532 Telstra’s Dance Workshop with Little Lights 5 of 5
Written by Core Team Leader, Ren dela Cruz
It amazes me to see how much U! Happy Events has grown, as well as the number of people realizing the need to reach out to marginalized children. This insight comes to fruition through the fact that for the weekend of June 20-21 alone, we were tasked to stage no less than 10 events! For June 21, one of these events was Telstra’s final Dance Workshop in a progressive series of 5 this month with Little Lights Ministry. It is also the culmination of all the choreography, memorization, skills, and character-building that the children have been experiencing in the past weekends.
To start off the day, we once again grouped the children and volunteers into five teams. By now the kids had already gone through several dance workshops and had memorized the previously taught choreography. We dived into a short review of the dance steps I was able to teach, to the tune of Classic by MKTO and Price Tag by Jesse J, also for the benefit of the volunteers. Aside from checking up on their memorization, projection, and unity, the review came first because the dance routine was actually part of the game. We were to play Stop Dance with a twist! The kids had to dance the routine, stop when the music stops, and continue dancing when the music continues. This was also to test how well they knew the steps without me in front, and without the music playing in sequence. To our surprise, the kids were doing way better than expected that it took awhile for teams to be called out of the game! Finally, Team Star was announced the winner and were given story books as their reward for a job well done.
After the game, I then proceeded to teach the last set of steps, which they were to dance to the tune of Can’t hold us down by Macklemore. I made it a point to add a lot of jumping and easy-to-remember dance moves so that the children could focus on reviewing the entire routine for that afternoon, as well as incorporate their ‘freestyle’ on the very first part of the dance piece. Once we were done reviewing as a group, I left the teams to study the choreography independently and do their blockings. We then asked Pastor Joseph and Sister Jeannette of Little Lights, as well as ate Amy of U! Happy, to judge each team performance and individual exceptional dancers.
After weeks of studying the dance routine, memorizing and perfecting the steps, and building confidence for freestyle and projection, it was finally time for the groups to perform the complete dance piece. As each group performed, it was so easy to see that these children had developed their dancing so greatly over the course of the workshops. It was so fun to see them dance their own moves and have their own unique groove as well! The judges chose the winning team as well as standout performers from the other teams, and we asked them to perform for the final dance of the workshop. I then reminded all the kids to not be disheartened for not winning, but rather use it as motivation to work hard and develop the passion for learning.
We capped off the day with a meal, a photo-op, and gift-giving, after which warm hugs and ‘thank yous’ were exchanged. This particular set of workshops have been especially precious to me, being able to get to know the children deeper and growing my relationship with them throughout the course of the events. It was such a joy regularly seeing firsthand how they were learning, the amount of love they had for the volunteers and workers who spent time with them, and their courage and sweetness amidst their state. We would like to sincerely thank Telstra for the wonderful opportunity they gave not only to us but moreso to the children of Little Lights–and we hope more companies and individuals spend as much time and effort to reach out to children like you do!