My Silver Arts Award
I gained my Silver Arts Award in December 2015. I posted my work on this page.
Unit 1a - Arts Challenge – Identify and plan an arts challenge
State the art form for your arts challenge:
The art form for my challenge is
Identify your strengths and weaknesses:
I would say that out of all my performing skills I am most confident and am strongest at SINGING and ACTING. I have gained much experience in these two areas over the last couple of years and feel that my skills have improved. I have increased my singing repertoire and perform confidently in shows and concerts. I have improved in my acting by working with many local theatre companies where I have gained principal parts in shows and with NAPA.
I feel the least confident and have the least experience of DANCE. I am able to remember routines but want to become more confident and learn new techniques and be able to enjoy it more and use my increased skills and confidence in my stage and performance work.
Set yourself an appropriate challenge that focuses on acquiring and developing new skills.
My challenge is to become as confident and as good at using DANCE in my performances as I am at singing and acting and to seek out and make the most of any opportunities available for achieving this.
Prepare a detailed action plan to show how you will achieve your challenge.
Include how you will monitor and measure your progress and achievement.
In all the rehearsals I am involved in over the next few months, I am going to focus on improving the DANCE element of my performances. There are many routines I will be working on so I have many opportunities to put this action plan into place.
I will pay extra attention than previously in rehearsals.
I will aim to concentrate very hard on remembering routines.
I will practise routines much more at home.
If available to view, I will research the dance numbers I am learning performed by professionals (you tube, live shows)
I will video myself dancing to help me remember the routines and improve my technique.
I will learn new techniques.
I will ask for extra help and coaching if necessary to improve.
I will try to be more positive towards this area of performing arts.
How will I monitor and measure my progress and achievement?
I will think about the items I am working on over the next few months in my rehearsals, concerts and shows which involve any type of movement or dance and really focus on this element of them according to my action plan. As well as always thinking about my action plan above, I will make a mini action plan for each item to identify what I need to do to focus more to improve my skills and confidence. For each set of rehearsals/performance I will monitor and measure my progress and achievement for each and review and evaluate what effect my action plan has had.
Unit 1b - Arts Challenge – Implement and review the arts challenge
Gather evidence about developing your skills throughout your arts challenge, adjust plan where appropriate.
Share what you have achieved with others
Prepare a review reflecting on your challenge; how it went, what you learned, how your skills have developed.
ACTION PLAN: 1. National Academy of Performing Arts (February 2015)
Learn dance routine for ‘Revolting Children’ from Matilda as the character ‘Bruce’ whilst singing the main solo part. Rehearse until perfect ready to perform on West End Stage then adapt routine for at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham. Research the West End version, watch videos on youtube and remember what this number felt like to watch when I watched it on the West End last year.
Monitor and Measure progress and achievement: Watch video of rehearsals, see what needs to improve. Rehearse more. Try to project voice and be clear when concentrating on dance moves and order. Evaluate final performances on West End and in ‘Letters Entertain You’ (April 2015) – Videos
I performed this 3 times in public:
West End, London -February 2015
Review/Evaluation: After rehearsing this, we still had to adapt the routine totally in an afternoon at the theatre because I had a hand held microphone and the stage space was different. I came on for my solo with a hand held microphone and then had to move to the side door to hand it over and then carry on with the routine as we had rehearsed it. We had to move some parts of the dance so that we were nearer to the stage microphones at the front. We had to work hard to learn it again very quickly to perform it on the night. This can be seen by comparing the rehearsal clip to the actual West End performance.
We didn't have much time to rehearse the changes but I felt confident that I could do it and still get my dance steps in.
Rehearsal for West End
West End Performance
Flash Mob – Midland Arts Centre, Birmingham (Café area) – March 2015
Review/Evaluation: Again this was different - the start was unusual and had to be adapted to suit the area were performing in. I have never done a ‘Flash Mob’ before and was very nervous as I started the whole performance on my own walking down the stairs singing the solo without a microphone and then came into the café area where the other members gradually joined in with me. (Click on button below to see clip). Good experience to perform in a completely new setting and public venue. Again we had to be very aware of the space available to fit in our dance moves.
Letters Entertain You – Midland Arts Centre- April 2015
Review/Evaluation: This was more like our original routine as we had a good floor space in the MAC theatre. However, we worked on sharpening our moves and making sure that we were synchronized and that our 'singing' moves were near the stage microphones. (See clip below) I felt the most comfortable and confident in this performance and so enjoyed it the most. I think that it was a good representation for me of all the work I put in. My vocals were good whilst I was moving.
More general reviwing and evaluating ...................After working on this particular routine and performing it 3 times in public, I feel like I gained many more skills. After reviewing rehearsal videos and a video of the first performance together with listening to advice when rehearsing, I feel that I am now much more aware of how to interact with other dancers and when to blend and be part of the group and when I have to make my moves more pronounced and 'big' when it's my solo part and can also cope with microphone holding issues. I am now quite envious of the West End professional performers as they perform this song in the same way every night! Also, watching the West End performances and videos of rehearsals really helped with voice projection and sharpening moves.
FEEDBACK: Audience members said to me afterwards that my performance was strong and that the whole dance routine was very 'slick'.
My choreographer Emily John was pleased with the way I adapted to the 3 different performance types and venues, and stated that I 'had grown in confidence and my dance moves were much more fluid' and that I 'did well to give a professional performance despite the late changes'. I was really pleased that I was able to perform this song and dance in different ways and in different places with and without a microphone. I think it was a very useful experience to have and taught me to be ready for changes that may have to be made quite late on even though you are so used to what you have rehearsed for weeks. I now feel more confident that I would not panic if this was the case again and would be able to cope with changes to routines before performance.
ACTION PLAN: 2. National Academy of Performing Arts (February 2015)
Visit from professional dancer Mitchell Harper to give a dance workshop. Attend session. Focus on learning new more difficult routines and develop memory and stamina to complete a dance.
Monitor and Measure progress and achievement: At the end of the workshop, compare videos taken at different times and look at evidence of improvement in my memory, technique and performance.
Dance at National Academy with Mitch Harper February 2015
Mitchell Harper is one of our patrons at National Academy. We often have professional performers visit us to do workshops. Read all about him here:
Review/Evaluation: I found this workshop very difficult at first as there was a lot to remember, but we worked for 2 hours on one routine and eventually I started to remember it naturally and not actually think of it as separate moves but as one dance.There was no singing in the first routine which I was glad about as I don’t think it would have been very easy to sing and do the complicated moves. I enjoyed the second routine we did from ‘Hairspray’ much more as it’s more my scene and I am more comfortable with it and we were singing too. The whole workshop did help me to improve my stamina and concentration. Over the videos that were taken at different times, it can be seen that there was an improvement in my performance. (see clips above). This was the first time within a routine that I had experience of splitting off and alternating between paired work and group work. I also learnt from Mitch the importance of a good warm up and some techniques to help with a more smooth transition between moves.
FEEDBACK: I asked my Director (Jay Coleman) at the end of the session how he thought I had got on and he said that he 'was very impressed with how I had managed to pick up the routines, how hard I had worked and concentrated and how I seemed to enjoy the session'. I was pleased that he said this as I really did try hard and felt that I picked up the steps very well in this session although I did find it challenging. I asked Mitch Harper before I went home whether he thought I had coped and kept up well and he said he thought that after looking very scared at the start, I settled down and improved alot with remembering the moves and keeping up.
ACTION PLAN: 3. Knowle Musical Society – The Addams Family (March 2015)
Learn dance routines and movements involving the whole ‘Family’ as Pugsley. Rehearse until known to improve memory and then improve quality of singing/acting whilst dancing.
Monitor and Measure progress and achievement: video not available. Photos. Feedback from director, audience. Watch carefully whilst the other 'Pugsley' is rehearsing.
Review/Evaluation: We rehearsed twice a week over many weeks to learn these routines on the run up to the show. We went over and over them until we knew them so well that we didn’t have to think too much. When we had got them really good it was then easy to improve the vocals. I don’t have a video of the routines but feedback from the audience was good and they said the singing was strong. I felt very confident in show week and wasn’t worried at all. I was able to fit in the moves that were for my character quite easily into the whole routine and I am finding that I am remembering routines much better now than previously.
FEEDBACK:The director was very pleased. The choreographer Rachel Tuton said over the course of the rehearsals and the performances in show week that 'as a whole the routines became more fluent and our coordination with one another improved drastically'. I really enjoyed dancing as 'Pugsley' the character and was able to act out the part in my dance as well as blending with the rest of the 'family'.
ACTION PLAN: 4. Alcester Musical Theatre Company – The Full Monty (March 2015)
Learn the new adapted dance basketball routine for the different stage in Stratford.
Monitor and Measure progress and achievement: Is it going right in rehearsals? Rehearse the lift more with one new cast member.
Can I remember the new order? Watch the final video to see if it ‘looked’ good.
Review/Evaluation: For this performance we had a new cast member who was involved in my ‘lift’ move which was quite difficult. We had to more or less start the routine again from scratch after the October performance. I had to remember the new order of cast to throw the basketball to. This was good experience because it was about learning to adapt a routine so that it would work and look good at a different venue. It felt very weird at first as we had all practised it so many times before for the stage at the Palace Theatre in Redditch . The stage at the ArtsHouse in Stratford was smaller so we all had to get a sense of the new space available. However, after quite a few rehearsals we began to feel more comfortable and the routine got smoother and the new cast member who was involved in my lift got very confident. For many of the audience it was the favourite part of the show. (see clip above). With regards to techniques learnt, this is a routine that involves a prop (the ball) and it's not just a matter of dancing whilst holding the prop, you have to move the prop as part of the dance. It was quite nerve wracking to make sure I had total contol over the ball when throwing, catching and bouncing it. Also, I had to try and look a little bit graceful when climbing for the lift and being lifted. It took many attempts at the lift before I felt confident enough to step into the hands of those who were lifting me as I had to trust that their hands were there as I stepped into mid air and then trust them not to drop me. This is not a type of dance that I am likely to have the opportunity of learning often so I feel lucky to have gained this sort of experience. Although I gained confidence throughout the rehearsals and show week I had to keep telling myself to concentrate all the time, as if I had dropped the ball or lost control of it at any time it would have been a disaster. I absolutely loved rehearsing and performing this routine.
FEEDBACK:Many audience members came to me after the performances and said that this routine was their favourite part of the show especially when I was lifted into the air. Dawn Tolley the choreographer worked us very hard but said that our routine was 'amazing and very funny and by the time you got to show week you made the lift look very easy'. I was very pleased that Dawn was happy as we had all worked hard to make this scene look good and be a very entertaining part of the show.
ACTION PLAN: 5. National Academy of Performing Arts (April 2015)
Learn how to do ‘tap’ dancing in rehearsals for our new production ‘Footloose’. Buy some tap shoes.
Research the Musical of Footloose – watch DVD (2 versions) and stage version on YouTube. Look at techniques used by professionals.
Monitor and Measure progress and achievement: assess my enjoyment, suitability and ability for this type of dance.
Learn new techniques and see if I can use them. Concentrate very hard in increasing my memory skills and try to absorb myself into the dance so that I am fluent and one move goes into another without me actually thinking about it.
National Academy First 'Footloose' Rehearsal April 19th 2015
Review/Evaluation: I was really interested to hear that we were going to do some tap dancing in the opening number of our new show ‘Footloose’. I have watched the film versions and really liked the dancing and the music. I have some new tap shoes and in our first rehearsal I learnt some tap moves -
It took me a while to get used to it and I felt silly at first. After the first half an hour though, I really began to enjoy it. We learnt the song at the same time as learning the dance and this helped me to remember the moves more easily. I did notice that the stage version dance was different to what I had seen in the films but I did recognize some of the moves we are being taught. (See clip above). I learnt certain tap specific steps like 'shuffle ball step' and 'crab roll' as well as increasing my knowledge of dance terms like 'box step'. This has been easier since I bought some tap shoes.
FEEDBACK: Our NAPA choreographer for this number Attiye Partridge said that I 'did really well to become so fluent in such a short space of time, and was an impressive first time tap dancer!'. I was very keen to make a good start to tap dancing which was even more fun with my friends. I am now really enjoying all the dancing we are doing and look forward to dance sessions much more than I did.
You can see from the videos taken at the 2nd rehearsal how much everyone had improved. This was only my second ever tap dancing session. My feet and legs really ached afterwards.
Focusing on my dancing for my Silver Arts Award has worked!
After 2 weeks of auditions (May 31st and June 8th) in singing, acting AND dancing, for 'Footloose' - NAPA's next show, I got one of the principal parts of 'Willard' which involves loads of dancing. Result!
Unit 1c - Arts Pathways – Review arts events
Review at least one arts event
For this part of the unit, I am going to compare 3 versions of the Addams Family I have seen within the past 6 months and write a review of one of them. When I first got the part of ‘Pugsley’ with Knowle Musical Society, we went to London to see some shows and found out that The Addams Family was on at Brookside Theatre in Romford. We got tickets as I wanted to see it all through, get to know the show more and study the character of Pugsley. After that I was involved in rehearsing with Knowle and got to see it and then 2 weeks afterwards I went to see Worcester on Stage perform it at The Crescent Theatre in Birmingham. After the comparison, I have written a review of The Addams Family at The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham.
Unit 1d - Arts Pathways – Arts research
Present information that you have worked alongside arts practitioners
Say what you have learnt about the practitioner’s career and work.
Singing Workshop at National Academy with Christopher Orton October 2014
We are very lucky at the National Academy as we are often visited by professional performers. Christopher Orton is one of our patrons and he came to do a singing workshop.
Read all about him here:
Dance at National Academy with Mitch Harper February 2015
Mitchell Harper is one of our patrons at National Academy. We often have professional performers visit us to do workshops. Read all about him here:
In the shows I have been in recently I have also worked with directors, musical directors and choreographers.
(I have programmes with details in).
Evidence of research into career pathways and other opportunities within your chosen arts form.
I have visited Birmingham Ormiston Academy (Performing Arts School) and have researched the Learning Pathways available. I am going to audition in February 2016 to try and get in starting September 2016 at the start of my year 10. I have spoken to many of my friends from National Academy who go there or have been. I want to take the Performance Pathway which is Acting, Dancing and Musical Theatre. It is the BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Performing Arts. I have found out that I ALSO have to do English Literature and Language (2 GCSEs), Mathematics and Statistics (2 GCSEs),
Science (2 GCSEs), and 2 option choices.
In my year 9 at St. Benedict’s I am hoping to do BTEC Dance.
If I get into BOA then in years 11 and 12 I will do the Musical Theatre BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts course.
Meanwhile I am continuing to audition for any roles I can in any local shows.
I have also joined some Children’s Casting Sites and written a profile and keep an eye out for any suitable roles to audition for.
I am in the first ever Team UK at the World Championships of Performing Arts in California in July and during my time there I will have access to a ‘Worldstars Boot Camp’ ‘featuring top entertainment industry experts providing priceless entertainment industry information and tips exclusively to competitors.’ ‘persons from the entertainment industry will conduct educational seminars,’
So I am planning to find out more about opportunities and advice about my career pathway.
I am also interested in radio. I was interviewed on Touch FM about The Full Monty and The World Championships and got the chance to visit the studio. It gave me something else to think about. At BOA they have their own radio studio and station so I am quite interested to see if I could do this too.
I am always on the look out for opportunities to audition for TV shows and have already sent off a few self tapes. It is quite frustrating as the majority of auditions seem to be in London which always presents a problem living where we do. I also know that it is important to not give up.
Although I have my heart set on studying at Birmingham Ormiston Academy as from next September (2016), I may not be accepted. So I need to also look at other places and courses. There are quite a few opportunities local to study Performing Arts but not until I am 16 and although I still have plenty of time, I am starting to think about studying Performing Arts at University.
Below are some links to some courses available locally that I've looked at.
UPDATE: After one of my performances in The World Championships a talent scout from 'Pacific Model and Talent Agency' asked to see me and my family. This was very interesting as he was talking about the opportunities he could give me on TV in America! However, in order to work in USA you have to have a Green Card which is quite difficult to get and takes a long time to be authorised. There are also many other things to think about like where are you going to live, could parents come with me? He asked us to think about it but I'm not sure whether it is the right thing to be thinking about at the moment.
A summary in your own words about what you have found out within this part and what influence it has had on you.
I have known for the past year that I am going to aim for a career in the Performing Arts. After talking to Mitch Harper and Christopher Orton and asking them questions I have learnt that it is a very competitive world and that you will have lots of knock backs along the way. I know that you have to try never to give up and keep working very hard. I have found out that it is also very important to have a wide range of skills. It is so competitive that it is quite probable that you won’t have a fantastic role all of the time and it is useful to also be able to for example be able to sing in a band, work as a teacher of performing arts, have skills in broadcasting, even general theatre work. It is good to get as much experience as possible in lots of areas. I haven’t yet decided where I want to go after year12 but know that I want to be involved in Musical Theatre. I know that when I go and audition for BOA I have to appear confident in all skills and be outgoing and try to ‘shine’. When I go for auditions for roles in plays and musicals I have learned from talking to professionals and by experience that it is important to prepare thoroughly, to learn words and songs from memory and to find out more about the characters but not appear too confident and arrogant. It has been very useful to talk to people in the industry who have been through it all before.
Deciding to focus on improving my DANCE skills for my Arts Challenge has transformed the way I approach my Performing Arts activities. Before, I was worried about my dancing skills and used to feel uncomfortable and lack confidence whenever I had to do any form of Dance. By making a big effort to turn this around and focus on improving has really made a difference. I know that I can dance now! By concentrating harder, being more positive and more willing to learn made the whole experience so much more enjoyable. I worked really hard in all of the rehearsals and workshops and changed my attitude. By having to think about it more and recording evidence for my Arts Award made me think about it more. I even learnt how to do some tap dancing. I enjoyed all of the dancing which is recorded on this page and eventually had the confidence to include Dance in my World Championship performances, audition for a part in a musical that included alot of dancing and participate with 100% effort in anything I do now which involves dance. I would even go so far to say that it is my favourite thing at the moment. Working with professional choreographers has helped and has made me think more about how moves are put together. I jumped at the chance to do BTech Dance after school this year and I am really loving it.
When I was reviewing the Arts Events I found it fascinating to look at two other performances of a show that I had been in. I love going to see shows and have seen many since I did these reviews. It has changed the way I view and think about a show. I look and think about the whole thing now - props, lighting, sound, the band, the programme, the actual theatre, characterisation, acting, singing and especially the choreography!
I have been very lucky as part of the National Academy and now at Birmingham Institute of Theatre Arts to be able to attend workshops given by professionals and I have learnt much from these. It is really good to be able to ask questions about their career and ask their advice which has been very useful and interesting. They always say that their jobs are really hard work, that you must never give up even though you will have many disappointments but that it is very enjoyable.
Looking at Arts Pathways has helped me to think more carefully about what I want to do in the future and research my options. It has been interesting to see what courses are on offer locally for Performing Arts and what I could do when I get to 16 and 18. For now though, I am set on auditioning for Birmingham Ormiston Academy in February 2016. After attending shows, open days and talking to many friends who are there already I am very keen to be able to start at a Performing Arts School in Year 10.