2012 Song Selections

Now that the competitions and recitals are over, I’d thought I’d share my list of songs I used this past year for choreography. (Here is 2011 in case you’re curious)

All links open in iTunes, unless otherwise noted



My magic hat!
Faces obscured for privacy



What was your favorite song that you danced to this year?

New Music Monday: Tap Playlist

Tap shoesAs I was getting ready to teach class tonight, I thought to myself, I haven’t done a tap playlist in a while…  so here you go!  Some old tunes, some new tunes, a little bit of everything.



Soft Shoe-type Combinations (laid back summer style)

  • Ok, It’s Alright With Me – Eric Hutchinson
  • I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
  • Better Together – Jack Johnson

Fast Jazz & Big Band

  • My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now – Dirty Dozen Brass Band
  • Swing Set – Jurassic 5  
  • Life Goes To A Party – Benny Goodman 
  • Shame, Shame, Shame – Roomful of Blues

Rock Star Camp Day 1: Tie-Dye

.See more about our camps here – Rock Star Theme Camp.

Day #1 Set List

  • Warm-Up:  Creative Movement in center & across the floor
  • Jazz Class:  Learn Jazz Dance #1
  • Craft Time:  Tie-Dye T-Shirts & VIP Passes
  • Snack
  • Tap Class: Learn Tap Dance #1
  • Game Time: Obstacle Course & Freeze Dance

Main Craft: Tie-Dye T-shirts
You Will Need:
– T-Shirts
Fabric Dye (pink, yellow, blue, purple)
– Buckets
– Rubberbands

We keep it basic and mix up 4 or 5 different buckets of fabric dye outside the studio (we have a sidewalk with a faucet, which works perfectly).  The kids design the t-shirts inside with rubberbands.  If you want design ideas, here are a few good tutorials.   

We skip the soda ash step and just let the kids dip in the buckets. The shirts end up pastel, but it works for us and keeps it simple.  Once the kids are done dipping, we rinse the shirts out under the outside faucet, unwrap them and hang them up to dry.

Tip #1:  Some kids will want to use one or two colors, others will need to dip in every bucket.  For this reason, avoid darker colors like maroon, navy blue and hunter green – mixing will result in a brown t-shirt!  I recommend at least getting red, yellow, purple and bright blue.

Tip #2: The tie-dye will stain skin and dancewear / shoes.  Our kids bring smocks, but inevitably someone splashes and ends up with polka-dot tights.  In our welcome letter I let parents know we will be tie-dying on the first day in case they don’t want to wear their “fancy outfit”.  We tie-dye in bare feet and with our smocks on to avoid most of the mess.

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How To Get A Clean Music Edit Using GarageBand

For our 200th post, I am excited to debut the second video in our GarageBand Tutorial Series:  How To Get A Clean Edit Using GarageBand (see How To Fade a Song here)!

Check out the tutorial below or click the jump for a full transcript with additional notes that aren’t in the video.

Side note…  200 posts!  I feel like that is an exciting milestone.  Fellow bloggers – do you get excited for “milestone” posts?  Or do you celebrate your blog’s “birthday”?  Or am I alone in being dorky?

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SYTYCD Season 9: Best Music (So Far)

Audition from Season 9, Episode 2

Dance recital’s over, summer classes haven’t started yet.. so that means its So You Think You Can Dance season!  Yippee!

Aside from the dancing, my favorite part is the fantastic music finds that come out of each episode.  The only downside is you can expect to hear some of these songs getting overplayed on the competition circuit next year.  But for summer, who cares?  They are deliciously good and I love the variety of genres.

Here are my favorites so far.  I know there’s only been three episodes, but can you believe that between the three episodes there’s been over 100 songs?  Some are great to dance to, but others are just fun to listen to in the car and at home!

Hot Artists so far:  PP Music (UK), James Dooley and District 78 already seem really popular choice, and have been used in all three episodes.

Great Songs To Dance To (links open in iTunes)

Candyland – CocoRosie: Just enough creepiness mixed in with a lovely melody to make something unique and interesting

Guardians At the Gate – Audiomachine:  There seems to be a lot of “cinematic” or soundtrack music this year.  Its very powerful music and I love this particular piece.  It’s also nice for a solo as its only 2 minutes and 12 seconds long.  For a less intense instrumental, check out Moving Cities by Faze Action

Invaderz – Excision & Datsik:  Such a cool electronic song, full of sound effects that are just begging to be danced to.

Mouvement Introductif – Yann Tiersen:  A beautiful classical piece of music.

It’s Good to See You Again – Scott Alan:  I might just love this song because I loved the audition that went along with it.  It was a very touching moment in the show, and it totally got me tearing up.

Non je ne regrette rien – Edith Piaf:  Another great audition – I loved this choice of music as well. Bonus points if you can name a movie this song is used in!

Here’s the video of that last song’s audition:

Great Songs Just To Listen To

So High – LA-EX

Heavy Cross – Gossip

D-D Dance – The Concept

The Only Place – Best Coast

Looking for another song you heard on SYTYCD, but don’t see it here?  

Check out some of these sites – they are the most comprehensive places I’ve found to look for the SYTYCD music:



Your Daily Dance

and of course: FOX SYTYCD Official site

Using iTunes to Make Class Playlists

I am off doing recital things… so here is a post I think you’ll enjoy from the past!  

Originally posted August 2010, updated May 2012

As a dance teacher in the twenty-first century, you can carry thousands of songs in your pocket.

However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Here is how I organize my music library to avoid scrolling through hundreds of songs to find the perfect tempo.  A little organization will save you time and frustration during class.

If you use iTunes, the software allows you make playlists. Use this feature.

Here’s how I do it (and you can too!):

1. Create a DANCE MUSIC LIBRARY – Make a playlist for each type of dance you teach. These will be your music libraries.  We’ll call these your Dance Library Lists. To make a playlist, click File -> New Playlist. In my case, I have a Ballet, Children’s music, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Salsa, Showtunes and Tap playlist.

Then drag and drop music that fits these categories from your Music Library into the playlists. Each of these playlists will have hundreds of songs.  Think of them like the old CD racks on the walls of your studio – they contain all the music you might ever want to play in class.  Here is my ballet library playlist – it has 200+ songs and full CDs of ballet music.

2. Create CLASS PLAYLISTS – Now make a playlist for each class you teach. If I am teaching a combination class of tap/jazz, I will often make two playlists. I label mine by the day and time “Tues. 5 – Jazz” or “Tues. 5 – Tap” or “Adult Tap Class”.

Side Note:  If you noticed my playlists are numbered, you might be as detail-oriented as I am.  iTunes organizes alphabetically, so Thursday will come before Tuesday if you just label it by day. I add the number in front of it because I am anal and need my classes to be in order!

These playlists are much smaller and I often re-arrange them each month or so to bring in new music. To get new music, I just have to go back to my Dance Library Lists and pull a few songs from there. Here is my Thursday/Friday ballet class playlist. It has 23 tracks. Enough to get through the class and then whatever piece of choreography we are working on that day is at the bottom:

Hint: For my tap classes, I organize my playlist by the tempo. This way, I can find the correct speed in class quickly.  You can add this column by right clicking where the column headings are and selecting “Beats Per Minute”.  You will have to manually add any missing BPMs however, which can take some time.

3. Use the FOLDER feature. To make a new playlist folder, go to: File -> New Playlist Folder

Label it something useful (Example: “Classes” folder and “Dance Library” folder) and drag and drop your playlists into that folder.Hopefully this organization system will help you to use your iPod during class and you will be able to quickly navigate thousands of songs.


Syncing Your iPod / iPhone

You may have much more music on your laptop than your phone or iPod can hold, which is where you class playlists will come in handiest.  When you plug in your phone, there is a place to select which playlists to synchronize.  If you have little room, sync only your class playlists.

I might be running out of room on my iPhone…

Side Note:  Your iPod or iPhone will automatically keep your music organized in your folders as well. Bonus!

Choreography Playlists

Choreography: All the songs I am currently choreographing. This makes it easy to find when I am in my car or    and want to listen to my songs.

Potential Choreography: Whenever I hear a song that gives me an idea for a piece, I drop it into this playlist. Even if I can’t use it right away, it’s there, stored away where I can find it.

Hope this has helped you get organized for class!

NMM: Remixes & Mash-Ups

Mash-up and remixes are always a fun way to spice up your playlist with something your students might not have heard before!  Here are a few of my current favorites:

1) Check out this remix from AX Mashup: Avicii vs. Gotye – Levels Somebody That I Used To Know (Find more mash-ups by AX on SoundCloud) – Would be good for warm-up

2) Party Ben’s Mash-up of “Tightrope” & “These Boots Are Made For Walkin” – I like this fun take on this song.  I used “Tightrope” last year for my tap class, but this version is definitely “cooler”

3) Norwegian Recycling mash-up of Coldplay, Elton John, Britney Spears, Bruno Mars, DJ Sammy & David Guetta – I just love how he manages to seamlessly blend six artists together… this man is gifted!

Happy listening!

How To Find Clean Hip Hop Music for Kids


.Over the past ten years, hip hop classes at our studio have exploded in popularity. We offer hip hop starting with age six through adult.  I know it can be a struggle to find fun, age-appropriate hip hop music when the majority of the songs on the radio are about sex, drinking or profanity.

Looking over the playlist selection on this blog, I noticed that I am slacking in the hip hop department.  While I teach a variety of genres, hip hop is most definitely not one of them.  I can shim sham all day and pirouette with the best of them, but I cannot pop or lock (although it doesn’t stop me from trying!).

Luckily, I have a bunch of great hip hop instructors at my studio who do try to find age-appropriate music that their students love.

Here are their suggestions for finding appropriate music for class (links open in iTunes – The Dance Buzz is a proud iTunes affiliate):

1.  Go ‘Old School’ for the younger classes!

To my dismay, apparently the following songs are now considered “old school” by one of my hip hop teachers (she’s 20-something).  In any case – look to the past for some fun hip hop songs (although I still recommend checking out the lyrics on older tunes):

Shake It – Aaron Carter
Let’s Get It Started – Black Eyed Peas
U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) – Michael Jackson

2.  Look for young hip hop artists

Ke$ha and Kanye are all grown up and rapping about grown-up subjects.  Instead, look for pint-size rappers whose parent won’t let them use four-letter words in their lyrics.  The Disney tween stars and starlets also fall under this category.

Suggested Artists:  Lil’ Romeo, Willow Smith, China Anne McClain (A.N.T. Farm), Keke Palmer

Lip Gloss – Lil’ Mama
My Baby – Lil’ Romeo
Countdown – Victorious
We Belong to the Music (feat. Miley Cyrus) – Timbaland

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