A couple of weeks ago, with the help and support of my friend and Dance Pad trustee, Sarah, I ran my first ever dance workshop for children and my goodness it was exhausting! My level of respect and admiration for teachers, child-minders and anyone who works with children has gone up a LOT of notches (and it was already pretty high!).
Working in partnership with the Cardinal Hume Centre, we had five girls aged 5-10 years old and they were all brilliant. A little bit apprehensive at first, they soon warmed-up and got really excited about creating their own dance. Inspired by their favourite things, we started the process by listing them. We had everything from zombies to bunnies, football to hula-hooping, oceans to rainbows and lots more in between. We had loads of ideas to work with. I’ll admit, when sapphires were suggested I was a bit stumped as to how we were going to turn that into a dance move… Turns out, the shape and sparkle of a sapphire lends itself rather well – jazz hands anyone?!
At the end of the day, set to Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne’s Rather Be, the girls had choreographed a 2½ minute dance piece entitled Mixture Moves. Despite the nerves they performed it beautifully and received a very well-deserved applause from parents, support staff and volunteers. I felt a bit like a proud parent myself and the girls should all be extremely proud of what they achieved in such a short space of time.
It’s easy to forget or perhaps not even realise that homelessness affects children as well as adults. Fortunately in the UK we have systems in place that mean you won’t find them sleeping rough, but figures recently released by the Local Government Association (LGA) show a 37% increase in the number of children being housed in temporary accommodation – the equivalent of an extra secondary school each month.
It is so important that these children are supported in their early years and are provided with the opportunities to expand their awareness of the options available to them whilst building their confidence and self-esteem so they can grow up to fulfil their potential. It is for this reason that despite being both physically and mentally exhausting, the workshop was incredibly rewarding and something that I very much hope to repeat.
Dance Pad, c/o 2 Prices Cottages, Whitesmith, East Sussex, BN8 6JD
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