As we mentioned in our previous post this term Sean has been running a lunch time circus skills club for two groups at King Davids High School.
All the young people are members of the schools drama and performance groups and this really comes across in their enthusiasm and determination to master new skills and their eagerness to show off what they have learned. When Naomi visited the group it was clear they were loving the sessions with Sean and that Sean’s skills have made such an impression that he has become a mini-celebrity in the school. Below is a short scene from Naomi’s visit scripted for you….
(Sean and Naomi are signing in at reception. Enter female circus club member with friend)
Female circus club member- Sean’s here!
Friend- Who’s Sean?
Female circus club member- Sean does the circus club. He does amazing stuff.
Naomi (to Sean) oooo I think you have a fan.
Female circus club member- Sean is soooooooo cool!
(Naomi nearly dies trying to supress her giggles…..)
We have been very quiet on our blog since before Christmas and some of you might have been wondering where we’ve been. While snow meant a bit of a delayed start to the new year we certainly have not been stuck in the office!
Currently All The Skills run weekly sessions in 4 schools. One of these is Salford City Academy where Sean runs a circus session as part of their Enrichment programme. So far he has been working with Year 7 pupils, some of whom have amazed us with what they can learn in 6 weeks. One boy (called Sean would you believe!) learnt to juggle in less than an hour! Hula hoops, flower sticks and the unicycle have been particularly popular.
This term has also seen Sean start running circus sessions for two groups at King Davids High School. This school has a fantastic reputation for performing arts and this is reflected in the groups who have been attending the lunch time circus clubs. See following “Sean is so cool” post for more info.
Naomi continues to teach drama at Oldfield Brow and after half term both the older and the younger group will be tackling The Bard himself!
Paul meanwhile continues to teach Streetdance at St. Clares -this term it is Year 4s turn to lock and pop and jam.
Naomi has also been learning Chinese Lion dance and we have recruited a Lion Dance and Kung Fu teacher to deliver workshops for All The Skills. See separate post.
Hopefully by this time next week we will also have the new signage on the blue circus van of dreams!
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. http://www.lipa.ac.uk
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.
On Saturday Naomi and Sean ventured 5 minutes up the road to Heaton Park, Manchester to deliver circus workshops as part of the North West celebrations of 100 years of Guiding.
8,500 rainbows, brownies, guides and their leaders braved the wind and rain to take part in numerous activities including drumming, climbing, cheerleading, dance, circus skills and donkey riding. The day culminated in a ceremony where a banner celebrating 100 years of guiding was parachuted in. Impressive!
Unfortunately for Naomi and Sean’s eardrums they were based in the same marquee as the samba drumming workshops. www.batalaliverpool.com These were very popular with 40 plus girls attending each session.
Unfortunately the weather meant that our props were covered in mud very quickly but this did not seem to put off the girls at all! There must be some novelty factor in spinning a plate and covering your friends/leaders in flying mud!!!
The popularity of the circus sessions meant that we were busy all day and Naomi never did get to claim her free donkey ride from Heaton Park doney rides 😦
Freezes and floor work
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.
17th December 2008
After last weeks successful session we were asked back yay! This time we worked with a Year 10 class who were initially a lot more sceptical than year 8 had been.
Apparently they were scared we would turn the into clowns-alas the eternal false equation of juggling=clown !
The advantages of a circus skills session is that with the wide variety of props and things to try there is always at least one thing that appeals to an individual.
A group of girls who apparently never usually engage in sessions really enjoyed using the poi and learning some simple movements with Naomi.
10th December 2008
All The Skills were asked to do a one off taste session as part of the school’s Enrichment programme. It turns out we were covering for the First Aid teacher.The session was with a group of Year 8 students many of them having really challenging behaviour. However, everyone engaged in some part of the session despite one girl walking in and declaring within 2 seconds that she wasn’t going to do anything.Pupil verdict- “This is better than first aid!”