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Evaluating and Watching a Dance Show

As part of my Expressive Arts module’s Portfolio, I had to evaluate a dance show. What better dance show to evaluate than one of my own?

I chose my most recent show that the dance school I help teach at put on in March of 2015. I thought it would be interesting to evaluate something that is potentially my own as I have never thought to or done this before. As I watched, I considered all aspects of the show such as choreography, the stage, the lighting, sound and costume.

The show had a movie theme, with each section displaying the likes of The Bodyguard, Tarzan and Hairspray to name a few. This kept the show organised and family friendly as we used well known films to try and encourage the audience to clap and sing along.

The show opens with a compere introducing the audience to the name and theme of the show with a couple of cheesy jokes to get us laughing. The lights then rise slowly to show the dancers standing waiting and when the music starts a range of fireworks go off! This is a great opening to the show using sound and light to surprise and excite the audience.

Throughout the show, the choreography differs depending on the song. It ranges from modern, to hip hop, jazz, african tribal, contemporary and disco. It is great to see a wide range of dance types that not only differ in style but also in tempo and difficulty.

The stage stayed the same throughout the entire performance. I think this is down to not only the lack of facilities at the venue but also – in this type of dance show there is no need to change the stage set up as it may detract from the dancing. It is just a plain back rounded stage with a white backdrop. The white backdrop was used as a screen on which pictures, words and videos were displayed along to each track. It was a really nice touch to go along with the songs and dances instead of having a plain back drop.

Depending on the song, the lighting differed dramatically. Usually, the lights reflected the mood and theme of the song and performance. For example, with the little ones doing a song from Frozen, there was lots of blues and pinks: blue to represent the ice and snow and pink as it is quite a cute and innocent colour. Whereas when the seniors did Chicago, the lights were darker and red, giving a more grown up, sultry feel to the dance. Noticing the different lighting effects used for each dance made it more apparent to me how important lighting is in portraying an emotion and how it adds to the performance of the dance as a whole. Despite this, i felt that there was a lack in the variety of lighting, for example, there was no strobe lights or spotlights. It might have added a wow factor if there was if these had been included. Also the abundance of pink and purple tones of light were stereotypically quite girly despite there being several boy dancers… could this ave been avoided with the use of blue lights or would this have altered the mood of the performance?

The compere introduced each dance with the name of the song and the group who was dancing each time, which let the audience know these details before the dance started. The compere was funny and made the audience laugh which raised that atmosphere in the room. The volume of the music was loud but not too loud. The music ranged in genre and timeframe which ensured all needs of the audience were met in terms of age and music preference.  The only issue was that on the DVD of the show you could hear the audience chatting in the background which i found to be distracting and rude.

The costumes in dance shows are a crucial part in the stage presence of the dancers. Again, costumes differ depending on the types and style of dance and song. Some were modern, some were old fashioned, some were cute and some were sexy. I especially liked a specific costume that the children had obviously designed and chosen themselves from their own clothes. You could tell that they were really pleased with themselves and it added a sense of personalisation to the dance itself. Along with monkey costumes, there were 1920’s headpieces, 70’s leg warmers, crop tops, sequin jackets and fur lined dresses! The range on display were fantastic and really highlighted the dances and the show as a whole. Some of the children did look a bit uncomfortable in their costume, and were obviously not consulted in the costume before it being chosen. Maybe in future the children’s opinions in costume could be taken into consideration a little bit more.


My favourite part about the show is that I was a part of it. Im sure all of the other dancers would agree. Being a crucial part of the behind the scenes madness, the quick changes, the tears, the false eyelash drama, the glitter spray and the sheer adrenaline that lingers in the atmosphere is something that you just cannot taste by being merely a spectator. The sense of family that is achieved by dancers is unreal and something that  cannot be fully described until one experiences it themselves. I loved the theme of the show and being fully immersed into the differing themes through the mediums of lighting, choreography, costume, lighting and of course the music – sound!

I feel as though there could have been more variation amongst everything. Something wildly different in the choreo, the lighting, the costumes – something that would make the audience gasp! I think props and stage setting could also be used in future to fully enhance the performance to its fullest potential. Technology and pyrotechnics etc, could also be used in performances such as these to add to the already brilliant atmosphere.

Differentiation in Maths Lessons

My group were instructed to create a questionnaire to find out what the most popular flavour of crisps were in the class. This is a very easy and common way to practice data analysis in the classroom. We had to decide what questions we were going to ask, how we were going to record the answers and how are we going to display the results. It was fun to put ourselves in our pupils shoes for a change! We decided to ask “What is your favourite flavour of walkers crisps?” and record the answers using a tally table with pre decided flavours. We would then display the results using a graph!

However, Tara made us consider the different abilities in the class and how we would differentiate to suit these. We decided that as teachers we would hand out pre-made tables to the lower stage workers, where higher groups would design their own. We also decided that we may pair a less able pupil with a more able pupil to work together, so they can learn from each other, as well as the option of group work and working alone. For the lower stage pupils, they may want to record data using forms other than tally marks, for example bullet points, or whatever they feel comfortable with. For displaying the results, the children could choose between a list of various means of displaying data. Starting with a bar graph, up to line graphs and even further. We made a list of all the different types of graph and put them in the order we would teach them.


As a teacher we could also provide a pre made axes for the graphs to the pupils who required it. For others, squared paper and rulers. Also, for the pupils working at a higher stage, they could covert their answers into percentages if I gave them a list of questions. For example, “what percentage of people preferred ready salted crisps?”.

graphs 2

It is always important to consider every one of your pupils needs in every aspect of their learning. Even in a simple lesson like this 🙂

General Progression through Science and Maths

In a recent lecture we discussed the main points of progression through science and maths – points that can progress through every topic.

We spoke about unstructured play, concrete experiences, teacher dependence and the type of language used. When children are first introduced to the world of science or maths, whether that be in the early or first stages they will partake in unstructured play. This is where they play on their own, or with friends and do their own thing – pick their own toys and play as they wish. An example of this could be filling jugs with sand and pouring it out, or mixing sand with water to create sludge. Now as they progress through the curriculum and their knowledge is increased, they will advance onto structured play. This is a more focused form of play where the child knows what they are doing and chooses how they play based on their knowledge. This could be measuring specifically using millimetres and knowing mixing two substances can create a chemical reaction.

For a child to progress from concrete experiences to abstract experiences means that they move from using what happens around them or their previous experiences to thinking in an abstract and creative way. It requires them to use their brain to think up new experiences in their head rather than relying on things that they already know to be true. For example, their concrete experience of numbers is that they start at zero and work up in ones – 1,2,3,4 etc. However, when negative numbers are introduced, and decimals, fractions or percentages they must begin to think of numbers in a completely different way and use their imagination in order to help them progress further.

One of the biggest parts of progression is for the children to develop from being teacher dependent to being teacher independent. This speaks for itself, in the sense that in the beginning of any learning, the child will rely quite heavily on the teacher and the teachers instructions and guidance. In order for the child to move away from this and become more independent they must gain confidence in themselves. One of the most simple examples is when the children start learning the 2x table. They begin by repeating after the teacher, looking to the teacher for guidance or advice if they aren’t sure, reciting at the same time as their teacher. However, once they have fully learned the 2x table and become confident, the children are capable of tackling it on their own – independent of their teacher.

Another point of progression is the type of language used. In the beginning of learning, we use everyday language in maths and science, which develops into using the proper terminology of mathematic and scientific language as they get older. An example in science is that we speak about ‘guessing’ which turns into ‘hypothesising’, and when we learn about how flowers grow in the first stages, there is no mention of photosynthesis until second stage. This is important as at a younger age or lower stage there is no need to confuse the children with complicated words. What is crucial is that they fully understand what they are learning first, this way, we ensure that progression is a smooth process.

Science Investigations!

We began our input today discussing what we though science was in 3 words….BLANK. How do you even answer that question? It is everything. My group decided on: DISCOVERY: ANALYSIS: INVESTIGATION. These are three things widely used throughout science – things science would not exist or be successful without.

We also learned that things such as, planning, data handling, estimating, predicting, hypothesising, observing, measuring, recording, and planning and carrying out investigations.I have quite a lot of experience with scientific investigations from doing two sciences all through high school. Having said this, it is not something I am particularly looking forward or am excited to teach in the classroom. Liz showed us ‘brainstorm’ or ‘planning’ sheets to help us plan our investigation. I had never seen or used these before so it was great to be able to use them myself for the first time. These sheets set out all the information that is needed for the investigation, and all the information that is needed to obtain, as well as asking for your investigation question and hypothesis. These will be great to use in the classroom as it ensures all pupils are on the right track and are given guidance on how to set out the information needed before and after an experiment. These sheets also enforce the idea of constants and variables, which are sometimes very hard to get your head around. Basically, you can have constants – which must stay the same throughout the whole experiment – and one variable – something you alter throughout the experiment.

For example my group were investigating the length of time different materials took to absorb water – our constant being the volume of water, our variable being the material used for absorption. We found that the thicker the material, the quicker it absorbed all of the water – which is what we predicted in our hypothesis before hand. I also learned today that a hypothesis is an educated guess!

What we thought we could do next time to make our investigation better would be to gather more evidence, so possibly carry out the experiments exactly the same a couple of more times, and then come up with an average which makes it a bit fairer. Luckily, our investigation worked for us, and we proceeded to display our results in the form of a graph.

I would really like to use the planning sheets in the classroom if i was to ever do scientific investigations. We used sticky notes to fill in our answers on the spaces today, but I would prefer to blow them on and the children could write on them themselves when needed. I think I would need to plan a series of lessons leading up to the actual investigation to ensure that the children were completely aware and comfortable with the range of scientific terms and problem solving that comes along with it. Things such as, drawing graphs, how to collect information, use a timer, set up the apparatus needed, understanding words such as hypothesis, and to to work their way through the planning sheets. Learning how to successfully carry out investigations from a young age provides a solid foundation for their use throughout high school, which will hopefully aid them in scientific subjects as well as increasing their scientific knowledge and developing scientific language.