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?
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Shhhhh… *spritz spritz*

Quiet Spray

“Quiet Spray” – found at The Lemonade Stand blog.  As they suggest: …spray the ROOM to signal children to get quiet.  Or you can just leave the bottle empty.  Mine love the mist in the air….I do not condone spraying a child!  As much as you might want to!  Ha!”

I thought this was a cute idea, even though I don’t have too much trouble with talking in classes (knock on wood…), but every so ofter there is a class that is just the right mixture of personalities to create the chit-chatty class.  Sometimes it only takes one or two chatterboxes to make you want to reach for the quiet spray…especially in my high school classes 🙂

On second thought, maybe I should make some interchangeable labels:

“Pointe-Your-Toes Spray”
“Choreography Cleaner”
“Insta-Turnout”
“Dance Bills-B-Gone”
“Spotting Spray” (NOT to remove spots, but to add spotting to turns!)

Any others you can think of for when you’re having “one of those days”?

Check Out My Interview at Maria’s Movers

recital nutcase

I was so excited when Maria invited me to be a part of her “Creating With Kids” interview project!  Her goal is to interview 52 children’s dance teachers this year and I have loved reading the other interviews, especially those who don’t work in the traditional studio setting.

You can read my interview over at her blog – Maria’s Movers

And check out all her great creative ideas while you’re there! 🙂

Thanks again Maria for inviting me to participate in your project!

Why, Discount Dance, Why?

It’s the first day of dance and your newest little toddler students enter the room in their new dancewear – hair pulled back, cute little leotards, pink tights and then you look down at their feet and you see:

Flimsy slipper
THE HORROR!
The super soft fake satin ballet “slippers” they unfortunately sell next to dancewear at Target and Walmart.  Every preschool teacher’s nightmare.  They fall off feet, cause dancers to trip and fall and are simply not suited for a dance class.
Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 10.36.27 PM
But they truly are annoying and I cringe every time I see a parent proudly whip them out of a dance bag… usually just a case of being mis-informed.
Then today I was shopping for some new ballet slippers for myself from Discount Dance and I see this:
 Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 10.43.52 PM
Let’s take a closer look…
s200

AHHHHH!  Eh tu, Discount Dance?

I mean, I understand that Target and Walmart might not care if the bedroom slippers they are passing off as ballet shoes aren’t ACTUAL ballet slippers, but Discount Dance should have SOME shred of integrity when it comes to shoes that are listed under the “Ballet” category!  Whyyyyyy??

At least one of the reviewers (mind you, a 13-year old who has better sense then a dance catalog) wrote:

“I’m just going to quickly say if you are planning on buying these to wear them, don’t…Anyway, I actually made them in to a keychain!”

The only use for this shoe is as a decoration!

Ok… rant over.  I feel better now.

At least until the first day of class…

Western Week Day #5: Our Show!

Today’s the day – it’s show time down at the corral!

It’s Day #5 at Western Week Dance Camp and all the parents and friends are invited to our show.

Day #5 Agenda

8:50-9:00am – Parent Drop-off / Student Sign-in

9:00-9:20am – Warm-up

9:20-10:15am – Show Practice

10:15-10:30am – Craft: Show Programs / Picture Frames & Yarn Dolls

10:30-10:45am – Snack Time

10:45-11:00am – Practicing one last time!

11:15-11:30am – Getting into costume

11:45-12:00pm – Games / Cool-down – Relay Race!

Day #5 Crafts: Yarn Dolls & Programs / Picture Frames

For the Yarn Dolls, you will need:

– Lots and lots of yarn
– Scissors
– Something to wrap the yarn around – we used CD cases, but stiff cardboard would work just as well

Here is a great post with many pictures that explains how to make a yarn girl or boy.  The only difference we had was that we used contrasting yarn for all of the tying off.

That’s a lot of yarn!

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Western Week Day #4: Cowgirl Vests!

It’s Day #4 at Western Week Dance Camp!  Today we are working on practicing our “show” and making costumes.

Day #4 Agenda

8:50-9:00am – Parent Drop-off / Student Sign-in

9:00-9:30am – Warm-up

9:30-10:00am – Jazz Dance class – practicing our dances in sequence

10:00-10:45am – Craft – Cowgirl Vests & Foot Print Horses

10:45-11:00am – Snack Time

11:00-11:45am – Tap Class – practicing our dances in sequence

11:45-12:00pm – Games / Cool-down – Relay Race!

Day #4 Crafts: Cowgirl Vests & Foot Print Horses

For the Vests, you will need:

– Large paper bags
– Ribbons
– Scissors
– Crayons, paint, markers – whatever you want to decorate with (we used crayons)
– Tin foil & large-eyed needle
Prep Work for today’s craft: Cutting out the arm and neck holes for each vest, laying out all the “decorations”.We followed these instructions from Crayola’s website.  Everyone got to decorate their own vest with as much ribbon and coloring as they chose.  Some girls made “fringe” at the bottom with scissors (you could also tear it if you have little ones).

Picking out just the right colors for her vest!
Having fun coloring on the vests
The hardest part was the tin foil “badges” or “rosettes” – to get them to stay on, a teacher needed to help  poke the ribbon through the vest with a large needle.  The kids were able to thread the needle, but it was too hard to push through without an adult’s help.
Our vests waiting for the show tomorrow…

For the Foot Print Horses craft, you will need:

– Multiple colors of construction paper

– Yarn

– Glue

– Googly eyes (optional)

– Crayons or markers

We enjoyed this one because we also learned our “Bullseye the Horse” tap dance that day (song from Toy Story).

Instructions can be found at Busy Bee Crafts. The basic idea is that you trace your foot print onto a piece of construction paper and that becomes the horse’s head.  You add it to a long triangle piece, two little triangles for ears, add yarn for a mane and you’ve got a horse!

The girls had a blast tracing their feet – it produced lots of giggles!  They were able to cut out their foot tracing easily and paste it on.  We had a pre-assemble horsey so that they could figure out what piece went where.

This horse is galloping right off the paper!  She’s a fast one 🙂

Some of the girls opted to draw a face on their horse.

A happy horsey
Another beautiful horse – this one with some eyelashes!

We left everything to dry overnight and we were very excited because tomorrow is the show!


Get along little doggie – see ya tomorrow!

Western Week Day #3: Into the Sunset

For Day #3 of our Western Week Dance Camp we are learning more new dance steps and finishing up our sunsets!

Day #3 Agenda

8:50-9:00am – Parent Drop-off / Student Sign-in
9:00-9:30am – Warm-up – we made Negative Space Statues
9:30-10:00am – Jazz Dance class – adding on to our dances
10:00-10:45am – Craft –
10:45-11:00am – Snack Time
11:00-11:45am – Tap Class – reviewing yesterday’s dance
11:45-12:00pm – Games / Cool-down – we made an obstacle course

Day #3 Crafts: Cowboy Sunsets (Part 2) & Bead Pins

Part Two of Cowboy Sunsets:

Yesterday we made the “sunset” portion of the craft and had to let the coffee filters dry overnight.

Adding dye to the coffee filters

Prep Work for today’s craft: Cutting out the rims of paper plates

Today we will make and decorate the frames.  Here is our set-up for today’s portion of the craft:

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