I am sure all of us have at one point felt the fear of having to speak to an audience, give a presentation, karaoke, best man speech and in the case of our Star Steppers performing to an audience that is not just Mummy, Daddy, Granny, Grandad, but a sea of unknown faces.
Hannah and I completely understand the panic the children feel, no matter how many weeks of perfect practice in that split moment nerves take over. However the end performance/ the end product is not what drives us to teach – we are far more excited by the process.
When we sit down to plan the terms work we consider the children first and foremost. Everything we do is child-led, after-all it is their class. We decide what skills need introducing and enhancing. We then create and develop our own syllabus of work; we do not rely on or follow a ready-made exam syllabus as a platform for our classes, which can be repetitive and boring. Instead we hand pick the music for our classes, choreograph our own dance routines, select our own songs (often rewriting lyrics) for singing and devise our own scripts. Thus the process starts….
Tentatively spoken lines that progress to clearly articulated spoken lines, with animation and characterisation.
Wobbly new dance moves that turn into impressive diva dance routines with dynamic, expression and a smile.
Songs quietly sung that turn into confident melodies delivered tunefully with good projection, narrative and an ability to bring a tear to the audience’s eye.
Stage fright has disappeared – we are in the presence of a class full of happy, confident children what happens thereafter doesn’t quite matter as we know lessons have been learnt and barriers have been broken.
As the famous lyrics go – “Its not how you start, Its how you finish’ and the children at the end of each Star Steppers termly performance will experience an inner sense of belief, knowing they can. The breadth of their valuable skills has broadened again, skills that they will draw upon and access over and over throughout their lives… when they step out to give their first lecture, present their latest creation, as they share thank you’s at awards ceremonies and maybe even as the first Star Steppers prime minister!
As the great dancer Isadora Duncan said “Let us first teach children to breath, to vibrate and to feel and to become one with the harmony and movement of nature. Let us first produce a beautiful human being, a dancing child”. A great philosophy to base Star Steppers classes upon don’t you think?
Willy Wonka in our Summer Show