Living Colour Creative

Living Colour Creative

What happens at a Living Colour workshop?

TeachingPosted by Anna Fri, April 29, 2016 19:19:24

Ever wondered what we get up to at a Living Colour workshop? Each workshop is individual, and unless we are doing a series, each one will be different to the one before and the one after it. However, there are some general exercises and themes that play an integral part to what Living Colour is and does, that will always be part of a workshop in some way.

Open time of prayer – it’s great to come before God before we start doing anything and lay the session down before him, to pray for those that could not make it, to welcome the Holy Spirit into our dance space, and ask that people are ready to move and respond as God leads them, as well as anything else God lays on our heart.

Time of Sharing – this is about the opportunity to tell others about your journey, what you hope for, would like to learn etc. Which can encourage and challenge others with where they are at personally. As well as verbally sharing where we’re at, it’s also great to share what we explore and choreograph during the workshop.

Praying for Others – all the movements we do, are a prayer, however sometimes its good to specifically bless someone with a prayer through movement. We encourage eyes to be open so you can see and receive the movements and prayer that person is giving you.

Fellowship – wherever possible, there’ll be drink and cakes which we can have a good natter over, offering the chance to really get to know each other.

Choreography/ Technique/ Tips – both as an individual and corporate dancer we want to provide you with skills that you can use to enhance your dancing. We share and pass on, so you in turn can share and pass on.

I’m going to leave you with what we did at the last workshop. Instead of thinking about the sadness/ seriousness of the cross, we wanted to celebrate and comprehend, that what Jesus did for us is AMAZING and even in those darkest moments we need to celebrate the cross. This is ‘The Wondrous Cross’.

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Igniting Children's Creativity: Releasing Children in Dance part four

TeachingPosted by Anna Thu, October 03, 2013 18:39:53

Igniting children’s creativity

Creativity… how would you define creativity? The dictionary explanation of creativity is ‘the imagination and use of original ideas’. But in dance, particularly associated with worship and faith, I believe it is much more than that. It’s the releasing, the growing, the development of dance and movement through various stimulus’s, and allowing people a safe place to express their emotions in any way that they want.

Where do you start?

Many people ask me how I devise my sessions, where I get my ideas and exercises from, and the simple answer is everywhere! Pretty cliché, but true, for instance, I was in the car today driving and noticed how much more autumnal it had suddenly become, leaves were being blown about in the air, clouds were grey and rain was imminent (pretty normal for this time of year). However, it was the way that the leaves moved in the air that made me think about the creation of swirly movements, or being gently carried along, just like the Holy Spirit.

The hardest bit is always getting your starting point, my suggestion for this is to brainstorm everything you know about what it is that you are considering doing your lesson/ workshop on. Whatever niggling feeling that you may have, but are not sure about, go with it, even if it is as random as ‘holding hands’. As this may lead you to explore the concept of God holding us in his hands, always carrying us and protecting us.

Imagination and Stories

Children love association as I mentioned in the post yesterday, they love to say ‘I’m floating like a fish’ or ‘I’m buzzing like a bee.’ Stories are perhaps the easiest starting point for devising sessions and exercises. There is the opportunity to tell the story in the literal sense, or you can delve deeper into the characters and their feelings, situations and other themes that come up. Just a small snippet of a story may provide you with the imagination for the setting of the rest of your time together.

Creating the Exercise/ session

It might be that you want to create a whole session or just one exercise or series of movements, whatever it is, it is still the same process. We’ll talk in terms of a ‘session’ but the same applies to an exercise/ series of movements.

· Generate the idea and the purpose/ aim of the session, how do you want the ‘story’ to flow

· Isolate the time scales and division with the programme – welcome, warm up/games, exercises, taught movements, improvisation/ creative tasks, round up and cool down (not elements always have to be included).

· Decide whether you want to use props or other tools to aid the session (see below)

· Devise the movements and exercises – learn in a mirror too!

Use of props/ stimulus’s

These are invaluable with children; it keeps them engaged, explains scenarios and encourages their imagination. So whatever you think ‘could’ be a prop, can be a prop. These are just a few that I use regularly.

Scarfs/ small pieces of material – butterflies, birds, the wind, hide and seek. These are great for encouraging big expressive movements. Excellent for any age but particularly for under 8s who love to just to run and let the scarf or material flow after them.

Bubbles/ feathers and all things floaty – brilliant for motor movements for the young ones, they can catch them and chase them. Also great for demonstrating the motions of life, the wind, how the light refracts, how the Holy Spirit can move in different ways.

Flags/ ribbons – little ribbons attached to curtain rings work best for under 5s, gives them something firm to grip onto, whilst for older children there are various size flags and ribbons/ streamers that work really well. Its good to emphasise that when using these there is more to moving with them than just waving about, they should think of them as an extension of their arm, so whatever movements they do usually can also be done when a flag or ribbon is in their hand. These types of props are good for children that may not have that much confidence as for them they feel that they can ‘hide’ behind the flag or ribbon, that that is where the focus is rather than on them and their body.

Parachutes/ big pieces material – so much fun! Not only to run under over or around, but to be wrapped up in, to hide in, to make giant shapes with. It encourages togetherness, and you can mimic things that smaller pieces of fabric don’t let you – storms, wind, the cross, a star etc.

Shapes/ spots – allow focus and attention of the children to be gained easily. I work with a series of 4 shapes – circle, triangle, square, and splat (a funny squiggly shape that children today decided looked like a – bone, bow, butterfly, a bird). These sorts of things are a bit of life saver, they provide an unending amount of games, can teach children to stand on the spot and in a space, you can assign specific movements to different shapes, they can be stepping stones, the basis of a dance and much more.

Finally… get in the role!!!

There’s nothing like a fully grown adult being excited, expressive, animated about the story, adventure, or task that the children are going to delve into. If you’re excited, they’ll be excited, their imaginations will start going, they’ll feel safe, they’ll start creating, you’ll be sharing and then you’ll all be dancing!

Watch out for over the coming weeks for a session example of something you can do for the story of Noah’s Ark and more pictures regarding resources that you can use both for adults and children.

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Interacting with Children: Releasing Children in Dance part three

TeachingPosted by Anna Wed, October 02, 2013 18:48:49

Interacting with Children

Different aged children will have different needs, require different ways of being taught and will engage in creativity in different ways. Just like you will have your own personal reasons for investing in children, you will also have your own way of teaching children. Below are some of the tips and techniques that I've developed over the years that I’d like to share.

Key things to remember –
Know the area you are working in – The size and how many children it can hold, whether there are any nooks and crannies they could escape and hide in (it does happen!). Where the toilets are and how many leaders you would ideally have to assist or lead with you.

Give clear, precise commands – children respond best by giving them strict boundaries and outlines that they need to complete their work in. For example – you want them to create two movements, one that shows when they are happy and one when they are said. So say to them ‘you have the count of 10 to make your happy position -10, 9, 8, 7…’.

‘Lock it away’ – is phrase I use once I have either taught something or the children have just made something up and we are moving onto something else but what we’ve just done needs to remember. We pretend to take a key and lock the side of our head that

Engage with them using eye contact and crouching down to their level if they are shorter than you.

Have a stop signal – really important in larger groups of under 11 year olds, it needs to be something that they can either pick up and copy so you know you have their focus. Examples I have used are –
~Be a star fish in 10, 9, 8, 7…
~ Do a series of claps that they have to mimic back
~ Raise your hand in the air
~ Count back from a number
~ Freeze

Icebreakers/ Games
The idea of the games below (bar the Name and Action one) is that the children are moving around the space or within a given area either walking fast/running depending upon which instruction you have given them; once they have done the action/movement which is needed they resume their moving. Also to add a bit of competition element to it you could start eliminating the child who completes the movement/action last – this would be a judgement call depending on the group.

Name and Action – this works best with the group size being no more than 10 and if you know that you are going to be seeing the people periodically that day or in the future.
~ It’s as the name suggests, you go round the circle and as the child says their name they put an action to it – preferably a big and expressive one.
~ For example, I would go ‘My name is Anna’ and at the same time do a big jump in the air, reaching as high as I could.
~ Everyone would then copy. Once everyone had had a go and done their action, the idea is then to go round the circle doing everyone’s names and actions continually, gradually getting faster.
N.B depending how big and expressive the young children's moves are you can use this as part of a warm up.

Traffic Lights – is as the name suggests; red stop, green go, amber an additional movement/ transition movement of your choice.
~ Then get fun by adding different colours in, blue, yellow, purple etc. each one signalling a different way of travelling; run, hop, skip, jump, forwards/backwards, slowly/fast.
~ Use yours and their imaginations.
~ Can also use it as a game and get people out who do it last

Numbers – run along the same lines as traffic lights, except these are movements on the spot as opposed to travelling ones. For example; one could be jump in the air touch the floor and walk off again, two; turn on the spot, three; find a partner hold hands (both) facing each other lean out with all their weight lower to floor without breaking hold and then stand up again, and four could be sit down on the floor and stand up again.
~ Also try it with the numbers signalling the size of groups they need to get into.
~ All the time in between movements the children should constantly be moving around the space.

Piggys Snakes and sharks – this one is just a bit of fun!
~ Piggy’s = piggy back
~ Snakes = lie on your belly on the floor and wriggle along and
~ Sharks = lie on you back with your feet in the air.

Captains Coming – pretty self-explanatory and I’m sure you know it!

Ways of Delivery

Demonstrate, demonstrate, demonstrate – the one key word!

Mirroring – teaching children movement is best done in the mirror, this enables them to always see the movements you are doing and allows you to see the children and whether you have their focus – or whether they’re misbehaving. By this I mean learning to teach everything in the opposite, naturally we teach with the right side leading, but when you mirror you teach with the left side leading. It’s a bit hard to get the hang of, but when you can its invaluable.

Chunking – divide the material you teaching up into manageable chunks - teach a little, practise and reinforce it, then teach a little more.

Association/ imagery – children will associate and remember movements much more easily if they know something that they can remember it alongside. For example, stand tall like a soldier, be small like a ball, be floppy like a puppet, draw a big sun in the sky etc.

Dance with them – always take the time to dance with the children, and always dance it to the best of your ability. They’ll be inspired!

These are some tips and tricks that skim the surface of interacting with children, but hopefully they have given you a few ideas. Tomorrow we delve into getting their creativity going.

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Investing in Children: Releasing Children in dance

TeachingPosted by Anna Tue, October 01, 2013 18:38:36

Investing in Children

Today we are going to draw upon different Bible verses to help emphasise why and what we want to teach our children.

As mentioned yesterday ‘little people’ or children are at their most impressionable when they are young and haven’t had any other influences, they contain a freedom and excitement about things that we as adults would not be able to equal.

To invest in our children should be top of our list, we will all do it for different reasons, but in the context of uC Grace and Living Colour, there are 3 words that sum help sum up our thinking – passion, commission, generation.


We are passionate about children, watching them grow, encouraging them and releasing them into who they were made to be. That doesn’t mean that they have to be a prima ballerina or world class contemporary choreographer. It means that they are encouraged to develop for themselves their own thinking, their own passions, interests, friends and personality. It’s not about pushing something they don’t want to do onto them.

Mark 10.13-16 - The little children and Jesus

… ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these… And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

When you choose to invest in children it will be because it’s on your heart to do so, the Bible talks about not hindering the children when they want to come to Jesus, but you’ve got to offer them a chance to do that first, choose to bless them.

Our passion is for the children to come to Jesus through dance and movement; dance cuts across boundaries and cultures and portrays attitudes and beliefs that are often hard in normal life. It draws upon emotions, experiences, memories and encourages children to work with these to draw closer to God.


But we have this passion because we are being obedient to what God has called us to do. In Matthew 28, Jesus gives us The Great Commission to –

… go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…

To invest in children is to obey the Commission that Jesus gave us, a child is a disciple of a nation just as much as an adult, therefore they should be offered the same time, compassion and energy that an adult does.

We already know that children pick up impressions and nuances from a young age, so it makes natural sense that we should be able to offer them to choose, the love, faith and blessing that Jesus wants us to give them right from when they are little.

There will be some people who consider that children are not important, that time does not need to be set aside to work with and provide opportunities for them. But sit and watch a child dance for God, with no inhibitions, a huge smile and a heart that just wants to express what they have inside them.


Children are the next generation. I could just stop there and say nothing more, as that sums it up pretty nicely. But instead I am going to make reference to the Parable of the Mustard Seed in Mark 4.30-34. The mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds on earth, but can produce one of the biggest plants. When you begin to sow in children, you won’t know what is being taken and stored, or thrown away. Whether just small remnants or larger remnants remain, but there will be something there, and taking the time to impart it to the next generation as soon as possible, means that they can start doing the same as soon as they are ready.

In today’s society, many children come from all sorts of different home situations; dance and movement will bring out some possible problems and emotions that may usually stay well under the surface. But it will also provide consistency from leaders and other children in the group; relationship building is paramount for children to know that they are in a safe and secure environment.

Why dance and movement?

Dance encourages growth of self-esteem, beliefs, accomplishments and many other skills, releasing them to live their life in a way that they want too and will be of value to them.

The creative workshops allow an outlet for personal exploration of movements in a guided and improvised structure, providing the children with the necessary skills for them to choreograph their own dances, in addition to allowing emotional, physical and social well-being to be improved.

There is so much that could be spoken about investing in children, and there are just a few things, but for us here at uC Grace we see the reasons to invest in children are because we have a Passion to share, have been Commissioned by God to make disciples of all nations and the NEXT GENERATION IS IMPORTANT, we pass the baton on to them.

Tomorrow we will start to identify more with using dance and movement to aid this investment, but looking at ways you engage and interact with different children.

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Over all the Earth: Releasing Children in Dance part one

TeachingPosted by Anna Mon, September 30, 2013 11:29:02

Releasing Dance in Children

This week’s mini-series is all about releasing dance in children or ‘dancing with children’ as I mentioned in a brief explanation of this series last week (you can see that here).

Many of us will have lots of different experiences of this particular topic, but this week, I just want to literally skim the surface about the possibilities and benefits of releasing children to dance and move in worship and for their faith.

I must stress that when it comes to sharing something like this with children it is really important to come from your own experiences, history, passion, determination and anything else that may influence how you set the children you are with to worship and move with their whole heart. Children are impressionable and therefore whatever you do, or however you act, they will initially do the same. So always have in mind what role model you are being to them, including how you dress and how you speak.

Over All the Earth

I was very privileged when I was growing up to be part of a congregation that encouraged children freedom in movement. There would flags and streamers, and we would be encouraged to run up and down the aisles as we felt led. It was in this environment that my heart to move in worship began to flourish. One of my earliest memories of sharing (or ‘performing’) a worship dance during church that I had helped create must have been when I was about 8 or 9, and it was to the song ‘Over All the Earth’.

My memories are a bit fuzzy as to the details about how the choreography evolved and who was in the dance; however, one thing that has remained ingrained has been some of the movements. Whenever that song has some light in present days then my hands just can’t help to do the movements – with or without flags. That memory, that action, has stayed with me, makes me smile and encourages me even now with moving.

Memories in children are so important, it’s how they build their motor actions, and it’s how they define who they are. If a child has a bad memory of dance and movement, the likelihood that they will embrace it the older they get is small (but not impossible).

I was at a cousins wedding earlier this year who had a little nephew (5 years) that basically ruled the dance floor. The delightful thing about it was that he let no cares or problems get in the way, he didn't mind what people said, just danced, and danced with his whole heart! That childlike freedom to move diminishes the older you get, problems, obstacles, walls, bridges, anything, gets in the way.

As someone who advocates dance and movement in worship, and faith, it therefore makes sense to me that we should be sharing this with our little ones as soon as we can. When you are a child you are at your most impressionable, your most free and before you get influenced by the world and everything in it.

We have a duty to pass things on to the next generation. The memories you have as a child, you choose whether they may hinder or help you to release dance in children. Whether they are good or bad they can help, good ones provide you with a knowledge of what you enjoyed, wanted to do again; bad ones highlight to you how you don’t want children to feel, what you don’t want to do to hinder a child’s dance or movement.

Before you take the step to teach and release children in dance you need to have looked at your own memories to see where you have come from, and then look at your heart to see where you want to go to.

Tomorrow we are going to delve a little further into the topic of ‘Investing in children’, what the Bible says and why we should share dance and movement with them from when they are young. The rest of the week we will also be looking at ‘Interacting with children’, and ‘Igniting children’s creativity’ all in relation to dance and movement, in worship and faith.

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Never Once did we ever walk alone: Never Once part four

TeachingPosted by Anna Thu, September 26, 2013 09:55:05

We’re nearing the end of the Never Once series and today we’re focusing on the fact that we never walk alone. How many times have you been on a path but felt that there was no one around you to support you?

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Joshua 1.3

Our lives are sometimes hard to navigate, there’s ‘the’ path that we need to go down, but it’s very hard to keep on that. On Friday we did an exercise that emphasised this fact, how ‘blind’ we can be when we try to walk the right path alone and how different it feels when there is someone there with you.

One at a time we had to travel across the space in front of us, with our eyes closed, by only treading on the stepping stones (these were funky shapes I use when I teach children, more on that next week). The rest of the group couldn't make contact with the person travelling across the space until they had seen the person had made a little way across the stones. The idea was then, that the group would come around them and guide them across the stones.

Now in the group I was in, I offered to go first, I soon realised I had got completely off track as I ended up by a wall and I knew there were no stepping stones by a wall, so I then tried to find my way back to stones with not much success. By this point I must have been roughly ‘half way’ down the path and the rest of the group should have been already around me and supporting me. However, they weren't! They were rather enjoying the fact that I was completely off course and getting quite frustrated, so I think the response was to take pictures of that fact! When however, the group did come in and guide me, the feeling of confusion and frustration about where I should be going went.

To navigate those stones on your own and make sure that you were on them was hard, you are in a losing battle before you've got under way. But when someone is there to support you, lead you and guide you. You do not have to worry. That is how God wants to lead us; there are times when our path just won’t seem to go right, despite the amount of effort that we use to try to make it right. The only solution therefore is to let God do the leading, he will find the good and perfect way, but we have to allow him to do that.

This was just a simple way for each of us to identify and really feel what it’s like when we walk alone, but that’s not what God wants. He is not a deserter, he is supporter, someone who stays and never leaves.

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Scar and Struggles on the way: Never Once part three

TeachingPosted by Anna Wed, September 25, 2013 09:08:41

Scars and Struggles on the way

‘Know that the Lord you God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.’ Deuteronomy 7.9

So far in the Never Once series we have stood on the Mountain Top and looked at our testimony, where we have come from and the fact that God can take us further still. Yesterday was accepting the battlegrounds that we sometimes have to cross and recognising that God is the one that can get us through. Today is about recognising that we still need to praise and be thankful through any battle that is going on, by declaring joy in our hearts.

The third station as it was in the workshop, or third day in the blog series is all about creating your own joy dance. But, what’s warranted before we get into this though is a little discussion about what joy is.
Many of us will perceive joy in different ways, the happy clappy kind, the steadfast knowing kind, the excited about what’s ahead kind. It will all resound differently in each of us, I did a quick search on the internet and came across a blog entry by Kay Warren (wife of Rick Warren who wrote The Purpose Driven Life) in which she talks about how for her, finding joy is a challenge because she isn’t naturally an upbeat person, because of this she decided to explore her thoughts in relation to scripture some more and she came up with the following definition -

Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation

You can read more about what Kay said here -

A well rounded definition, and one to bear in mind, as we enter the practical response with this topic today. Now, you don’t have to do this, but I am all about cementing things practically, hence why today is about creating your own joy. You’re probably thinking, how on earth do I do that? well check out some of the hints below and just have a go!

· Think about something that is within that wants to get out, can you catch it

· Start, middle, end

· Use of different levels – high, medium and low

· Travelling – run, slide, gallop, turn, leap, hop

· Jumps – on spot, round in circle, over something, upwards, one, two or changing feet

· Eye level/ head focus

Can you remember the battleground movements that you made up yesterday? Why not try linking those with today’s movements?

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Kneeling on this Battleground: Never Once part two

TeachingPosted by Anna Tue, September 24, 2013 07:49:52
Part two of the Never Once series encourages us to Kneel on the Battleground. But what does that mean?

Kneeling on this battleground

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ 2 Timothy 4.7

In any given day, or week or month, there will always be some form of battle that we face, some more hard than others, but all ones that require more energy than usual. We cannot get through a battle on our own; we need a helper, God. Who, when we are kneeling, can pick us up and help us to walk again.

Kneeling can sometimes indicate two things – that we have given up or that we realise we can’t do it alone. Sometimes when that battle gets too strong the reaction is to drop, withdraw, give up, go small. I prefer to consider that when that happens it’s us surrendering and accepting that only God can get us through the battle field and by kneeling we are giving the battle to him and asking him to finish it for us.

Think about what battles you have faced or are facing? What has God done for you or is doing for you? At the workshop, participants wrote down responses onto a post-it and placed it on a red flag. Jesus’ blood, through Him he can take everything away.

We need to accept that we have been or are currently going through battles, but thank God that he was, and is there through them. To really cement this knowledge, find a space (it doesn't have to be big!) and create a movement that signifies how you felt or were before the battle got fully under way. Then create a movement that signifies how you felt or were at the end of the battle (or where you are now if it’s still going on). Finally look to link the two movements together with other movements that reflect the journey you have had in the middle.

This is your battle dance. This is you accepting that you kneel on your battleground and give the battle to God.

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