Workshops.... What's the big deal?

So you/your child goes to a class every week. They love their teacher and the style of dance and they are progressing well. So what is the point in paying for an extra class over the holidays or a two hour workshop with a different teacher? I’m about to tell you……

Firstly, workshops allow teachers to spend more time with their class members as class sizes are usually smaller and they are longer in length giving the teacher more time to work with students. In a workshop it gives the teacher the opportunity to demonstrate more challenging choreography as they have more time to explain and help students who are struggling.  Therefore dancers have the opportunity to learn something that may never be covered in class at their level. It could also give them a head start on choreography or steps that will be taught in a future class of theirs.

 Curtis has a packed out breakin' workshop for charity

Curtis has a packed out breakin' workshop for charity

At Sylk we try to get in teachers from outside our staff who are either highly recommended or are professional dancers/choreographers. Again this gives dancers the chance to not only learn from someone new but also from someone who has experience with auditioning, performing and competitions. There is also the opportunity as with in any workshop to ask more questions and find out more about how the teacher got to the level they are at as a dancer now. Outside teachers often bring something new to a class such as a real focus on technique or they may be more strict and really drill a routine. It gives us as regular teachers the chance to see how much our dancers can be pushed as well as the dancers challenging themselves. There is often the need to impress in an outsiders class so everyone usually puts that little bit extra in to the class! Everyone wants to be top of the class don’t they?!!

 

 A trip to Manchester to learn from one of Usher's backing dancers!

A trip to Manchester to learn from one of Usher's backing dancers!

Finally, I want to be clear that my passion for workshops doesn’t just promote what we do at Sylk. I try to get inspiring teachers from different backgrounds who teach a variety of styles so we can offer our students the best. However I would encourage any of our dancers to take workshops all over, no matter what dance school or brand it is, it doesn’t matter! It’s the learning that counts not where its coming from. I am a believer in creating fantastic dancers, giving children confidence and opportunities to progress. If another teacher somewhere else can help me with that goal than fantastic!

Get out there and find a workshop now! Get inspired, try something new. Keep an eye out for our Sylk Summer workshops which are listed in the newsletter and soon on the FB page  :)

 

Workshops allow dancers to take a class from a teacher that doesn’t currently teach their class. This is an extremely valuable experience as every teacher is different. Even if it’s the same style, same move that is being taught there are so many variations that you can learn. Teachers have different styles of delivering a class also which means you/your child might respond better or faster to one than another; something might click that didn’t in a previous class or simply a quieter environment with more intimate instruction might help you/your child to crack a move!!

 Lizzie Gough: Professional dancer, judge and star of 'So you think you can Dance?' 

Lizzie Gough: Professional dancer, judge and star of 'So you think you can Dance?' 

From a non-learning perspective workshops also give the opportunity to mix with other dancers from different classes and different age groups and abilities. The benefits of this are that dancers can make new friendships, learn from other participants as well as the teacher taking the class and enjoy being part of the larger scale of Sylk Dance rather than experiencing  just what happens in the regular weekly class. Workshops are often different to regular classes and allow participants to express themselves a lot more. There are often more opportunities to share and perform, battle or even play games or do tasks that involve progressing in a particular skill. They are fabulous for confidence building!

 School Holidays Cheerleading workshop

School Holidays Cheerleading workshop

I don’t just believe workshops are beneficial for our dancers but also for our teachers. I have been teaching myself for 13 years now and when you teach so many classes a week it can sometimes be a struggle to be inspired or to find something new to offer. After all, once you have passed on all that you know to your dancers surely you are no longer a worthy teacher? I strongly believe that as a teacher it is still important to learn from others. Even professional dancers who perform on TV and in shows are always training and taking regular classes to keep improving. The great thing about dance is that you can learn from anyone. I learn things and get inspiration from dancers in my classes all the time! The more you are out there experiencing new things with different people, teachers and events the better dancer and teacher you become.

 'Move it' dance convention London. Experiencing workshops, performances and up & coming styles/trends. 

'Move it' dance convention London. Experiencing workshops, performances and up & coming styles/trends. 

 

 

Make a Music Video Workshop!

In this amazing summer workshop children will receive a day full of workshops in a wide range of styles from Commercial Street to Breakdance. Dancers will then be a part of creating, leading and staring in a music video using various locations. There is also the opportunity to have professional pictures taken on the day. The three packages available are as follows. ….

 

A: Workshops Only (10am-4pm) (£30)

 

Dancers will learn several routines from a range of teachers as well as working on technique and performance skills. The styles of dance will vary throughout the day from Commercila Street to House, Breakin’ and Hip Hop. Teachers include Amy, Rikki & Sophie.

 

B: Video Package 3 days (2 days 10am-4pm 1 day 10am-2pm) (£60)

 

Dancers will do all the workshops from package A where they will be then put in to groups/categories based on their ability. From here they will all be given different roles for filming so that all children can have a special, individual part in the video. On day 2 children will finalise routines, brainstorm and plot ideas for filming and eventually go to location 1 to begin making the video.

 

Day 3 dancers continue to film and finalise their routines in two other locations. The video will then be edited and a copy given to each child to keep.

 

C. Full Package (3 days as above) (£75)

 

The full package includes all of package B but with professional, edited photos of the child at different locations. Photos will be available on disc for you to do with them as you wish.

 

There has to be a limit to how many children we accept on the full music video experience so please book asap. A deposit of £20 will be taken when you book and the rest is payable a few weeks prior to the start date. Full dates/details will be available very soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Street Crew Competition Triumph!

On the 13th March we took our Street Crew to the North West Competition ‘Street Dance Challenge’ in Liverpool. As our second comp of the season it was a magnificent triumph with Sylk bringing home 8 trophies. This was our first time competing in duo’s and we had two teams get a place in the top 5!! Emily Davenport & Kalum Heathcote came 4th in age 10 & under and Isabella Harrison & Olivia Wild came 2nd in age 12 & under. We also bagged two solo trophies with Lydia Parker getting 4th and Emily Davenport 3rd. However, my proudest achievement as a teacher was to watch every single one of our dancers make it through at least one heat and most through two! This is a real sign that hard work is paying off for the team and they are getting the rewards they deserve. Our final victory came with a 3rd place in a very tough line up of teams. We had very strong competition so I was ecstatic when Hazard placed!

 Showing off our trophies at the end of a long day!!

Showing off our trophies at the end of a long day!!

The children also persuaded me to take part in an adult competition where I won a trophy of my own! This was great to see things from the children’s point of view and to understand how they feel with a room full of eyes on them as they dance! It’s not as easy as they make it look and I have even more respect for them now for putting themselves out there at every comp and win or lose having an upbeat and positive attitude. I strongly believe that competitions are certainly not all about winning trophies (although it is nice). I encourage the dancers to enjoy their day watching the other talented teams, to learn from other dancers and be inspired by their technique and choreography, to bond as a group, to build their confidence and take part in any battles, cyphers and interaction with the judges. That’s what it’s all about. If we don’t win or get where we want to be we ask ourselves why and how we can get there next time, we support the other teams and we still come home smiling.

 

Every competition is different and this one was a triumph for us on so many levels. It was also great to have support from the parents of the dancers’ participating; cheering us on, encouraging the kids and seeing them so proud of their children. I also watched throughout the day like a proud mum myself as the children are like a second family to me. Seeing them do so well gives me some clarification that I am teaching them well which is always good to know! It makes me excited about the future and what we can achieve and excited about Sylk Dance Academy. Look out for our two new teams that will be entering competitions soon. Jordon’s Intermediate totz and Sophie’s new age 13+ Crew. Watch this space!!! 

Taking Congleton by Storm!!

Last Tuesday (23rd Feb) we started our first classes outside of Macclesfield at Congleton Leisure Centre. I recall when we began Sylk Dance Academy in 2009 with 2 classes beginning with around 6-8 students in each class. At the time it was a hobby not a business venture but as the classes began to fill and new classes opened up we knew we were on to something! It wasn't easy finding brilliant teachers which have allowed me to expand Sylk Dance Academy and open up so many new classes, but I have been very fortunate to find some incredibly talented staff who are not only good at what they do but genuinely care about the children in their classes and about Sylk Dance Academy. That is what I think makes 'Sylk' successful. 

I am very proud to have Sophie Coleman lead our Congleton sessions and I have already had some fabulous comments about her upbeat personality and professionalism. Sophie is a talented dancer who has competed herself in worldwide Street Dance championships. She is an experienced teacher and is knowledgable not just about Street styles and choreography but also knows about it's history and where it all began! Most importantly though she is one of the most positive, happy people I have had the pleasure of meeting and her enthusiasm really rubs off on the children she teaches.

I am excited to say that after just one week we started our classes with a total of 23 children which is amazing! I can't wait to build these classes and evolve just as we have done in Macclesfield, offering a progression from beginner to competitive level classes as well as other new classes like Cheerleading & Gymnastics. All I can say is watch this space! There are already plans to open another branch of classes outside of Macclesfield and one day perhaps we will have studios all over the UK?! Here's to my wonderful staff, parents and children who have supported Sylk Dance Academy. Thank you. 

For more information on our Congleton classes visit the Timetable on our website or contact us 

Amy Mayers

Sylk Dance Academy Principal.

 

 

 The newest member of our team Sophie Coleman

The newest member of our team Sophie Coleman

UDO Street Dance Exams

Below is some information on the Street Dance Exams we offer and what your child would need to do for the exam. 

Who are they for and why do them?

The exams themselves are the United Dance Organisation Street Dance Syllabus exams. These are available to Boys Street, Breakdance, Beginners Street, Intermediate Street and Street Crew. The reasons behind this are that the syllabus covers all areas of Street from Locking to Hip Hop and Breakdance and therefore only classes that cover this will be able to understand what is expected of them. I have opened the option up to Breakdancers as they can choose two styles of Street to specify in so Breakdancers could do Breakdance and House as Rikki has been working on this with the boys. However for a full understanding and for those who aspire to progress through all the exams I would certainly suggest doing the Street Dance Class to work towards this.

The exams are a way of showing or proving what level your child is at as a dancer. They ensure your child is learning accurate techniques and it gives them feedback and areas to work on and progress in. Eventually dancers can chose to take a teaching qualification. The levels go from pre-primary and primary to levels 1-6 finishing with a teaching qualification.

 

What do the children have to do for the exam?

All children regardless of whether they are taking the exams will learn 2-4 routines in different styles. Those learning more than two will be able to choose which 2 routines they prefer to perform for the exam. These are only very short. Dancers must also choreograph their own routine for 32-64 counts. As the levels progress there are more elements to the exams however all of our dancers will currently be taking Pre-Primary, Primary or Grade 1 which stick to this simple format.

In order to book your child on to the exam you must pay a deposit of £10. The remainder of the money will be paid when we return in the New Year. The exam your child is eligible for is listed below with the total amount payable.

 

 

Beginners Street: Pre Primary £20

Intermediate Street: Primary £25

Boys Street: Primary £25

Beginners Breakdance: Primary £25

Intermediate Breakdance: Primary £25

Street Crew: Primary £25

 

To book and pay please hand in money to your class teacher in an envelope with your child’s name clearly written on, what class they attend and their age. Once we have all entries in we will contact you to confirm the date of the exams. Entry will close on the 19th December when we finish for Christmas.

 

'Classes 4 Kickz' Charity Workshop

Our students having fun on the day 

Look at all these shoes!!

On the 8th November we had a special treat! Curtis Young from CBY Squad Manchester came to visit us to develop the kids breaking skills as well as supporting a charity close to his heart. The 'Classes 4 Kickz' charity is supporting a bigger initiative where dancers are visiting Uganda and teaching Street and Breaking skills to enhance the lives of the children there. These dancers are in need of suitable footwear to take the classes and workshops like ours are helping to make that possible.

 

With each child donating a pair of trainers (or even more) we have raised over 40 trainers with more coming in still!! I also feel the dancers learnt some really valuable technique which will help to improve their skills overall. I know many of you are keen to have Curtis in again so we will arrange something for the New Year. Thanks again to everyone for your support with this and for your donations.