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! ūüôā

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…
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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!

Continue reading

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 Рit 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 ūüôā

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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Western Week Day #2: Cowgirls!

For Day #2 of our Western Week Dance Camp we are learning more new dance steps and making cowgirl neckerchiefs!

Day #2 Agenda

8:50-9:00am – Parent Drop-off / Student Sign-in
9:00-9:30am – Warm-up – we went on a “Bear Hunt
9:30-10:00am – Jazz Dance class – adding on to our dance
10:00-10:45am – Craft – Neckerchiefs and Cowboy Sunsets
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 #2 Crafts: Cowgirl Neckerchiefs & Cowboy Sunsets

For the Neckerchiefs, You Will Need:

– Fabric cut into large squares (big enough to fold in half)
– Fabric Paint
– Paintbrushes
– Optional: rubber fabric stamps
Prep work: ¬†My Camp Director cut out the fabric squares ahead of time and we made a painter’s palette for each group of two. ¬†

We have a collection of rubber stamps that grows each year–most popular are the letter stamps and flowers. Some of the campers preferred to stamp and other drew designs and scenes.

Whichever they chose, they all turned out beautiful and the kids were excited to wear them for the show!

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Western Week Day #1: Tie-Dye

Our studio offers two types of camp: 5-day “Dance Camp” for ages 6-10 and 4-day “Princess Camp” for ages 4-6.

For both camps, the students come each day for three hours from 9am – noon and we dance and do arts and crafts.

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.

This year, the older kids’ camp theme was “Western / Cowgirls / Hoe Down”, which my camp director had a blast planning and I enjoyed doing! ¬†I wanted to share our week with you and hopefully it will give you some ideas for your camp or even just some fun crafts to do at home this summer! ¬†Psst – if you’re looking for another camp idea – check out last year’s “Rock Star” Camp.

Day #1 Agenda

8:50-9:00am – Parent Drop-off & Student Sign-in
9:00-9:30am – Warm-up & “Get to know you” activities – I like doing the Name Game as an icebreaker
9:30-10:00am – Jazz Dance class – we learn our first group dance
10:00-10:45am – Craft – Tie-dye
10:45-11:00am – Snack Time
11:00-11:45am – Tap Class – we learn our first tap dance
11:45-12:00pm – Games / Cool-down

Day #1 Craft: Tie-Dye

You Will Need:
– T-Shirts
–¬†Fabric¬†Dye¬†
–¬†Buckets
–¬†Rubberbands

The first day of all of our camps we traditionally do tie-dye, as the shirts take some time to dry and we sometimes use the tie-dyed shirts in later projects.  This year was no different and we took to the sidewalk outside our school to tie-dye.

Before heading outside, we wrapped our shirts with rubber bands.  Depending on the age of your kids, you can get pretty creative.  Our campers favored the Spiral, Stripes and Dots techniques.

We are fortunate to have a spigot in the front of our building, so we use that to fill up a bunch of tubs mixed with tie-dye and place them on the sidewalk and let the kids have at it.  We had a small group this time, so we let them all go at once, but if you have a larger group, you might have to break it up.

Wearing our T-shirts for the show!

Tip: ¬†The younger children always want to dip their shirts in Every Single Bucket because… well, its just fun to dip in the buckets! ¬†If you use dark colors, their shirts will end up a not-so-pretty brown color. ¬†We try to get colors that are light and will mix well if layered (yellow, pink, purple, orange). ¬†

More tips from last year.

After they have dyed to their heart’s content, one of the teachers washes the T-shirt under the cold water ¬†until no more dye runs out and then the kids hang them up to dry (we use a portable ballet barre on the sidewalk).

Day #1 Playlist

Western Week at Dance Camp

We just finished up a week of Dance Camp and we had a blast! ¬†Our theme was “Out West” and we had a lot of fun coming up with different crafts to keep ourselves occupied.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it next week but in the meantime, I’ll share our playlist for the show:

Western / Hoe-Down Theme (ages 6-9)

Our tap songs:

Our jazz songs:

Have a great weekend!

Marching Onward… and Checking In!

Hi friends, just taking a moment to check in and say I’m still here! ¬†Crazy busy, but still here!

February to June is my super busy season, as I’m sure it is for many other dance teachers and studio owners as we prep for our annual recital, register for summer classes and work on next season’s schedule!

Haven’t had as much time to write down thoughts and new music finds, but I wanted to share a funny story from my beginning ballet class. ¬†They are first and second graders and always surprise me, but one caught me off guard!

We were at ballet barre about to work on tendus…

Miss Cait (that’s me): “Now what do we need to remember about tendus? ¬†Sophie?”

Sophie: “Straight legs!”

MC: “That’s right, what else, Julia?”

Julia: “Make them sticky!” (see more about that here)

MC: “Yes definitely… ok, anything else, Morgan?”

Morgan (just as brightly and matter-of-factly as the other responses): “My fish died!”

MC: “Oh.. well… I’m very sorry to hear that – what was your fish’s name?”

Morgan: “Swishy”

MC: “Well…” (scrambling for the appropriate response)

Sophie: “I know! ¬†We can have a funeral for Swishy!”

MC: “I don’t know…”

Julia: “It’s perfect ’cause we’re all dressed up for a funeral – we’re all wearing black!” (we wear black and pink)

MC: “Ok then, let’s dedicate tendues to Swishy”

Kids: “Swishy, this is for you.”

So that’s how we ended up dedicating part of our ballet barre to Swishy the fish!

Valentine’s Day Craft


Here is a quick and easy craft you can do in your classroom or studio:  Make a wall of hearts!
We started ours last week – I left out heart-shaped red, pink and white paper and a bowl of crayons next to a sign that says “Why Do You Love Dance?
“I like dancing because it is fun”
Dancers (and brothers, sisters, moms and dads) have been writing and drawing why they love dance all week.
Even the Big Girls got in on the action!
And a note from a “Dance Daddy”:
It says “I like to watch my girls grow with dance”.¬†
The Heart Wall has been a nice addition to our waiting room ¬†– everyone has enjoyed reading the responses. ¬†I think I’ll leave it up for the rest of the month!
If you can’t wait until next year to try this, you could do this any time of the year – or go with the next holiday… clovers for March: ¬†“I’m Lucky To Dance Because…” or Spring umbrellas… be creative!

More Valentine’s Day dance ideas: