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:

2014 Song Selections

Because I’m a huge music / stats nerd, I like to share my song choices from each year.  It’s mostly for me to be able to look back and say “when did I use that song”? , but maybe someone will enjoy it too.

(Here’s 2013’s music list if you’re curious… and 2012… and 2011)

Our first half of our recital had a theme which was “dance inspired by literature or literary themes”, so you may notice that some of my songs are related to books.

Links open in iTunes, unless otherwise noted 🙂

TEENS

TWEENS

CHILDREN

“I’m Late” – white rabbit tap solo

Loved this one!

Can I get a show of hands for who used an “over popular” song this year and regretted it?  What was your favorite song to choreograph to this year?  Comment below.

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!

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

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New Music Monday: Torn – Nathan Lanier

Another great instrumental track (see “Let It Go / Winter” mash-up from last month if you want another instrumental), here is “Torn” by Nathan Lanier.  It’s very “epic soundtrack-y” – I’m using it this year for a modern class who requested a dance where half could be good and half could be evil.  It seems to be suiting them well.

I believe it was used on SYTYCD a few seasons back, but haven’t seen it hit the competition circuit too hard yet, so I figured I’d share!

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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.

NMM: Perpetuum Mobile – Penguin Cafe Orchestra

Today’s New Music Monday is a song that just makes you want to create something:  Perpetuum Mobile by Penguin Cafe Orchestra (link opens in iTunes).

I’ve been using this one in my modern classes during improv and I think it helps set a creative atmosphere in class.  Plus its just fun to listen to!  Enjoy 🙂

Grab it on iTunes:

Perpetuum Mobile - Preludes, Airs & Yodels

As a side note, this song was used in the claymation film “Mary and Max“, which if you’re in the mood for a moving animated movie – watch this (its on Netflix).  Just keep the tissues nearby and don’t say I didn’t warn you.