Our “Frozen-Inspired” Dance Camp: Activities & Games

This post is part of our “Frozen-Inspired” Dance Camp Series.

Activities / Creative Movement

Melting & Freezing

We explored the movement qualities of melting and freezing by pretending to be Olaf melting in the summer or freezing with Elsa’s help.  We melted for 16 slooooooow counts, and froze again for 16 then repeated in 8 counts, 4 counts, 2 and 1!  We melted with a friend, froze into different shapes or poses, started on one leg, etc.  Lots of variations to be had with this one!

More Melting Inspiration from Maria’s Movers Blog

Journey to Elsa’s Castle

We pretended to be Anna and Kristoff making their journey to or from Elsa’s castle.  We did this by playing Going on a Bear Hunt, but we changed the words to “We’re going on a journey, we’re gonna go get Elsa, I’m not scared, I’m not scared”.  For the next part (“we can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, I guess we’ll go… through it!”), we encountered :

  • Deep deep snow – big slow marches to lift our feet through the snow
  • A dark forest – tip toes
  • A cold frozen stream – skating
  • A big tall mountain – climbing actions
  • An icy staircase – careful climbing actions

Until we got to the castle and knocked on the door and found… MARSHMALLOW (the snow monster)!  Reverse all the actions as fast at you can to go back to Arrendale and climb into bed with the covers over our head.

Creative Movement based on Scenes or Characters from the Movie

We did a lot of creative movement / free dance, based on settings and characters from the movie.  We would first describe the scene / character, then talk about the movements the characters did (running, rolling, climbing, skating, etc) and then dance them using those movements.  Some of our favorite scenes:

Olaf In Summer – skipping, laying (sun-tanning), swaying, blowing dandelions, floating


Skating on Elsa’s pond – skating, twirling, sliding

Dancing like Marshmallow – “stompy”, angry, slow
They also enjoyed pretending to be at the coronation ball, dancing like the trolls, pretending to be a snow-swirl created by Elsa, and of course, being Elsa.


Games

In addition to the usual run of camp games (Freeze Dance, 4 corners, relay races, etc), we added a few or tailored them to better fit our theme:

Obstacle Course – We set up various obstacles around the room relating to the trip to Elsa’s castle.  We used cones to tip toe around like trees, a tunnel to go under, a gym mat to roll across, a “tightrope” (tape line on the floor) to walk on, ice puddles to jump over (little rugs)

Pin the Nose on Olaf – we had an Olaf-shaped posterboard and had the girls take turns being blind-folded and pinning their “nose” onto Olaf.  Since we had a large crew, we split them between three different groups so we could have three people going at the same time.

Our life-size Anna & Elsa was a
big hit for photos!

Red Light, Green Light, Frozen Variation Basic Red light/Greenlight rules – in our version instead of being a redlight/greenlight, the “It” person is Elsa – and freezes people when she turns around.  We used the terms “WINTER” for STOP and “SUMMER” for GO.  If anyone was caught moving when the “It” person said WINTER, they had to go back to the starting line.  First person to touch the “It” person gets to be “It” for the next round.

One other thing that we used during the week was this Life-size Anna & Elsa – we found this great life-size cardboard cutout from Amazon.  They have other characters, but I really liked the two girls together.  We used them for a backdrop in our pictures and the kids loved “holding their hand” and just seeing them in general.
What other games / activities can be adapted to fit a “Frozen” theme?  Are you sick of the music yet?  Will you use it in your classes next season? Comment below!

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.

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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?

Summer Playlist Updates 2014

Hope you’re all having a great summer!

Need some refreshments for your class playlists? Look no further – here are a few tunes to change up your playlist.  I’m teaching mostly tap this summer, so my playlist tends to lean in that direction, but most of these songs could easily crossover into jazz / children’s hip hop / contemporary.

CHILDREN / TWEENS

Call It Whatever (Bella Thorne)

Really Don’t Care (Demi Lovato)

Dar Um Jeito/We Will Find A Way (Avicii / Santana) – FIFA World Cup theme, a really good upbeat song – the whole album “One Love, One Rhythm” actually has a lot of fun “world” music

Can You Do This (Aloe Blacc) –  I’ve been using this as part of an improv combination – on the chorus we trade 8’s in tap class

Classic (MKTO)

TEENS

Love Runs Out (One Republic) – its been all over the radio stations, but I love using this in tap class for warm-ups

Basically I (Robert DeLong) – good warm-up / across the floor song

On Top Of The World (Imagine Dragons) – a happy little song that makes me smile

Luck (American Authors)

Sing (Ed Sheeran)

Problem (Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea) – another Top 40 rounds out my summer playlist update

The Dance Buzz is an iTunes affiliate.

Autumn Leaf Creative Movement Dance

leavesI wanted to share an autumn leaf dance I’ve been exploring with my younger classes.  It was inspired by a fewdifferentposts from fellow dance bloggers and my recent acquisition of scarves!

We danced this dance in my youngest ballet classes (ages 5 and 6) through my intermediate ballet and modern classes (ages 9-12) and they all enjoyed it.

After all, who doesn’t like dancing with scarves!?

Autumn Leaf Creative Movement

This dance can be as structured or as open as you’d like to make it.

Scarves (links to Amazon)

Optional Props:  Dance scarves (I purchased these 27″ square ones from Amazon and they are holding up pretty well considering we’ve been using them almost weekly in about 10 classes a week.  They are nice and big and come in a nice variety of colors. The edges are starting to fray slightly, but I expected that.)

Skills:  Spatial awareness, working with a group, telling a story, improvisation

Music:  We used Vivaldi’s Autumn Allegro (The Four Seasons) & for the older classes closer to Halloween switched to a spookier-sounding song – we used Sayuri’s Theme.  Links open in iTunes, DB is an iTunes affiliate

We divided our class into Tree dancers, Wind dancers and Leaf dancers.  The scarves made it easy as I was able to group dancers by color (red and orange were Leaves, green and yellow were Trees, blue and purple were Wind).

General movements:

Trees – tall and straight, limbs moving and shaking in the wind.  For ballet classes, they moved through different ballet arm positions, modern class was freer movements, the scarf held in one or two hands like a leaf.

Wind – flow-y and blow-y, lots of traveling.  We used chasses, bourees, gallops, ballet runs, and turns, with the scarf circling overhead

Leaves – going between slow and still movements to fast and big movements.  We used skipping, hop scotch, and turns, scarf dancing along with them.

Formation & Travel Patterns:

To start, the Leaves gathered in a pile in the center of the room (sitting or kneeling together).  Trees stood in a circle around them.  Wind stood in a line “offstage”.  I usually appointed a leader (or had my assistant lead) for the Wind so that they would move in a line, like “follow the leader” – it helped them not get so wild.

Blue = Wind dancers, Red = Leaf dancers, Green = Tree dancers

The “Story”:  I would narrate this over top of the music, occasionally changing it up (the options I can remember in parentheses).  I also think it would work well with Maria’s creative movement falling leaves poem.  After a few times, I would give fewer and fewer cues and with the older kids we did it without talking.

Once upon a time, deep in the woods (middle of a meadow, spooky Halloween forest, etc) was a wonderful circle of tall, tall trees.  

The trees were straight and tall from their roots (in 1st position for ballet) and stretched their branches up to the sun.  

Then one day, the wind began to blow (motion for wind dancers to enter – they would do their movement traveling around the room) and the trees‘ branches began to shake.  

The leaves began to dance all around (cue for Leaf dancers to get up and come out of the circle).  They danced this way, and that way and twirled and whirled with the wind!  

At this point I would send Wind back offstage, (“The wind went away, back from where it came… and the leaves drifted slowly back to their tree grove and trees protected them” – trees would reach hands in the middle to cover leaves) or open it up to creative movement, which is what I would usually do towards the end of our class (all the forest began to move around and dance together).

Repeat and switch roles!

Other ideas we played with during group dance:

  • Incorporate steps from class, using the scarf (“they balance’d this way and balance’d that way”)
  • Have all dancers just dance with their arms and the scarf
  • Observer how the scarf moves and imitate it with their bodies
  • Float slowly to the ground like a falling leaf
  • Toss the scarf in the air during their creative dancing

Does anyone else have a fun scarf dance or exercise?  Do you do a fall dance?  I hope you enjoyed ours!

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!

Dance Baseball

This is a fun dance game that my students love playing in class.  I hesitate to call it a “game” because I try to make a lot of our exercises in class fun, and it also is a good review of technique.  Either way, the kids see it as a game and they love playing, so I like to save it for special times of the year.

As a side note, one of my 7 year olds who started playing softball in the spring was so proud that she was the only one on her softball team that year who knew how the game worked because we had played “ballet baseball” in class…wasn’t exactly what I was hoping she would learn from ballet class, but hey at least she learned something!

Dance Baseball

Ages 7 & Up (dancers need a basic understanding of baseball/softball)

Class:  Adaptable to any style of class where the students have learned specific technique skills that they can be called upon to remember.  I will use a beginning ballet class in my description below.

My ballerinas lined up to play (purple cone is 1st base)

Set-Up:  Designate bases around the room (we use the traditional diamond shape, but your dance baseball field can have as many bases as you like).  I usually use small cones, but little rugs or tape mark would work.  The pitcher (usually that’s me) stands in the middle.

The Goal: The whole class is one team and their goal is to get as many “runs” around the bases as a class as they can against the pitcher, who’s goal is to stump them and get them “out”.

How we play:  The first dancer comes “up to bat” (steps up to home plate) and I “pitch” them a dance step (2nd position demi plie). If they can do it, they move (we bourree) to first base.

The second dancer steps up to home plate and I “pitch” them a different step (degagé).  If they can do it, they move to first base and the first dancer moves to second.  If the do not know the step or do it incorrectly, the team has an “out”.  Depending on the age, I will give hints or three tries to the dancer who is up.  If I’m able to stump someone, I keep using the same step until someone gets it.

This continues and if dancers know the step, they all move up one base, eventually getting all the way back home and earning a “run”.

We play to three outs and count up the runs.  We try to beat our highest score as a class the next time we play.

Stealing a base in ballet baseball

Advanced Dance Baseball:  “Stealing bases”

With my tweens and teens, I allow “base stealing”.  The pitcher holds a beanbag and dancers may attempt to steal a base by tiptoeing… however if they try to steal a base, I can toss the beanbag at them to try to get them out.  This usually causes lots of giggles since I have pretty bad aim ☺

Just remind them that they are in dance class, not a field, so no running (or sliding).  Sometimes I allow multiple people on the bases – modify the rules as you see fit!

I hope you like our fun alternative to reviewing dance steps – make it your own!  Play ball!