' little girl, but we know  otherwise don't we!

Which came first, the story or the illustrations?

Andrea: Lisa and I work symbiotically. I can suggest the way I imagine a character and their personality, Lisa will present some visuals, which in turn spark off stories and further ideas in my head. Before long the characters are chattering away and the stories practically write themselves. It’s wonderful seeing the characters come to life. The stories are queuing up to leap on to the page or, should I say grand jeté.

Practising ballet in the garden

We hope you’ve enjoyed finding out all about Twinklesteps. You can view and read her introductory story for free on our website and you can buy our first book ‘Twinklesteps and the Disappearing Birdsong here.

Happy dancing from the Twinklesteps Team 🙂

 

Make a Nature Ballerina

The summer sun is shining (well, sometimes!) and flowers are multiplying in the garden. If it’s not enough to make you want to dance with the birds like Twinklesteps, it might be sunny enough for some outdoor ballet inspired crafts. Today we thought we’d share with you how to make a nature ballerina with your kids. This is great fun and is an activity to try anywhere – in your garden, on the pavement, in the woods, in the park or even on the beach. All you need is a space to hunt for found objects and a bit of imagination.

How to make a nature ballerina

1) Collect petals, stones, shells, twigs, grass or little outdoor treasures.

Make a nature ballerina

2) Assemble them together to make a ballerina.

Making a nature ballerina

3) Step back and admire your work! Here’s some we made earlier 🙂

Nature Ballerina 1 Nature Ballerina 2 Nature Ballerina 3 Nature Ballerina 4

Have fun collecting garden treasures and make sure you post your creations on our Facebook page. If you need some ballerina inspiration here’s Twinklesteps dancing in the garden.

Practising ballet in the garden

This was a ballerina craft idea brought to you from the Twinklesteps team. Sign up to our newsletter to receive ballet craft and inspiration ideas straight into your inbox, as well as to be the first in the know on competitions, special offers and new products.

Win a pair of Light-up Ballet Shoes

News, special offers, competitions and more…We’re very excited to announce a fabulous competition to celebrate the launch of our e-newsletter. Here at Twinklesteps we’re dedicated to bringing you products, ideas and inspiration which inspire young children to enjoy the world of ballet and dance through imagination and play. We have now set up an exciting new e-newsletter to keep you up to date with our news, special offers, competitions and ballet and dance inspired ideas and crafts to try with your children. If you have children who love ballet or dance or you’re a ballet or dance teacher, you’ll love our e-newsletter.

COMPETITION TIME

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning a pair of our unique light-up ballet shoes (pictured below), is sign up to our e-newsletter before May Day (1st May) and in a whirlwind of May Day Madness we’ll randomly pick one of our new sign-ups to win a pair of light-up ballet shoes.

Light-up Ballet Shoes

So, the most important thing you need to know now is where do I sign up? Head over to our home page, scroll down and you’ll see our sign up area. Pop in your email address and you’re done! We hope you enjoy our action packed newsletters as they come dancing into your inbox over the coming months, and who knows, you may be the lucky winner of a pair of light-up ballet shoes 🙂

Happy Dancing, with love from the Twinklesteps team.

 

Spring into Spring with a Fairy Ring

Yipedeedoo! We’ve now officially bounced into spring and we’re all very excited at Twinklesteps HQ about the lighter days, flowers exploding into colour and those exciting glimpses of warm sunshine. The fairies are starting to yawn and stretch and make an appearance in the garden, so maybe it’s time to discover your fairy name, dream up some magical powers and get out there and join them. We have a fun new play activity to get your going. Find out how to Make a Fairy Ring below…

The sun is shining and there’s so much to do out there in the garden. The birds love to watch Twinklesteps when she practices her ballet moves, I bet they’d love to watch you too!

spring into spring

Can you dance like Twinklesteps in the garden to entertain the birds? You could wear ballet shoes, boots, trainers or even dance barefoot in the spongy new spring grass. For extra magical effect dance in our light-up ballet shoes, which really encourage dance, imagination and play (more here).

To make things even more magical in the garden why not Make a fairy ring?

You will need:
Long ribbons, tulle or strips of material
Bamboo canes (or use existing trees)
That’s it!

Weave ribbon in and out of trees or push a few bamboo canes in the ground and let your child make their own magical space to dance or play in – they might need help to make a doorway. Here’s one of our Twinklesteps fans making a fairy ring. These can create hours of fun and could be as big or small as you wish – the simplest ideas are the best 😉

Fairy Ring magical play

Pssst, Easter is coming. Try our Ballet themed Easter Hunt here.

Have fun, from the Twinklesteps Team.

Move it Dance Show a Success!

We had a fantastic time at the Move It Dance Show over the Valentines weekend as we shared in the excitement of so many people exploring everything the show had to offer.  The atmosphere was buzzing with happy people of all ages enjoying everything to do with dance. Here’s our stand – don’t you think it looked fab 😉

Twinklesteps stand Move It Show

Everyone loved our sparkly dancewear and gasped in amazement when they saw our light up ballet shoes.  See those little bottles of fairy dust on the counter above? We loved that they were such a hit with girls from 3 -18yrs, proving you’re never too old for a bit of magic 🙂  (Pssst, zip away to buy your bottle here).

We had so much interest in lots of our products that it’s difficult to say which one was the favourite but definitely the sparkly skirts and the light up ballet shoes were at the top, along with our story book ‘ Twinklesteps and the Disappearing Birdsong‘.

Twinklesteps birdsong ballet book

Twinklesteps birdsong ballet book

“I am so pleased that our ballet  adventure story book was so popular as children will get to know more about the character.” Yvonne MacGregor, Twinklesteps creator

We also had the opportunity to talk to teachers about our new  ‘Dance with Twinklesteps’ which offers a new concept for their dance classes for young children. Teachers shared in our vision of inspiring  & motivating children to enjoy dance through imagination & play and have signed up for more info on when the class programme will be launched (email info@twinklesteps.com for more info).

What an amazing event, and a wonderful opportunity to show and share Twinklesteps to so many dance enthusiasts.  It was such a great success that we have already booked to do it all again next year!

Keep in touch with us by following this blog (enter your email address over on the right of this page) or follow us on Facebook or Twitter for news, dance inspiration, competitions and special offers 🙂

We had so many lovely comments about our products at the show. If you haven’t had chance to browse our magical ballet shop yet, you can check it out right here – do let us know which of our products you love the best. Happy dancing. x

Twinklesteps at the Move It Dance Show

We’re very excited to announce that we will have a stand at the Move It dance show this year on the 13th-15th February! Held in London, it’s the UK’s biggest dance event with an expected 24,000 dancers. This makes it a great opportunity for Twinklesteps to meet more people who love to dance and for you to have enormous amounts of fun! There will be live performances, classes, seminars, interviews, dance fitness demos, freebies, advice, shopping and exhibitions. We can’t wait!! See highlights from 2014 here:

We’ll be showcasing our new light-up dance shoes and our ballet adventure book ‘Twinklesteps and the Disappearing Birdsong’ as well as telling you about our new dance concept for your dance class: ‘Dance with Twinklesteps’ .

Twinklesteps ballet book and light up ballet shoes

We’ve had a lot of interest in our light-up shoes which are perfect for dressing up, dancing and imaginative play and are a wonderful way to inspire children to dance. We’ll be offering a 20% discount on the shoes if you buy or order them from us at the show too! Our book spreads a love of dance and ballet to young children by transporting them into a world of magical adventure with Twinklesteps the fairy ballerina as an inspiring role model.

Read our online entry on the Move It Show website here and book your tickets here.

We’ll be on stand 206 for all three days of the show and we really hope to see you there. Tweet us @Twinklesteps1 if you’re going and come and say hello 🙂

Twinklesteps’ Best Stocking Fillers for Girls

Do you have a little girl who loves dressing up, imaginative play, dancing and magic? Then this is the blog you need to read! Not only do we have a special discount offer on our unique light-up ballet shoes (see picture below) running from today until the 15th December (see our Facebook page for the discount code!), we have a delight of stocking filler fairy and dance inspired goodies for you.

Light up Twinklesteps ballet shoes, ballet adventure book and crown

 Top Stocking Filler! Ballet Adventure Book

Our popular Twinklesteps ballet adventure book ‘Twinklesteps and the Disappearing Birdsong’ is a brilliant read either for young readers (age 6 +) or to read to younger children. Learn some ballet moves, meet the Growling Goblin (he’s not that scary really 😉 and discover why all the birdsong has disappeared from Twinklesteps’ garden. This book is aimed to inspire young children to enjoy dancing and has proved popular with fans:

“I so love this book and the beautiful illustrations. My little girl is only 3 1/2 but adored the story and the pictures and asked me to read it three times back to back!”

Buy yours here.

Ballerina Necklace

Ballerina necklace

A lovely little treasure to find tucked into a Christmas stocking. This pretty necklace will have pride of place in a jewellery box and it’s a great price too at just £2.50 🙂 Buy yours here.

Fairy Dust

Fairy Dust

Twinklesteps, the fairy ballerina, loves to take a little bottle of fairy dust with her when she goes off on her adventures. This perfect and tiny little pressy will add some extra magic to Christmas. Coming in a pretty, pink organza bag and only £1.50 you can’t get better than this for a perfect stocking filler. Buy yours here.

Ballet shoe purse

Twinklesteps purse

A great little purse for keeping your pocket money in or your hair bobbles ready for a ballet class. Coming with three pink hair bands this will make another great present to fill up a Christmas stocking. Buy yours here.

Butterfly Wand

Wings, wand, tiara set

What Christmas would be complete without some dressing up and dancing. A wand will encourage imaginative play, and lots of smiling 🙂 Buy yours here at the bargain price of £1.99.

We have loads more dance and magic inspired goodies in our shop as well as dance kit – have a browse here. If you haven’t yet seen our our new light-up ballet shoes we have a discount for you of £5 off – visit our Facebook Page to find out the code. This is only valid until the 15th December so HURRY!!

Have a fantastic Christmas full of dancing, magic and mischief, love from the Twinklesteps team 🙂 x

Light-up Christmas with Twinklesteps’ new ballet shoes

Ding-a-ling, ding-a-ling….Christmas is coming and we already know lots of parents who will have children smiling from ear to ear after receiving some Twinklesteps light-up ballet shoes this year. If you haven’t bought a pair yet you have until the 1st December to take advantage of the 20% launch discount rate. Here is a reminder of what they look like and below are 10 gobsmacking reasons why they would make the best Christmas present EVER:

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

1) If your child loves to dance this is the gift for them. What could be more irresistible to dance in than beautiful glittery ballet shoes which light up when you dance, twirl, leap or pirouette! (P.S – some adults have bought them too, so big or little, they’re popular with anyone who loves to dance 🙂

2) These ballet shoes are unique – you won’t find them anywhere else. They even come with a little bag of jewels so you can personalise them further. Ooooo the fun of it..

3) It won’t only be the Christmas tree which sparkles in the dark this year, these shoes provide a pretty awesome light show if you switch off the lights and watch your child leap about in them. “I love my feet dancing in the dark. They’re pretty!” Freya, age 4

4) These dressing up ballet shoes encourage imaginative play. They’re so magical and other worldly any child won’t be able to help imagining themselves away into another time and place. The shoes are based on the magical character of Twinklesteps, a little girl who is also a fairy, who LOVES to dance and has shoes that sparkle when she points her toes.

When I put on my light up shoes I pretend I’m a fairy ballerina like Twinklesteps. I like making up my own dances and do little shows for my mummy. I pretend I’m on stage and everyone can see my shoes lighting up when I dance.”  Lwsi, age 4

5) They’re affordable, especially with our fab discount until December 1st – buy your pair quickety quick!

6) They’re perfect for any little girl who aspires to be a ballerina, whether they go to ballet classes or not. These light up ballet shoes are aimed at any child who loves dressing up and imaginative play so they don’t have to be going to a ballet classes to imagine they’re dancing like a true ballerina.

7) The lights are made to last. The unit has been programmed to turn off the led lights automatically, if there is no movement after 30 seconds . The shoes can then be carried in a dance or school bag and so saving the life of the battery. It is even possible to change the battery if need be.

8) The shoes are comfortable – an impressive feat considering a ballet shoe has virtually no sole and is of very thin fabric and leather. The unit has been attached safely to the shoe under a beautiful butterfly and has been given the thumbs up in terms of comfort from wearers.

9) Remember that excitement of opening your presents on Christmas Day? Well this is the sort of present that will make Christmas magical: spine-tinglingly, dance for joy type magical too. Who needs a white Christmas when you can spirit yourself away to a magical world: dancing in Frozen’s ice and snow with Elsa or dancing through the jungle as Pocahontas. Yippee!

10) Our fab Twinklesteps dressing up shoes would be the perfect accompaniment to a Twinklesteps book for a child who loves to read and explore the world of dance through a magical character. We also sell accessories and dance kit, both for the dance studio or for imaginative play. Explore our shop here.

We’re so excited about our new Twinklesteps dressing up shoes and we hope you will be too. The Twinklesteps brand is all about inspiring & motivating young children to enjoy the world of ballet & dance through imagination & play and we hope you delight in seeing a special someone you love being inspired to dance through our new light up shoes. Here they are in our shop at the special launch discount rate of £19.99 for just one more week! Check them out and let us know what you think, either here on our blog or on our Facebook page 🙂

Happy dancing from the Twinklesteps team.

NEW Light-up Ballet Shoes!!

Yeeeeey!!! We’re bursting with excitement here at Twinklesteps because our long awaited sparkly dressing up ballet shoes are now available in our shop.

Light up ballet shoes for children

Our NEW Dressing Up ballet shoe has little lights under a pink butterfly that sparkle when your child dances. These gorgeous shoes are perfect for imagination and play purposes and the fact they are ballet shoes means they’re ideally suited to dancing, twirling, leaping and pirouetting. The shoes are based on the magical character of Twinklesteps, a little girl who is also a fairy, who LOVES to dance and has shoes that sparkle when she points her toes. The children can have lots of fun creating their own stories or enacting some of Twinklesteps’ adventures (buy the Twinklesteps book here).

Our new shoes are a play version of Twinklesteps’ ballet shoes so will light up simply by moving about – there’s no better way to get your child inspired to dance! They’re great for giving little shows at home to friends and family and to add to the excitement…..dim the lights! Twinklesteps creator and dance teacher Yvonne MacGregor explains why she was inspired to develop these unique dance shoes:

“When teaching little children to point their toes I tell them to imagine they have diamonds in their shoes, but they will only sparkle when they point their toes. With this in mind I started to create a shoe that would be magical and at the same time would motivate them to stretch right to the end of their toes. My little ballet girls inspired me to create the Dressing Up shoe. They kept asking. “When are we getting the sparkly ballet shoes?” I realised that they just wanted shoes that sparkled when they danced. I put the first shoe on hold and started working on a shoe that would light up and sparkle when they danced and that was not just reliant on them pointing their toes.”

How do these amazing ballet shoes work?

The idea to create a magical ballet shoe that would flash led light has certainly been a challenge. The difficulty being that a ballet shoe has virtually no sole and is of very thin fabric/ leather. The trainers and outdoor shoes with the flashing lights, have thick soles in which to house large battery units and sensors.

The sensors and components for the ballet shoes had to be small enough to fit on a circuit board that was not going to take up too much room on the shoe. The biggest challenge with both the shoe projects was finding a way to attach the unit safely to the shoe without causing any discomfort to the children given the thin fabric and make- up of the shoe.

The software programme has been developed to detect the movement and to activate the led lights to flash. The unit has been programmed to turn off automatically, if there is no movement after 30 seconds . The shoes can then be carried in a dance or school bag and so saving the life of the battery – it is possible to change the battery if need be. The ballet shoes have been inspected and evaluated in respect of the EN62115:2005.

Help your child love to dance by buying your pair here.

Enjoy, from all the team at Twinklesteps 🙂

Twinklesteps wearing sparkly ballet shoes

Fun Halloween activities to do with your kids

Scary fun is just around the corner. That’s right, Halloween is coming…and we thought we’d share with you a couple of fun activities to do with your kids! 

The first is our NEW Twinklesteps Halloween-themed colouring in sheet which has just gone up on our website in time for Halloween. With Twinklesteps dressed up in a witches hat dancing in the thick of the action, holding a pumpkin, surrounded by a ghost, spider and bat it’s just the thing to get your kids in the Halloween mood.

Halloween ballerina Twinklesteps

Download the colouring in sheet from our website here: http://twinklesteps.com/colouring/. We’d love to see your child’s pictures so do share them on our Facebook page and we’ll repost to all of our fans.

If your child fancies dressing up as a Halloween ballerina you could have a go at making your own Halloween tutu using orange, white and black tulle. Pick some up from your local scrapstore or fabric shop and tie around a loop of elastic for an easy costume idea for your child. They can also help you tie the tulle strips around the elastic so it’s a fun activity to do together.

Halloween home made ballet tutu costume

Add a black leotard and tights and a black bow to your child’s ballet slippers and they’ll be dancing all the way to the Halloween party! Don’t forget to check out our blog post ‘Ballet inspired Halloween‘ for more ballet-themed ideas on dressing up this Halloween. After all, with fantastical plots, magical themes, dark characters and the other worldly feel of ballet there’s a wealth of ideas from the world of ballet to inspire you this Halloween.

Ya-ha-haaaa and have a ballet-inspired Halloween from the Twinklesteps Team 🙂