CHILDREN in Ulverston have been moving and grooving to the songs of Grease and Michael Jackson's Thriller this half term at an intensive dance camp designed to help develop their social skills, express their creative flair and improve their health.

The youngsters were aged between seven to 11 years old and were taught by Louise Walton, 45, from Ulverston.

Louise is a dance teacher who loves to work with children, she has specialised in pre-school activities, physical growth, communication, language skills and dance within the early years curriculum, while attending courses at The Royal British legion Training Company at Tidworth College, Hampshire.

She said: "The camps give children the opportunity to explore dance in a fun and friendly environment where they can learn at their own pace.

"The children are encouraged to try different rhythms and new styles such as hip hop, free style, jazz, musical theatre and stage."

Dancing is an amazing hobby for people of any age. Research has shown that dancing can improve your mental health by boosting your overall happiness. However, it is also a great way of staying fit and physically healthy. Like any good, low-impact cardio workout, dancing can improve cardiovascular health, increase stamina, strengthen bones and muscles and stave off illnesses.


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Dance is especially helpful for young children because it can improve their social and communication skills, teach them how to work as part of a team, develop a greater sense of trust and co-operation and help them to make new friends.

If a child is shy, enrolling them in dance can encourage them to reach out to other children their own age and help to reduce anxiety about new people or places. Dance can also help to alleviate fears related to performing in front of an audience which is so helpful for development and will be useful in both school and the work place.

Louise said: "The children learned steps and routines for two days and then there was a performance for the parents. They are such a great way to make new friends and socialise as well as having fun, keeping fit and feeling energised. We've had both girls and boys and we want to encourage boys that they are more than welcome to come along as well. The camps will run again in the next school holidays and kids can sign up at Ulverston Leisure Centre."

While traditional team sports are a brilliant form of exercise and a fantastic hobby for a huge number of children, they are not for everyone. Especially with very creative children dancing can often be a great alternative to the stereotypical team sports. Louise said: "Dance has so many benefits for children increasing motor skills, co-ordination, balance, alignment, posture and boost's a child's confidence. Dance has no boundaries, no limits it makes us feel invincible.

"This week the children have learned a musical theatre routine from Grease and Micheal Jackson's famous Thriller dance, which has been really well received especially as it's just in time for Halloween!"


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Ideas for dancing at home with the kids

1. Box Step – The box step makes the shape of a box on the floor and is a good one to start off with.

2. YMCA – Dust off a Village People record and do the YMCA! Sing the letters really loud as your body makes each of the shapes.

3. Animal themed moves:

– Snake: slither on the floor.

– Rabbit: do some quick, small jumps with your hands on the floor.

– Kangaroo: do some big bounces where you try to hit your bottom with your feet.

– Lion: prowl with the largest steps you can take.

– Cheetah: run on the spot as fast as you can.

– Tiger: stretch and arch your back with a roar!

4. Mermaid – Ask what mermaids have that we don't have. "TAILS!" Have them connect their legs with their toes on the floor. Have them stretch their tail long, by sitting in a V position, then pulling back in to hide behind their tail.

5. I'm a Little Teapot – This is a great one to teach bending at the waist and stretching the sides. Plus, most children are familiar with the lyrics.