Tag Archives: imagination

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 🙂

 

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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

Garden flower ballerina games

Have you got ballerinas hiding in your garden? If you look carefully you’re sure to find some, you might find they even dance in the breeze! A great game to play is looking around the garden and seeing how many different flower ballerinas you and your child can find. If you have lots like these fushias, why not pick a few and play with a whole fairy ballerina family. You could watch how the flowers move in the breeze and ask your child if they can move like a fairy ballerina too: light, airy and gracefully.

Fushia ballerina.jpg

These flowers might not look so much like a ballerina, but they do bare a resemblance to a tutu. Maybe your child will be inspired to put on a tutu or a swooshy skirt and dance like a flower ballerina. Imagination and inspiration brings out some very expressive dancing 🙂

Flower ballerina tutuIf those flowers reminded you more of a pancake tutu, these ones might remind you of a Romantic tutu:Flower fairy hat

I wonder if the designers of Marie Taglioni’s beautiful Romantic tutu were inspired by nature?

Marie Taglioni wearing a 'Romantic Tutu'

Marie Taglioni wearing a ‘Romantic Tutu’

Do you think Twinklesteps skirt looks like a flower? – she is a nature lover after all and likes nothing better than practicing her ballet in the garden with the birds.

Practising ballet in the garden

Have some fun in the garden looking for flower ballerinas and dancing using movements and dressing up inspired by nature. Don’t forget you can buy our sparkly tutus and ballet adventure book (which the image above is taken from), in our shop here.

Have  fun dancing and exploring outdoors, from the Twinklesteps team 🙂

Shiny New Website now LIVE!

We’re SOOOOO excited here at Twinklesteps because we now have our fantastically super-duper shiny new website to share with you! We wanted to make it lots easier for you to find out all about us and browse in our shop for gorgeous dance wear, ballet shoes and gifts. You can also play games on Flash enabled devices: dress up Twinklesteps in her ballet outfits and choose her magical location – kids love it. We hope you like the new site as much as we do – let us know in the comments section below!

We’ve put some special offers up which will hopefully bring a smile to any young ballerina’s face. You can now buy Twinklesteps’ first ballet adventure book: ‘Twinklesteps and the Disappearing Birdsong‘ with a ballerina goodie bag….a perfect present for a special someone.

Special ballerina gift offer

Special ballerina gift offer

How much do you actually know about Twinklesteps? You probably know she loves dancing and that she has magical ballet shoes. Did you know she also loves adventures, solving problems and making new friends? And that she’s is naturally curious, bold and sometimes a bit cheeky?! You can find out all about her in Twinklesteps World and you can read a beautifully illustrated online introduction by clicking the image below or right here:

Twinklesteps the fairy ballerina, an online introduction

Twinklesteps the fairy ballerina, an online introduction

You can now buy your child’s ballet shoes direct from our shop – yey! Our sparkly ballet play shoes are coming soon, with gorgeous lights that sparkle when your child dances – sign up to our enewsletter from the new website homepage to be get an alert when they’re launched.

We hope you find a little something to buy as a surprise for a special young dancer you know. Here’s that shop link again.

Happy browsing and dancing from the Twinklesteps team 🙂

Ballet Steps for Young Children

Children naturally love music and enjoy moving to it so it’s great to encourage this natural enthusiasm by putting on music and encouraging children to dance. Young children are bubbling over with imagination and creativity so ballet for children up to age 5 is usually aimed at incorporating creative movement with some very simple ballet moves. As they get older they’ll be able to try more and more ballet moves whilst hopefully keeping some of that awesome imagination and creativity. Here are 6 simple exercises, a mixture of ballet moves and creative movement, to try with your child, at whatever level suits them:

Good Toes, Naughty Toes: Whilst sitting, stretch your legs out in front and turn your feet up. Stretch through your feet right to the end of your toes (good toes). Remember to try not to bend your knees. Keep your body pulled up too. Children love this!

Rising Star: Whilst holding onto a chair, rise up onto your toes then see if you can let go and twinkle your fingers like a star;-) This one’s great for improving balance.

Summer Flower: Start curled up in a little ball then put your fingertips together and point your arms towards the ceiling. Unfold your body to follow your arms as you grow, and grow and grow. Stretch out your arms and do a ballerina turn as you unfold your petal arms in the sunshine.

First Position:  Whilst standing, place your heels together and turn out your toes. See how long you can hold the position whilst holding on to a chair or other piece of furniture.

Fairy dance: If you have some fairy wings and a wand you could use them in your dance or you can just pretend. Show lovely little fairy steps and perhaps make some magic with your wand. Stretch your feet, right to the ends of your toes. Imagine you are wearing Twinklesteps’s shoes and they sparkle when you stretch your toes.

Princess Walk: Feet in first position, hold your skirt or put your hands on your waist.
Imagine you are a Princess with a beautiful tiara on your head. Remember to keep your body pulled up and look very proud too.

Watch this video to see Joanna helping you through some steps and exercises. She also demonstrates the demi-plié (plié means to bend and demi means half) which isn’t as hard as it sounds!

Twinklesteps from TudnoTV on Vimeo.

Check out our book ‘Twinklesteps and the Dsappearing Birdsong‘ for some ballet inspiration for your child.

Happy Dancing from The Twinklesteps Team.

Don’t forget to sign up to our blog for ballet and dance inspiration, crafts, competitions and fun! Look over to your right and hit the ‘ooo yes please’ button 😉

We love ballet shoes

We love ballet shoes here at Twinklesteps. The possibilities feel endless and creativity flows freely once a child puts on a pair of ballet slippers. Even before children are old enough to learn ballet steps, just putting on ballet slippers can make them feel like a dancer and inspire them to do some creative movement. Ballet slippers are close fitting and comfortable and make the wearer feel elegant and light footed – they aren’t like other shoes in that they give the illusion and feel of being barefoot. They also enable the wearer to move from a flat footed position to an elevated position on the balls of their feet. Both ballet slippers and pointe shoes (see below) mean that when the dancer’s toes are pointed the ballet shoes extend the line of the leg to it’s longest possible appearance.

Twinklesteps dancing in her ballet shoes

Twinklesteps dancing in her ballet shoes

Most ballet slippers are made of a thin leather sole stitched to soft leather uppers and held onto the dancer’s foot with a single piece of elastic over the instep. Although leather is the most common material, ballet slippers can be made of satin or canvas as well. The colour of ballet slippers varies and although you’ll generally see them in pink or white (or black, white or skin tone for men), slippers can be made in any number of colours.

As well as ballet slippers, female ballet dancers also wear pointe shoes once their feet are strong enough and their teacher feels they’re ready. They have a solid toe box, called the block, that enables the dancer to lift up on to the points of their toes. Intrigued about pointe shoes? Find out more in this video:

Pointe shoes are almost always made from satin stitched to a stiff leather sole. The sole is designed to support the dancer’s arch when she lifts herself up onto the point of the shoe. The point itself, also known as the box or the block, is usually made of layers of material and glue that have dried into a hard platform for the dancer’s toes to stand on. See how pointe shoes are made in this video:

We’ve had a lot of fun on Pinterest putting together various ballet shoe boards. Check out our ‘Ballet Shoes for Dance and Play’ board here.

Happy dancing from the Twinklesteps Team. Watch out for our magical play shoes coming soon in our shop.

Creative Ballet Shoe Ideas

Who loves being creative? Well this week we thought it would be fun to be creative with ballet shoes. Children love using ballet and dance to transport them into a different place and one really fun way of encouraging young children to love putting on their ballet shoes is to decorate them.

Pipe cleaners are a really easy way to get started and can add a bit of colour and sparkle. Twirl and twist them into shapes:

Creative Decorated Children's Ballet Shoes - pipecleaner flower decorations

Creative Decorated Ballet Shoes - pipecleaner twirls

Another simple idea is to attach a flower to each ballet slipper: dried or fresh both work well.

Creative Decorated Children's Ballet Shoes - dried flower decorations

Creative Decorated Ballet Shoes - Flower Decorations

Have any scraps of tulle laying about? How about a tulle rose or ribbons. If you don’t have any, scraps of any material would work well:

Creative Decorated Ballet Shoes  - tulle roses

Decorates Creative Ballet Shoes - tulle ribbon

You could do this activity with your child or give them some materials and leave them to it. Here’s the results of one of our Twinkle fans, aged 4:

Creative Decorated Children's Ballet Shoes - heart decorated

Now it’s time to enjoy some dancing and dressing up. Put on some music and have fun!

Do post any creative ballet shoe ideas you’ve tried to us at info@twinklesteps.com or post your photos on our Facebook page. Let us know what you think in the comments below. Psssst, watch for our very special sparkly ballet slippers coming soon in our shop.

Happy dancing and decorating, from the Twinkle Team.