Tag Archives: twinklesteps

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.

Advertisements

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.

Twinklesteps Ballet Themed Party Ideas

We love birthdays here at Twinklesteps and know that ballet themed parties are a great way to celebrate a love of ballet and dance with all of our budding ballerinas out there. So this week we’re delighted to share with you some ideas for a Twinklesteps themed birthday party. Yey!

First off we wanted to put together some fab making and moving activities your young party goers will love (Pssst…don’t forget to scroll further down for party bag ideas from our shop).

Twinklesteps Party Activities:

1) Decorate your own ballet shoes (read more and download the template for free here).

Twinklesteps ballet shoe craft

2) Make a Twinklesteps dancing puppet (read more and download the template for free here).

Twinklesteps Dancing Puppet

3) Get everyone up and moving with these magical flying wrist bands just like Jett’s (get this craft activity here).

Flying with magical wristbands

4) Make an imagination dance mat to get your young party goers exploring as a team (find out how here).

Dancing on the imagination dance mat

Twinklesteps Party Bag ideas:

Now you’ve got your activities sorted, we have all sorts of party bag ideas for you. From little purses with hair bobbles to take to ballet class, to a ballerina necklace and fairy wand. View these goodies and other fun party bag ideas over in our shop.

Twinklesteps ballet party bag ideas

For a really special present for the party bag our ballet adventure story book ‘Twinklesteps and the Disappearing Birdsong’ would make a great present. You could also read the story out at the end of the party as a lovely finishing touch before home time. Click here to view it in our shop.

Twinklesteps ballet adventure birdsong book front cover

We hope your child has an amazing party full of fun and excitement. Let us know how it goes and what other ideas you come up with by commenting below or over on our Facebook page.

Happy Birthday to all our ballet and dance lovers out there. Love from the Twinklesteps team 🙂

Dance With Twinklesteps

We’re very excited to tell you that our exciting new dance concept ‘Dance with Twinklesteps’ is launching mid August ready for the September term. Dance with Twinklesteps is a new and exciting introduction to the world of dance and ballet for young children, encouraging the development of a love of dance and music in a fun and imaginative way.

Twinklesteps and the birds

Dance teachers will love our programme which includes:

– Detailed Teaching Notes

– CDs (approx 40 tracks)

– DVD (excerpts of dance material)

– Twinklesteps Storybook

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. 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 contains over 40 tracks of specially composed music including dance exercises/sequences and songs with alternatives and choices, plus extra tracks for teachers own use and choreography.

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. Hurry there’s a 10% discount if ordered on or before 14th August. Here’s our invitation:

An Invitation to Dance with Twinklesteps copy

Please help us spread the word about this exciting new dance programme by sharing this post and passing on to any dance teachers you know. Tell us what you think on our Facebook page or Twitter account.

Find out more about Twinklesteps on our website and don’t forget to get in touch on info@twinklesteps.com.

Happy dancing, love the Twinklesteps Team. x

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 🙂

 

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