Alltheskills’s Blog

January 17, 2011

The first gig of 2011!

Filed under: choreography, Community, dance — alltheskills @ 10:35 pm

Hello and Happy New (ish) Year everybody,

Naomi and Sean are wondering just how much longer we can keep greeting people with Happy New Year? Naomi plans to keep doing it until at least the end of the first week of Feb due to when Chinese New Year falls.

Anyway today was the first All The Skills gig of 2011 and what a fantastic start to the year it was. Naomi returned to the British Red Cross offices in Bolton to lead a cheerleading workshop with a group of female refugees and asylum seekers.

We started the session with a shake out and  learning to count in the many different languages spoken by the ladies. There were people there from China, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Italy and Pakistan and it was great that everybody felt able to contribute and teach each other something.

The group then learnt a number of cheerleading positions and movements before putting them together into 2 short chants. As well as learning new performance skills, learning the positions and chants were also a fun way of practicing their English speaking skills.

Learning the cheer routine to music was the part of the session the ladies seemed to enjoy the most (probably because Naomi kept forgetting her own choreography much to their amusement!). There was much enthusiasm and plenty of smiling faces which carried over into the last section where participants created and performed their own cheer routine in groups.

The ladies are always a pleasure to work with and very welcoming.  Naomi hopes she can visit the group again soon. In the meantime it is the men’s turn to experience an All The Skills workshop next week. Ben Cottam who runs the men’s group for the British Red Cross in Manchester has booked a creative writing workshop for next week where refugees and asylum seekers develop their writing skills in a fun, creative and imaginative way.


May 3, 2010

All The Skills support Sport Relief

Filed under: Chinese, circus skills, Corporate, dance, entertainment, Stilts, Uncategorized — alltheskills @ 3:38 pm

All The Skills were contacted to provide walkabout and meet and greet characters for the “United Relief” event held at Old Trafford football Stadium on the 1st May.

Keeping in with the “red” theme of the event we sent Terrance our red and black Chinese Lion to entertain the crowds accompanied by a Chinese Schoolgirl on stilts. Several traditional Lion dances were performed much to the delight of the crowds waiting to enter the stadium for the concert and charity football match.

Sean continued to dazzle and amaze bystanders with his contact ball skills and keeping in with the Chinese theme he performed numerous diabolo tricks. The next step is to make him look more Chinese!!!

March 12, 2010

International Women’s Day celebration at Gorton Monastery

Filed under: choreography, Community, dance, film — alltheskills @ 11:47 am

Artistic image of Viral Video rehearsal

Naomi has been involved in making what will hopefully become a viral video!

She was approached by Nathan Rae of Nathan Rae Productions to produce the choreography for the video which was to be filmed as part of the celebrations forInternational Women’s Day at Gorton Monastery.

Nathan planned and directed the video while Naomi taught the group the dance and invented a whole new kind of notation….


The dance was to an original track specially written by Michele Harris of Audio Boutique.

This video had two goals.  Firstly to be a fun activity for all the participants and in this respect it was a major success!  Comments like

“It was one of the highlights of the day!” and “We had so much fun!” came thick and fast as everyone involved really enjoyed it.

Secondly it was to be a “viral” video to raise the profile of International Woman’s Day.

So if you want to help us “go viral” visit here..

Gorton Monastery

Murals were created live as events unfolded....

February 19, 2010

New Year- New Skills

Filed under: Chinese, Comunity, Corporate, dance, Lion Dance — alltheskills @ 11:15 pm

Lion dance performance

This week it was Chinese New Year and to celebrate All The Skills can bring you not one but TWO new skill

As some of you know it is now the year of the Tiger and there is someone we would love you all to meet- TERRANCE!

No Terrance is NOT a tiger but he is Chinese and recently he has been very busy in schools and doing performances showing the people of Manchester what Chinese Lion dancing is all about. All The Skills are able to bring Terrance and his friends plus handler Michael to your school, community group or business for an energetic and colourful session.

For schools we offer workshops where pupils can learn about the history and context of Lion dancing before having a go themselves and playing some traditional Chinese instruments. We have different sized Lions, our small lions are suitable for reception pupils to use while older students may be able to use the more fuller figured Terrance!

Community groups can have a similar workshop session or have Terrance make a personal performance at their event.

Businesses can also hire Terrance to appear at parties, PR events and open days.

Lion dances are often performed by competing Kung Fu schools and Terrance’s handler Michael can also provide Kung Fu workshops suitable for all ages. The sessions could be part of your schools PE curriculum, part of a self defence class for your group or form part of a demonstration at your event.

If you are interested in booking Terrance to come to your school, group or business please email

Lion dance workshop in a school

Book Terrance to appear at your public event

December 17, 2009

The middle of a busy week

Filed under: choreography, Community, dance, Schools — alltheskills @ 12:35 am

Christmas is coming, geese are getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat….

And with the coming of Christmas is the week of Christmas related performances and shows. Monday saw the younger members of Oldfield Brow Primary School drama club present The Snow Queen. They did really well remembering all their lines and stage directions, especially as the majority of them played multiple roles. The group played to a full house without a hint of stage fright which is a huge achievement considering that some of the members were only just 6! I think the parents enjoyed the props and costumes.

Stupidly because she was caught up in the thick of narrating and orchestrating the performances Naomi forgot to take any pictures herself. Hopefully some will appear here soon courtesy of a staff member of the school. The Oscar style awards ceremony also went down well. Well done to Harsha and Wendy for being my stars of the term!

The older group performed a Brechtian style Christmas play based around the idea of Santa being kidnapped. This was a scripted piece but the original ideas and characters came from the four girls. Each girl did very well learning and performing a show heavy in text and stylized ideas…learning their monologues will stand them in good stead for next terms LAMDA exams.

Tuesday saw Naomi and Sean visit Liverpool to meet with their new mentor Mark Featherstone Witty CEO of The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

This meeting was productive with Mark supplying several ideas of how to approach the corporate sector as well as giving us a few contacts. Now to put the plan into action!

Wednesday saw Naomi visiting 3 different projects led by All The Skills’ freelance artists.

In the morning she attended the music concert at St Clares RC Primary School in Blackley where members of the after school dance club led by Paul were performing. The group had learnt a complex routine involving specific timings and not always being in unison but different groups dancing different parts of the routine- the overall effect was very impressive!!!

Paul will be returning to the school in January to work with Year 4 pupils!

Naomi then went to visit the 3rd Stage group at LBT who had been doing art and songwriting but more about that in the next post!!!

Meanwhile Sean was at Salford City Academy where the group he has been working with for the past 6 weeks showed off their newly acquired skills in a mini-performance.

July 4, 2009

Streetdance in urban and rural settings

Filed under: choreography, dance, Schools, streetdance — alltheskills @ 4:41 pm
Freezes and floor work

Freezes and floor work

One group showing excellent teamwork-check that smile!

One group showing excellent teamwork-check that smile!

This week Naomi has been dancing her way around Yorkshire. She started on Wednesday night at the Elland Road stadium in Leeds teaching for Education Leeds. This work involves working with a group of young people teaching a routine to Lady GaGa’s “Just Dance.” This is going to be performed at an awards ceremony in a few weeks time which celebrates the young people’s acheivements through the Playing for Success programme. The young people were great and had an impressive pick up rate, great enthusiasm especially as it was such a hot day.

Thursday Naomi was up bright and early to teach at Tadcaster Grammar School. The day was spent with Year 7 pupils introducing them to some basic Streetdance steps and moves before letting them choreograph their own routines in groups. The day was booked through the school’s Enterprise manager and the aim was to develop student’s creativity skills as well as team work and communication skills. All these skills are seen as part of Enterprise.

There had been a Streetdance club at the school the term before and you could see a real difference in terms of skill and confidence between those who had been members and those who had not. However, most pupils made a very good attempt at the choreography task set with quite a few references to the late Michael Jackson and also Diversity off Britain’s Got Talent!

On Friday it was back to Tadcaster for more dancing with Year 7.  After ironing out all the potential kinks and perfecting the lesson plan yesterday these groups were able to produce a higher standard of choreography and perform with greater confidence. I was really impressed at how most of the groups stayed in time with each other and some of the stunts they pulled off which showed real trust and communication as well as creativity.

what made this morning even better was that some of the PE teachers joined in the session. after speaking with school staff we hope to develop more dance work at Tadcaster Grammar with a focus on involving boys in Streetdance sessions.

May 2, 2009

Charleston dancing with 3rd Stage

Filed under: charleston, Community, dance — alltheskills @ 11:07 pm

22nd April

Naomi runs the second of a series of four Charleston dance workshops for 3rd Stage at The Lawrence Batley Theatre. The first session was only attended by two members so today she was pleased that the group size had grown. While many of the ladies who took part had some ballroom dance experience none had done Charleston before so we focused on learning some simple 1920s style solo steps which we then put together into a short routine.

Naomi also told the group about the origins and social history of Charleston dance.

I was very impressed at how well the ladies picked up the routine considering it was their first time doing this style of dance-they were similarly impressed with me turning up in costume! A 1920s style flapper dress complete with set of pearls!

Some of their comments on the workshop are listed below;

“Brilliant fun, had a wonderful afternoon. Thank God we don’t have prohibition now!”

“Great fun! My two left feet are now one left and one right-I think!

“Excellent! Fun but we also achieved something-co-ordination improved by the end of the session. Thank you.

Naomi teaches Charleston at Bankfield Museum

Filed under: charleston, Community, dance — alltheskills @ 9:59 pm

15th November

All The Skills were contacted to deliver a 1920s Charleston dance workshop to tie in with a current exhibition at Bankfield Museum. The workshop was held in a beautiful room with period features including a lovely fireplace and really set the scene.The workshop was very well attended and participants ranged from 16-over 60s! Good to see that it appealed to a wide demographicNaomi taught both solo and couples Charleston and it was great to see strangers partner up and have fun mastering the moves together!If you would like a 1920s Charleston lesson delivered by someone in period costume (well via bay trading ;-p ) you know where to come!

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