West Jesmond Primary School embraces world of dance

Jesmond pupils have swapped their science books for sports kits as they translated the international theme of the World Cup into dance.

West Jesmond pupils interpret the World Cup... in dance

The children, aged five to 11, sampled everything from break-dancing to Bollywood as normal lessons were suspended in West Jesmond Primary school. The international theme of the World Cup was interpreted through a series of classes and demonstrations of dance from around the world, including flamenco, jazz, cheerleading, African drumming and Greek dancing.

Isabel Rowland, aged 11, expressed her enjoyment. She said: “It was fascinating to find out about different dances around the world.” Alex Clarke, aged 11, described the week as being, “absolutely fabulous”, with his favourite lesson a 1950s themed dance taught by Dance City.

Deborah Hainsworth, the school’s community arts co-ordinator said: “The starting point for this festival was the World Cup and the huge international community within the school. It has been a great success and we will definitely be looking to do something like this again.”

With more than a third of pupils coming from overseas – across six continents – the international flavour of the festival was guaranteed. Teachers were able to take a back seat as parents, professionals and ex-pupils were called in from around the country to teach.

Parent Katerina Tsitsou took the morning off to teach 7 to 8 year-olds Greek dancing, while flamenco and tango professionals, Paco Bethencourt-llobet and Maria Maragaki from Newcastle Music Services, were full of praise.

Bethencourt-llobet said: “The school’s dance week was a great idea. We work in many schools and this one is amazing, the kids are so well behaved. This is a great opportunity for the kids to see and experience dance from around the world.”

While the lessons were varied throughout the week, every morning kicked off with a session of tai’ chi, with parents, children and teachers limbering up side by side in the playground.

To give the kids’ dancing shoes a break, football lessons and games ran throughout the week.