Five SASM PE QTS year 2 students, were successful in their pitch for a BIG ECHO grant in Spring 2016. The team; James Bidwell, Danielle Hussey, Bronte Senior, Megan Nelson and Elliot Cole were awarded £5000 to create an original dance piece and take that piece into the community- through schools workshops organised and run by Kick-Start and Fidget dance groups.
Now that the project has been successfully completed both Kick-Start & Fidget company members feel the whole experience was really valuable from start to finish. Traveling with a large group of friends and colleagues, performing and delivering a busy teaching schedule was hard work but great fun and enabled lots of valuable professional experiences.
Creating a series of dances suitable for primary and secondary aged pupils made the group think hard about programme design. We had to build work that adolescent boys who hadn’t necessarily seen dance before would like in the same programme as work for students studying GCSE or A level dance and key stage 1 pupils.
One of the most beneficial learning experiences for the team was having the opportunity to visit so many different schools in a short period of time. The students learned vital teaching skills such as how to adapt teaching and thinking on their feet.
“Here at Walsall Academy we absolutely loved our workshop today. Thank you to all the dancers”
Teacher of Dance Walsall Academy
The group worked across 6 schools in the West Midlands (Leamore School Walsall, E-ACT Academy Willenhall, Shireland Colegiate Academy Smethick, RSA Academy Tipton, Barr Beacon Academy Walsall, and Walsall Academy) where pupils had very different social and academic backgrounds, levels of experience and motivation. In some schools they worked intensively with a small group chosen by the teacher and in other they taught multiple workshops to very large groups simultaneously in order to maximise the number of pupils who could be involved.
“[we had] some of the best feedback we have received for workshops, please congratulate your students, we would love you to come back again”
Maggie Lewis, Director Black Country Dance Hub
Elliot said that “one of the highlights for us was seeing how excited the pupils were when we performed our full programme at the Walsall Arts Centre and how keen they were to try to out the dances they had seen and to create their own work similar to ours”.
Danielle commented “we feel we were able to offer a really positive experience and help promote dance in schools were this was none – especially for boys- and give new ideas to schools with existing dance programmes. There were a number of occasions when staff expressed surprise at how enthusiastically the students had worked and how keen they were to show their dances at the end of the workshops.