Candy Alternatives for Halloween Class

As Halloween approaches, we often do special activities at my studio or allow students to wear costumes.  Many teachers like to reward their classes with a special treat, which historically has been candy.  I feel that as dance teachers, we have a responsibility to celebrate healthy choices and I like to search out alternatives to candy–especially with all of the food-allergies and preferences that my students have.

Coloring Pages
Such an easy and low-cost “treat”


Glow Bracelets
This is my choice for this year – trying something new and potentially something that they kids can take with them on Halloween.  I found glow bracelets on Amazon for $8.79 for 100 bracelets, so for under $20 I was able to get enough to cover my 16 weekly classes.

Stickers, Stamps & Temporary Tattoos
My elementary-aged kids love stickers, stamps and tattoos.  Not sure if their parents love them as much, but its fun to do a grab-bag of these items.

Rolls of 500 Halloween Stickers:  $9.99
72 Glitter Halloween Temporary Tattoos: $5.50
24 Halloween Stamps:  $7.95

 

“Haunted House” Class Picture
This one is fun to do with the older kids or students who love social media… the “Haunted House” class picture – take a group picture but tell your students to make a face like they are going through a haunted house – leads to lots of funny faces!

Slap on a filter/background and send to your students and watch them share 🙂

More Ideas For Those Blessed in the Craftiness Department (THANK YOU PINTEREST)

Do you do something special with your classes for Halloween?  Do you hand out any treats?  Share in the comments!

Renovation… Unsteady Progress

A few weeks into June, with nothing other than a new wall accomplished, I admitted to myself that having the room ready for July summer classes was a bit ambitious.  Could we have held classes with a boombox on the carpet?  Sure.  Was that the first impression of the new and exciting space I wanted to give my clients. Uh, absolutely not.

So, onto painting.  But wait!  First the other studio location has to have a pipe burst!  And flood the entire space!  And ruin lots of things!  And require insurance inspectors and summer camp last-minute changes and new rugs and potentially ruined marley!  Because chaos!

::deep breath::

So that was a fun weekend of clean-up and tears and then realizing that a pipe bursting during summer and destroying a bunch of old costumes is not the worst thing in the world, even if it is inconvenient and a pain to clean up (imagine if it happened a week before recital and ruined THOSE costumes?!).  It is also just a bit disconcerting to find your entire space covered in water.

 

 


But, back to the matter at hand – oh yeah, I was supposed to be painting, not mopping up water.

And look, a new window!

It turned out, when picking out window sizes that this size was the best one to go with because any bigger was a big jump in expense.

 

Making progress…

To Do List

X Connect spaces

X Build waiting room wall

X Waiting room window

X Paint waiting room

X Paint dance room

– Install dance floor

– Furnish waiting room

– Buy sound system

– Ballet barres in dance room

– Order and install mirrors

Next up… flooring!

Our “Frozen-Inspired” Dance Camp: Crafts

frozencamp craft

“Do You Wanna Dye a T-Shirt?” (sung in the melody of “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman”)

This is part of our “Frozen” (inspired) Dance Camp Series.

We spend about 30-40 minutes on crafts, but always have a back-up plan for those who lose interest fast (some of the 4 year olds are more interested in the process, than the final product) or who are very detailed (need to place every piece of grass just so).

Good ideas of back-up plans are coloring pages (link to free printable Frozen coloring pages) / activity sheets or clips from the movie, if you have a TV or screen.  I actually made a YouTube playlist of Frozen clips on our computer just in case, but we never had to use it.

Now… onto the crafts!

My Camp Director and I pulled a lot of the craft and activity ideas off of Pinterest, so I will try to credit our original inspiration when possible.

Continue reading

Our “Frozen-Inspired” Dance Camp

frozencampheader

 

Our most asked camp question since last December has been “Are you doing a Frozen Camp?”  So due to popular demand… a Frozen (inspired) Camp is what we did!

What works best for our studio is doing a half-day camp, where the students come 4 or 5 days a week from 9am-noon.

Each year we do a different theme and base the week’s lessons around that theme. We hold an impromptu little “show” on the last day of camp for family and friends.

We did the Frozen (inspired) Camp for our Princess age group (ages 4-7) at the end of June, and we actually had to close off registration a week prior because of the demand!  (For comparison, our July Princess Camp was half as full as the Frozen Camp was).

I’m going to break up the posts into a few different sections, and hopefully they will give you some ideas for your own camp.

1) Music (this post)
2) Crafts
3) Games & Activities 

General Camp Agenda

8:50-9:05am – Parent Drop-off and Student Sign-in
9:05-9:30am – Warm-up and “Get to know you” activities – I like doing the Name Game as an icebreaker
9:30-10:00am – Ballet Dance class (learning choreography / technique)
10:00-10:45am – Craft Time
10:45-11:00am – Snack Time
11:00-11:40am – Tap class (learning choreography / technique)
11:40-12:00pm – Games / Cool-down

Dance Camp Playlist

All links open in iTunes – the Dance Buzz is an iTunes affiliate

I know you will all be surprised when I tell you that the most used album during our Frozen-Inspired Camp was… the Frozen album. Shocking, I know! But we also used a few other non-Frozen songs during our camp so that we (the teachers) didn’t go crazy from having songs stuck our head all day!

Songs We Used for Choreography

Songs We Used in Class (for creative movement, games, and technique)

What non-Frozen songs can you think of that would fit in well?

8 Instagram Post Ideas For Your Dance Studio

Is your dance studio or company on Instagram?  Scared to take the leap? (dance pun intended) Here’s a few tips on how to get started and what to post.

Don’t worry about posting daily – in fact, if you post too many times a day, you may annoy your followers.  It seems like the sweet spot is once a day to a few times a week.  For my studio, I end up posting on average 3-4 times a week unless I’m running a contest or it’s a big event for the studio (recital or competition weekend, for example).

Ok, so now you’ve made an Instagram account… what do you post?

8 Instagram posts ideas for your dance studio or company

1. Your dancers:  The most obvious is to post images and videos of your students dancing!  Be sure to mix it up – some of the cute babies in class mixed in with your best students along with some great action shots from performances.

2. Behind the scenes:  Making costumes?  Folding programs?  Hanging the backdrop for the show?  My students and parents love to see the “behind the scenes” photos.

  

3. Class videos:  This is a great way to expose potential students to the different class types.  Post a short clip of your newest class offering to show students what that class might be like.

4. Hold a contest or photo challenge:  I like to hold contests during school breaks because it gives the kids something to do and keeps them thinking about dance.  Our most recent one was “Spring Break Photo Contest” and dancers had to post a photo of themselves dancing on Spring Break.  We got a lot of fun pictures back that we shared in-studio and on Facebook.  Make sure to use a hashtag for your contest (#ABCstudio).

  • Leap / Jump Contest – followers have to post their best leap or jump
  • Favorite Costume – post a photo of their favorite costume
  • First Year Dancing – any photos from their first year of dancing
  • Dance Everywhere – post a photo of them dancing in an unusual location

5. Dance education:  Post a photo of a famous dancer and have your followers guess who it is.  Share photos of famous ballets and dance companies.

6. Motivation & inspirational quotes:  I like to post these every so often.  I find a lot of them on Pinterest.  Instagram Etiquette Tip: If you borrow someone’s quote, play nice and credit them.

7.  Hashtags:  (Or should I say #hashtags)  Hashtags are a fun way to make your post accessible to more people and are good for when you’re looking for an idea to post something.  My favorite dance-related hashtags are:

  • #TutuTuesday – anything ballet!
  • #TiltTuesday – just what it sounds like
  • #TBT or #FBF – (Throwback Thursday & Flashback Friday) – post an older photo from months or years ago.  These posts usually get the most “likes” on our studio Instagram.
  • Make up your own! What about #musicmonday and post some songs from the upcoming performance?  Or #flexibilityfridays and showcase some tips on how to get more flexible.  Check out this great idea from Maria’s Movers on creating a hashtag for your performances.  Some more hashtag ideas from Dance Spirit.

8. Integrate your posts with Facebook and Twitter:  Instagram makes it easy to connect your account to your Twitter and Facebook accounts and you can share the same posts on all three social media sites at one time.

Have fun!

Further Reading: http://schoolempower.com/blog/posts/20…

Follow The Dance Buzz on Instagram!

Do you use Instagram?  What tips can you share about posting photos and videos? What are your favorite photos to see?  What gets the most likes?

Camp Tuition Calculator

Holding a dance camp this summer and wondering what to charge?

Camp in a Can has a handy tuition calculator downloadable for free on their website (scroll to the bottom and click on the blue folder).

Updated:  The current version of the calculator is using 7 days for the week (most camps are 5 days…I sure as heck don’t want to work 7!!), so make sure you change the formula under Step 3 “Total Hours Per Week” to be multiplying by 5 or however many days your camp is.  If you’d rather not change formulas, then just input how many hours your camp is running per week in the grey box under Step 3.

Dance Games, Part 1

Do your dancers ask to play games in dance class or request something “fun”?

As hard as I try to keep class engaging and entertaining, many of my recreational classes still ask for “games” to play.  Often, I will turn to creative movement exercises and label them as “games”.  I also like to throw in some vocabulary builders.  If you’re looking for some new ideas for dance games, here are some alternatives to Freeze Dance (although if you like Freeze Dance, here are a few these variations on Freeze Dance).

When I started gathering ideas for this post and putting together this list, I discovered a bunch of new games.  There are simply too many for one post, so I will spread them out in a few different posts. This post will cover games for Terminology and Vocabulary Review.

Terminology & Vocabulary Review

tap-flashcardsDance Quiz

Basic vocabulary review.  Here are few ideas to keep it interesting:
  • Pick-a-card:  Write down terminology or combinations of steps on note cards.  For younger students, you could draw positions or help them read it.  One at a time, have a dancer pick a card and they must do that step.  For younger students, they get to be the teacher in the front of the room and demonstrate the step while everyone else practices.
  • The Line-Up:  Students stand in a line in the back of the studio.  Starting with the first person, teacher gives them a dance step.  If they do it correctly, they get to move up one step.  If they don’t know it, they pass and the next person gets the same step until someone knows it. Continue down the line with a new term, going back to the beginning of the line when you run out of dancers.  Goal is to get to the front line (we usually play 3 steps).
  • The Line-Up, fast version: I play this version with larger classes. Students stand in a line (facing away from the mirror to discourage peeking) and all close their eyes.  Teacher says a vocabulary step and every does it in place (keeping eyes closed).  Dance teacher taps anyone who is doing it correctly on the shoulder and they get to move up one step. We usually open our eyes at this point and I pick someone to demonstrate what the step was.  Repeat process. Keep going until someone moves all the way up to the front line.
  • Truth or Dare: Teacher asks dancer, “Truth or Dare?”.  When dancer says “truth”, ask terminology questions (how many sounds in a shuffle hop step, which direction is upstage).  For “dare”, they must demonstrate a specific dance step.  You can add “double dare”, which would be a harder dance step.

Roll The Dice


You will need some large foam dice.  Leave one plain (with dots or numbers) and the other add terminology (I used masking tape so that I could change the words for different classes).

For some classes its simple: skip, hop, jump, leap, shuffle, flap, maxi ford, buffalo and for the older classes more complicated, glissade pas de chat, pirouette, jete etc!


Here is how we use them:

  • Dice Quiz:   Have a child roll the movement dice and the number dice and they have to do that many repetitions of the step. If they don’t know the step you can call them out, and see who is left standing, or let them all remain. My kids love it and it’s a great way to test vocabulary.
  • Dice Choreography:  Have each child roll the pair of dice and use the steps to create a dance in succession (two shuffles, four flaps, one buffalo). Sometimes it turns out great and is a very inventive way of creating choreography and other times it’s silly or extremely difficult to transition but it’s still a fun challenge.   You can expand on this idea for tap, by creating rules for rhythm.  For example, we play where every sound must have one count (so shuffle step would be “1 2 3”), and the kids had to figure out what count we ended on.  You can also add “hold” to one side of the dice, so they will need to count “holds” in the combination.

Dance Pie

(or Cake, or Pizza…or whatever you want to make!  Maybe a salad or smoothie? Cornucopia?)I like to use this with age 3-8 year olds in my tap classes – lots of creative movement.  We create a dance recipe using steps as ingredients.

  1. Form a circle and roll out the dough – we usually roll our arms like in Patty Cake or stomp on the ground in tap (for pie or pizza… maybe grease the pan for cakes?)
  2. Ask for a dance step we can add to the pie. Ask how many and what foot to start with.
  3. Dance the step all together and “lift up” the ingredients and throw them in the pie (I like to make different steps heavier or lighter… some are sweet, some are sour, some must be sprinkled, some must be tossed – it adds to the fun!)
  4. Repeat until your “pie” is full!
  5. We march (or another traveling step) around in the circle to mix the pie together, roll the dough on top and pop it in the oven – have to work all together to lift such a heavy pie
  6. Wait.. then eat!  Sometimes we count to 8 or do another activity while it’s “baking”, then take it out and eat it up to make sure we remember all of our steps.

Creative Movement: The Name DanceHot Potato / Pass The Beanbag

Form a circle standing or sitting.  Pass the beanbag (or stuffed animal) until the music stops.  Whoever it stops on must do their favorite dance step.  Or you can have the teacher assign them a step.
 
Sometimes we play where they have to keep doing the step until the next person gets stopped with the beanbag.

The Airplane Game

Ages 3-6, Sung to the tune of Frere Jacques:

“Chasse chasse,

bourree bourree,

clap clap clap, clap clap clap

running like an airplane, running like an airplane

make a shape, make a shape”


Each time, replace the dance terms/clapping with whatever other dance terms you’d like to practice. Once they get the hang of it, you can add in directions (tip toe to the right or dance in a circle).

Here is an instrumental version of Frere Jacques in case you’re not a singer 🙂

Dance Baseball – see this post for full explanation

Sources:

Do you have any “games” or activities do you play to review vocabulary?