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200 Norfolk school children in West End Dance show in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 16:46 16 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:46 16 November 2016

A Night at the West End school dance show at Open. Bawdeswell Primary School.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

A Night at the West End school dance show at Open. Bawdeswell Primary School. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

200 infant and junior school children from across Norfolk have graced a city centre stage, for two performances of their ‘Night at the West End’ charity show.

The schools involved in the dance show were:

Heather Avenue Infant School

Queens Hill Primary School

Bawdeswell Primary School

Firside Junior School

Reepham Primary School

Scarning Primary School

and Toftwood Infant School

Get your jazz hands ready!

200 infant and junior school children from across Norfolk have graced a city centre stage, for two performances of their ‘Night at the West End’ charity show.

With performances from the Lion King to Stomp, the performances which have taken place at OPEN, have offered a spectacular show to family and friends.

The shows on Wednesday, November 16, were organised thanks to Premier Education’s Performing Art and the West Norwich and Dereham School Sports Partnership. The aim of both groups is to get children more engaged in physical activity, with the performing arts team aiming to bring the children out of their comfort zone, and encourage them to try something new.

7-year-old Emma-Mai Green, said: “I’ve never been on a stage before! I’m really nervous but very very excited and happy to be going on stage!”

The Toftwood infant school pupil was joined by other classmates from years 1 and 2, including Arthur Staff.

6-year-old Arthur, said: “I’m 100-out-of-ten excited.”

The schools involved have also added as much educational value to the physical activities as possible, and have created story boards and presentations about topics around their dance, as well as integrating themes from their dance in literacy and drama classes.

Ben Barnett, a 10-year-old student from Reepham Primary School, will be performing in his class’ West Side story performance. He said: “This project has really helped with my English lessons, because it helped me to understand more of the concepts in the play that we’re studying, Romeo and Juliet.”

His classmate Maya Howells, 11, agreed, saying: “I never realised how many different versions of Romeo and Juliet there are. I didn’t know how much the stories would overlap with characters like Tybalt, and the longer monologues, and how similar they would be.”

Of the seven schools competing in the showcase, three individual performances will win prizes for their dance choreography, the educational content that the schools added to their projects, and how well parents have been engaged in the programme.

But, Toftwood student Arthur added: “I want everyone to win! It’s not about winning, it’s about having fun and taking part.”

Darren Plowman, of Premier Education Performing Arts, is the organiser of the event. He said: “This is about engaging as many children as possible, a lot of children are typically sporty and like football and netball. With performing arts we can engage with children differently, but we’re still getting them physically active.”

Ben Barnett agrees, saying that boys at his school are enjoying swapping their football boots for dancing shoes: “The boys think it’s cool to be dancing now.”

Maya continued: “I hear the boys singing our show songs all the time, everyone’s enjoying it.”

Matthew Mann, of West Norwich and Dereham school sports partnership, added: “Often at shows like this we get a different set of students who get the chance to come out and represent their schools. It gives them a fantastic experience for all children from reception to year 6, and encourages them all to be more physically active.”

With Premier Education’s latest survey revealing that 3/4 of children don’t have the recommended hour of physical activity a day, schemes such as these are a welcome idea for teachers.

“We’ve been working on this since the beginning of October,” said year 6 teacher, Karen Phelps. “The students have been so good and they’ve really upped their game. The performance at the end of the lessons really makes the children reach for the stars.”

Toftwood’s year 2 teacher, Kirsty Ponder, added: “The kids have absolutely loved it. They all know the Lion King so it’s relevant to what they’re interested in and like learning about.

“Our year 1 and two classes have also been working together in this performance, so it’s been really nice to bring two groups together and supporting each other.”

All money raised by the shows will be donated to Nelson’s Journey, a children’s bereavement charity helping young people across Norfolk and Suffolk.

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