NMM: Promise Land – Hannah Miller

You know how you start on YouTube looking up a ballet step and then you end up down a weird alley of YouTube and don’t know how you got there?  Or is that just me?  Anyway, this time I ended up at drone videos of Chernobyl (what?), but at least I got this haunting song out of it.  Happy Monday!

iTunes link to Promise Land by Hannah Miller

And here is the drone video of Chernobyl:

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Fall 2014 Teen Playlist

We interrupt this renovation saga with a playlist!  I was updating my playlists for the fall and here are a few new songs my teen/college classes have been enjoying.  I say “teens” because some of these songs have some questionable PG-13 subject matter, so use with caution (as far as I know, there are no swear words).

Stretching Songs

Upbeat Songs

Lyrical/Contemporary Songs

How has the beginning of the new dance year been for you?  Found any new music?  Share in the comments!

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2013 Song Selections

A look back at all of the songs I used for choreography this past year.  This post is more or less for my own archival purposes, but maybe someone will find something new too!

My little "Nutcracker" dancers

My little “Nutcracker” dancers

Want more?  Check out 2012 and 2011‘s lists.

TAP CHOREOGRAPHY



MODERN / CONTEMPORARY / BALLET

CHILDREN’S MUSIC

Apparently this was the year of Regina Spektor and combining songs!  Oh well, onto the next year 🙂
What was your favorite music you choreographed or danced to this year?
All songs open in iTunes, Dance Buzz is an iTunes affiliate.

Creative Movement: Beating The Heat

Hot Sun
“Hot Sun” by Brian Gurrola

Summer is in full swing and it’s been hot hot hot where I live for the past two weeks! If it’s summer where you live, I’m sure you are feeling the heat.  I feel badly for my city neighbors who have been suffering from super heated subways and sidewalks…  Make sure you’re staying hydrated if it’s hot where you live!

Because of the heat, in creative movement summer class we’ve been channeling “cool thoughts”.  Here are a few exercises you can do with your classes:

1) Snowy Day Dances.  

Maria explains it best in her blog entry with a ton of great creative movement ideas about snow, and using the book, “Snowy Day” (Maria’s Movers)

Snow Man

2) Build a Snow Man (or Woman) – group exercise 

Split up into “Snow People” and “Builders/snow artists”.   The Builders will create a snow person out of the Snow People by gently guiding and shaping each snow person into a shape to make one big snowman.

The first time we do this exercise, I assign each Builders a part, like “lower body”, “face”, “accessories”, to help them narrow down what they are creating.  If your crew is really good at working together or you have a small class, then you might be able to skip the assignments and just let them create together.

Remind the Snow that their job is to hold their position, but cooperate if a new Builder would like to shape them differently.

Each of the Builders adds on the creation (stretching arms to create scarves, moving hands for buttons or even suggesting an expression for the Snow to make). Suddenly… Voila! you have a snow man!  Switch the groups and tasks and repeat! 

I love this exercise for my youngest creative movement class (ages 7-10), as it is a great introduction to group work and partnering in a fun way.  This is a very hands-on activity… we learn about communication, leadership and cooperation. 

My older kids get a kick out of it too and you can create some cool lifts (no pun intended) out of it.  With my older ones, I skip the assignments and just split them into groups of 3-5 and tell them they need to create a snow man or woman using their bodies.  Then we take turns showing our snow person and creating storylines about what the snow person does for a living, what he or she is doing at that very moment.  A lot of fun!

3) Ocean Dances 

Check out this page Ohia.com for a lot of great ocean-inspired creative movement exercises!

4) Storm Dance

Weather and nature is great for creative movement inspiration.  My 5 and 6 year olds enjoy being seeds that blow in the wind and then turn into flowers when the sun shines.  When we are flowers our roots are planted (either by sitting, kneeling or standing in one spot) and just our upper body moves.

Learn From The Way The Wild Flowers Grow. They Do Not Work Or SpinSometimes there is a big thunderstorm coming and our petals and leaves blow very fast (we sort of look like those inflatable tubes that wave all around).  Other times it rains and we drip and droop.  When the sun shines we stand up very tall and spread our leaves to catch all of the sunshine.

Other times we pretend we are clouds that float about the room.  Our clouds can be blown by the wind together to travel in one direction or sometimes we float in different directions. Have fun creating your own weather dances!

5) Other “Cool”Summer Movement Inspiration

– Ice melting and freezing: great for “freeze dance”
– Floating in a pool or stream: oh no! there’s a whirlpool!
– Making shapes that divers make (cannonball!)
– Blowing in the wind
– Rain:  light rain, heavy rain, being a flower or plant in the rain
– Fishing: being fish, being on a boat, fishing, being the worm, seaweed
– Fans:  slow fans, oscillating fans, big fans, small fans
– Making Lemonade: adding sugar, ice, lemons, mixing

Music Suggestion:  The David Sun Natural Sound Collection: Sounds of the Earth – Storm The David Sun Natural Sound Collection: Sounds of the Earth - Storm - Sounds of the Earth

How do you “stay cool” at dance class?  Any summer movement ideas?

February Pinspiration: Dance EVERYWHERE

This month’s Pinspiration is all about dancing everywhere… except the studio!  I wish this would happen more often in real life.
Keep up with The Dance Buzz on Pinterestfor more dance inspiration.

Paul Taylor Dance Company; Photographer: Jordan Matter Source: Acts of Flight
Paul Taylor Dance Company; Photographer: Jordan Matter Source: Acts of Flight

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NMM: Hey Ya – Obidiah Parker

This one’s been around for a while, but I recently re-discovered it in my playlists.

Today’s New Music Monday song is an acoustic cover of Hey Ya Hey Ya - Obadiah Parker Live by Obadiah Parker

I like to use this song in my modern and contemporary classes and also for a cool-down in jazz class. The only problem is for the first few times you play it, the kids will be concentrating on figuring out why it sounds so familiar. I know I was!

Click here for all contemporary New Music Mondays

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Lyrical & Modern "Shoes" – Do You Wear Them?

I prefer bare feet for my modern and contemporary classes, but lately my students have been wearing FootUndeez or Dance Paws (the ones with stripes, polka dots, sparkles, etc) to class. I feel like an old lady but I tell them “when I was your age, those shoes didn’t exist and we toughened our feet by dancing barefoot. We we proud of our callouses”. In college, we were not allowed to wear them and quickly adapted to dancing on marley barefoot.

Then my students laugh at me and pull on their rainbow colored modern “shoe” over their tender, un-calloused feet.  So here’s my question to you, dear reader:

What do YOU wear on your feet to modern / lyrical class?  

Or if you’re a teacher – what do you allow your students to wear in class?  For performance?

If you’re not sure of what I’m talking about, they are little shoes that slip on over your toes and just over the ball of your foot to reduce friction and help with turns.

As a teacher, I allow my recreational students to wear them in class and in recital, but they must be skin-toned for the recital.  And they must make a choice – whatever they plan to wear for the show, they must wear for class.

For my competitive students, I do not allow the to wear them for modern dances and for lyrical, I make a decision on the day of competition based on the surface of the stage. For slippery stages, they go barefoot.

As a dancer, I don’t like the feeling of things between my toes while I dance.  I have a wide foot and the “Pawz” and “FootUndeez” cut off the circulation to my pinkie toe – does anyone else have that problem?  I think I might like the half-ballet shoe (top row, middle), but for now I will remain shoeless.