We have teamed up with the Family Support group who are an online support network for families and children across London.
They offer loads of activities online for children to do. Things such as:
Dance (with Zest!)
Arts and crafts
Over the summer holidays Zest is doing a live dance session every Tuesday morning at 11am on their Facebook page. Please tune in to dance along with us, or watch it later when the time is good for you. Take a look at the Family Support group’s Facebook page for more info:
Come along to an outdoors dance class, we are starting them up for the summer!
We are very excited now that the government guidelines say we can do exercise again in groups outside. It’s a small start to getting back some kind of normality, and means we can teach dance again to real life people and not just in online virtual scenarios – yippie!
So we are putting on an evening outdoors dance class in North London in a large private garden space.
It will be on a Tuesday evening from 7-8pm, starting from the 28th of July till the end of August 2020.
Street dance is the main dance style we will be focusing on. We will do a different routine each week to current chart music. Street dance is made up of lots of different dance styles, such as Hip Hop, Locking, Tutting and many more. But don’t worry, we won’t be doing any Breakdance in these classes!
For more info on what Street dance is like, click here.
Who can come?
It’s for adults of all abilities and no previous experience is needed.
We will be maintaining social distancing at all times. There will be hand sanitiser provided.
We are charging £5 per person which is paid in cash on the day.
What do you need to bring?
Just wear comfortable clothes you can move freely in, and trainers. We suggest you bring a bottle of water too.
Zest has done three dance workshops with a lovely organisation called North London Cares.
They are a charity who encourage older and younger people to connect with each other. London can be a fast paced and lonely place, so they bring all walks of live together to form friendships and create a feeling of community and support.
They have several groups around North London and they run loads of socials, events and workshops, as well as organising outings for the members.
We love our sessions with them, dancing with the members, chatting and getting to know them all. We always leave feeling a great sense of warmth and support from everyone.
The three dance workshops we ran were in Bollywood, Charleston, and 1950’s dance.
To make it suitable for older as well as younger people, we have to pitch the dance so that everyone feels they can get to grips with the dance moves. We encourage everyone to join in, and welcome all abilities.
We have experience working with people who have Dementia, so everyone is made to feel included in our workshops.
The Bollywood session was really busy with about 30 people taking part. It was in Islington which is a really multi-cultural area, so we had a lovely mix of people of different ethnicities taking part.
We bought belly scarves and Bindis for everyone to dress up in, to get into the spirit of the dance.
We started the session by explaining some of the history of Indian dance and about the culture. Our dance teacher was in a full Bollywood costume with lots of jewellery – so everyone enjoyed seeing that.
We did a warm up to start the session, before teaching a simple Bollywood dance routine.
They performed the routine at the end and it looked fantastic!
This was a smaller group in Kilburn and we had a really focused session. They wanted to step back in time with some 1920’s dance.
We started with a talk from the Zest teachers about dance back in the 1920’s and how it was affected by the changing world at that time.
Next we did a full body warm up and learnt how to do the famous Charleston move with your feet. Then as an added challenge we tried some Tandem Charleston. This is where you face a partner and do the Charleston move connecting together – it is really tricky and involves lots of concentration and strong team work!
We then put all the moves together into a 1920’s themed dance routine, and their end performance was full of character!
To celebrate the end of the summer in 2019, North London Cares were having a Grease themed party. We were so happy to get an invite!
Our teacher went all out in a 50’s style dress and really looked the part. There were decorations up, themed food, great music and all the staff dressed up as characters from the Grease film too.
There are loads of great dance moves from the 1950’s, so we taught those to start off with.
Then we put all the moves together and taught a dance routine to “Great Balls of Fire”.
Loads of people joined in and the end dance looked great – it was so much fun! But don’t just take our word for it – take a look at the video at the top of the page of the last dance…
At the end one of the older members came to talk to us. He said he does Swing dance once a week and asked our teacher for a dance. Swing dance is not easy and there are lots of different moves you need to know, and you really have to follow the person leading. He was brilliant and she had a tough time keeping up with him!
Here are some pics of us in action:
Book us for your Senior Movers!
We would love to deliver a pre-recorded dance or a live online session for you. Take a look here for more details about what we can offer your Senior Movers.
It’s Olivia, Zest’s director here. I am really excited to have been selected for the Lucozade Sport initiative, to be part of their ‘Keep us moving’ campaign!
‘Keep Us Moving’ campaign
It’s an initiative to keep the country fit and active while we are all on lockdown. Lucozade are selecting a different fitness professional to feature on their social media platform every day.
The Lucozade Sport initiative are supporting the entries by giving them lots of exposure on their social platforms. They are also paying them £1,000 each! What a wonderful thing for them to recognise that we have had a sudden loss in our jobs and that they want to keep us going. A brilliant company all round i’d say.
Criteria for entries and inspiration
I had to submit a fitness instruction video which lasts no longer than 15mins
It can’t use any fancy equipment in it
It’s got to engage the audience, and take them through a workout to keep the nation fit and active.
It was hard to decide what to do for my video. There hadn’t been any dance ones on there so far, so I wasn’t even sure they would want one as it was really different from their current videos.
They lay music over the top of the video afterwards, so it was hard for me to create it without a beat, as I usually use music first to inspire the dance. There wasn’t much space at home for me to film it, so I had to keep everything contained. I wanted to do something interesting, yet pretty mainstream to engage as many people as possible…
So I went for Tutting! It’s a form of Street dance which uses your arms and fingers. It’s pretty static with your body, plus it looks cool, so it was a good choice I thought.
I waited 4 weeks before I heard back from them, so I was convinced I hadn’t been chosen. I was over the moon when they contacted me to say I had been selected as one of their featured videos!
Well it’s been a crazy three months for us here, as well as everyone around the world. Trying to keep our loved ones safe and healthy, and keeping a eye on our mental health in a world that is changing all around us. It’s not been easy, but creating our dance videos online has helped us through!
Our last day of teaching
Our last day of teaching was on the 19th of March. We taught Brazilian dance at St Peter’s School in Hammersmith, and it was a really fun day. But there was sadness too as we looked at the clock at 3.15pm and realised we wouldn’t be standing in a hall watching children go home for a long time… See pics below
It dawned on us that all our workshops that were booked in for the busy summer term would probably not be going ahead. This is frightening and so disappointing. It’s our busiest time of the year and we love travelling around the country and heading back to schools we teach in every year. We had loads of exciting workshops coming up and getting our head around the fact that they wouldn’t be happening was hard.
We also felt so sad for year 6 who might not be able to finish off their primary school experience.
So many questions are going through our head:
What are we going to do now?
How do we make a living?
Can we survive till September when the schools will most likely go back?
How will children get on not being in school for so long?
What will happen to the exams coming up?
Dance videos online
We couldn’t just sit around, watch daytime tv and eat all the biscuits – we had to keep busy and creative! (ok we have eaten a fair few biscuits too…)
So we decided to make step by step dance tutorials to put online. We have sent these to all the schools, groups and organisations that we have taught in over the last few years.
They are to help give teachers some online PE and cultural resources to send home for the children. Also for the children who are still going into schools, they are able to do the videos on the classroom whiteboard, or in the hall.
We’ve head from one teacher that he walked past a year 1 class recently and they were doing our Jungle Animals video – and our heart burst with pride!
The videos are in different levels –
Level 1 for KS1 children
Level 2 for KS2 and above
Senior level for any older adults out there wanting to dance
We have put up dance videos in different styles, and we will be adding to these as the weeks go on.
So far we have:
Cool down and stretch
VE day dance
Jungle animals creative dance
50’s and 60’s dance
We’re going on a bear hunt dance
We have done one special video for Lucozade Sport, and one for the Family Support network which has had over 14,000 views so far!
Or get in touch if there’s a specific dance you’d like us to do for you.
We have made the videos free for all, as we know lots of people’s financial situations are all up in the air at the moment. We feel that the most important thing is keeping everyone fit, creative and enjoying dance.
But as Zest Dance Workshops is not receiving any income now, we are asking for a donation where possible, to help keep the business afloat.
We have loved making these videos, however they take a lot of time to create. So if you would like to donate for our planning, choreographing, filming and editing time, we would be extremely grateful.
Even a donation of an hour of our time (£20) could help toward keeping these videos coming.
All of our teachers have done an online course on how to minimise the spread of Covid 19. So that when we are back in schools we will have plenty of information on best practice to stay safe in these difficult and new situations.
We are desperate to start coming into schools/groups again and sharing our passion for dance. So when the time is safe to do so, please get in touch, as we would love to bring a dance workshop to you.
But for now – enjoy the online videos and stay healthy – and KEEP ON DANCING!
We were asked to do some youth group dance workshops for a group in South London called ‘Between The Tracks‘. They were putting on a community event as part of a fund-raising project to raise money for the group.
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