On Saturday 10th March I led the Grease Dance Workshop at the Assembly Hall Theatre. This blog will outline how I choreographed the dances and how successful the day was.
My research began watching the film ‘Grease’ to gather some movement ideas and an idea of which numbers I was going to choreograph to. The two which stood out to me as being fun and gave me lots of inspiration were Born To Hand Jive and Greased Lightnin’ , two classic numbers which everyone knows and wants to join in with. Who wouldn’t want to be like John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John strutting their stuff?
We decided to work with two age groups - 6-9 year-olds and 10-13 year-olds, and so the fun began…I first began choreographing Grease Lightening with the idea this would be suitable for the older age group. This allowed me to combine my own work as well as taking bits from the touring production, with the help of our good friend YouTube (where would we be without it?!) I wanted to give them a challenge and an insight into the show and that it did. I didn’t realise it was that fast and I could fit so many moves in a short space of time. Greased Lightnin’ took me a few days to put together and after a lot of tweaking and stressy moments it was complete with a few weeks to spare.
Next on my agenda was the Hand Jive, this proved a little more challenging as I had to choreograph this from scratch. I needed to make a decision whether to make up a whole dance or only a section. I went with the decision of lots of ambition and did a whole dance. I took the basic idea of a dance competition - giving the participants an opportunity to show me their moves too (my favourite bit), which was lots of fun.
Before long the day had come around. On the morning I was quite nervous. I didn’t know if the dances would be successful or too hard. The younger group came in first, all bouncing with excitement. This was so nice to see and I began to relax. I felt this first workshop was a huge success, we had great fun together and the kids gave their 100% to the dance. We had some great movers who could teach me a few things – I’d better watch out in the future! The dance worked - Hooray! - and we pulled it together which was fantastic, great work! The reception after the workshop was fantastic. Thank you so much to both parents and the kids.
Next up was the 10-13 year-olds. After such a successful first group I was on a high and raring to go. This was the dance I was worried about but they did fantastically, everyone taking part gave the dance a go and that’s all I ask. We got through the whole dance and they blew me away with their drive to keep carrying on. We got through so much in an hour, I think they were a little shocked. They were so professional. I think we shall be seeing some of these young dancers in the future.
Thank you for such a fantastic day and opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and loved seeing so many groovy movers.
- Kelly Fortune