Latest News Archives - Zest Dance Workshops

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This year in the Summer of 2022 the country marked the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with loads of fun events.

We were invited to Livingstone Primary School in Barnet to take part in their Queen’s Jubilee Celebration, with a fantastic themed day.

They wanted lots of dance workshops based on countries in the Queen’s commonwealth, so they chose the following.

Dance Styles:

India – Bollywood dance

Australasia – A dance based on The Haka

England – English Country Dance

Caribbean – Soca dancing

South Africa – South African dance

We provided five dance teachers to run lots of workshops throughout the day, with all the classes in the school. They had some workshops that lasted longer, for the groups that would be performing the dances at the end of the day.

Queen’s Jubilee Celebration Performance

For the performance, all the parents were invited to come and watch. They gathered in the sports area outside in the lovely sunshine and were excited to watch the school’s special Queen’s Jubilee Celebration.

All the classes were fantastic performing, as they had only had 50mins to put their dances together which isn’t long at all, and the crowd were cheering them along!

Zest Teacher’s Solos

Our Zest teachers also did a performance of their dance styles. We feel it’s great for the children to see professional dancers perform to a high level, so it was really heart-warming to watch their impressed faces as they watched. I hope they felt inspired to keep dancing themselves.

There was even a VIP guest who joined in with the dance… Her Royal Highness herself made an appearance (but they looked a lot like the year 4 male teacher…) It was hilarious!

Take a look at the video below to see our Zest teacher’s in action – plus the Queen busting a groove!

It was a fantastic day, and such a joy to be involved with Livingstone School’s Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations.



We have taught a weekly day of dance for Smallwood Primary School in Tooting, London, for a few years. Seeing all the classes in the school on rotation, we teach dance styles to fit in with the topics they are learning about in class.

During lockdown in 2020 all our classes for them went online, which was a challenge at first. But the children were so adaptable and took to their online dance classes well from their own homes. We got introduced to a lot of pets!

When things eased and the children were allowed back to school (and the parents all breathe a sigh of relief) we continued to teach online for one more term.

International Day Dance Performance

The school wanted a dance put together for their International Day, with all the children in the school involved in one big, exciting performance.

We chose three continents to focus our dance on, India, South America and Africa.

The classes all learnt the same dance routine, which was made slightly simpler for the younger classes.

On the performance day, our Zest dance teacher came to the school to put the whole dance together, out on the playing field. It was so amazing to be back teaching in real life and quite emotional seeing all the children again.

We filmed each class performing their dance and then had it edited it together into an amazing dance film.

The finished dance looked fantastic and it’s such a good memory of what you can still achieve in difficult circumstances.

Music:
Aankh Marey – by Neha Kakkar
Samba De Janerio – by Bellini
Waka Waka – by Capetown

Diversity

To celebrate the diversity of your school, we can bring many different dances from all over the world. This can make your students feel included and proud of where they have come from.

For more info on how we can bring some International dances to your school for International Day or Week, take a look at our cultural workshops here.



Celebrate the 2022 Platinum Jubilee with one of our Queen’s Jubilee workshops!
There are lots of events and activities across the UK leading up to the Jubilee in June 2022. So why not book a workshop for your school and celebrate this important moment in history.

What is a Platinum Jubilee?

This year The Queen becomes the first monarch to celebrate seventy years of service. This is known as a Platinum Jubilee.
She became the Monarch when she was 25years old in 1952.
Throughout the year, The Queen and members of the Royal Family will be travelling around the UK. They will be visiting different communities to mark this important occasion.

Dance Workshops

There are different dance workshops we can do linking to the Jubilee theme:
It’s up to you which workshop theme you’d like to go for. Or we can do a mix of themes for different classes if you want.
These dance workshops can be tailored for KS1, or KS2 classes to make them an appropriate level for the different ages and abilities.

The workshops will follow this format:

  • Brief introduction into the Queen’s Jubilee and it’s history
  • Dance warm up
  • Teaching a dance routine
  • The children may have time to work on and add on a bit of their choreography
  • Cool down and stretch

Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more, or book one of our Queen’s Jubilee workshops in.

For more info on what’s happening around the UK, check out the official Jubilee website here.



Zest teamed up with Alzheimer’s Society to work on their fundraiser called ‘Dance for Dementia’.

It was to create awareness and support for people living with dementia and their families. It’s a cause close to our heart, so we were keen to get involved.

  • Video tutorials

We created three short video tutorials in advance, which people were sent when they signed up to get involved in the event.

  • Video one was learning a breakdance move, which was a funky move on the floor
  • Video two was a Tutting arm sequence
  • Video three was lots of connecting dance moves – Locking, Top Rocks and a kick turn

The idea was that people would learn the moves from the videos and then join us on the live streamed event in October. This had a dance party feel and was lots of fun to do.

  • Dance Party

For the live stream we kicked off with a warm up and stretch. Next we did a quick recap of the content of the three videos. Then we taught some new choreography to create a Street dance routine, which incorporated the video content within it. It was full on and we got sweaty!

People all around the UK got involved online, and we invited friends and family to watch the final performance on the night.

  • Selfie Time!

We finished with a selfie and encouraged others to do the same from whereever they were dancing – to be uploaded to social media using the #dancefordementia

You might spot one from Zest’s Olivia who was running the event….

  • A Brilliant Cause

What an amazing event and such a great idea to link it with dance. Dance is great for helping combat the signs of dementia as it keeps your brain function really active as we get older.

So make sure you KEEP DANCING 🙂

If you wanted to Donate to Alzheimer’s Society that would be amazing. Please follow this link:

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/make-a-donation

Dance for Dementia
Working with Alzheimers Society for their Dance for Dementia fundraiser


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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!)
  • Mindfulness exercises
  • Yoga
  • Arts and crafts
  • Storytelling
  • Drama games

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:

Family Support Facebook

We will be doing a different dance style each week and it’s aimed at Early years and KS1 children.

On the first week we did some Street dance. Our second week (28th of July 2020) is going to be Bollywood dance!

The Family Support group have been really active throughout lockdown, supporting hundreds of families through some really difficult times. We are really happy to be working with such a lovely company.

 


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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.

When

It will be on a Tuesday evening from 7-8pm, starting from the 28th of July till the end of August 2020.

What

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.

Safety

We will be maintaining social distancing at all times. There will be hand sanitiser provided.

Price

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.

Where it is?

A private garden next to the West Indian Cultural Centre, London N8 0DD. Look for the bunting up!

It is a short walk from both Turnpike Lane tube, and Hornsey station in North London.

Class plan

  • Dance warm up
  • Fitness exercises
  • Teaching a Street dance routine
  • Cool down and stretch

Booking

No booking is required, so just turn up, get fit and have some fun!

Any questions?

If you need any other info please do drop us a line or give us a call.

We hope to see you there for a boogie – it’s been way too long!



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.

See the North London cares website if you are interested in joining or becoming a volunteer.

Dance Workshops

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.

Bollywood

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!

Charleston

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!

1950’s

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:

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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.

So please get in touch and we can chat through some ideas.


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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!

Head over to Lucozade Sport on Instagram to see all their videos, and have a go at a range of fitness styles.

My official video

Here’s my official video below, I hope you enjoy it!


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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 –

  • Early Years
  • Level 1 for KS1 children
  • Level 2 for KS2 and above
  • Senior level for any older adults out there wanting to dance

Dance styles

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:

  • Warm up
  • Cool down and stretch
  • Street dance
  • Bollywood dance
  • 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.

Donations welcome!

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.
Here are Zest’s PayPal details: paypal.me/zestdanceworkshops

Courses for getting back to teaching

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.

Book us!

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!

Online dance videos