Candy Alternatives for Halloween Class

As Halloween approaches, we often do special activities at my studio or allow students to wear costumes.  Many teachers like to reward their classes with a special treat, which historically has been candy.  I feel that as dance teachers, we have a responsibility to celebrate healthy choices and I like to search out alternatives to candy–especially with all of the food-allergies and preferences that my students have.

Coloring Pages
Such an easy and low-cost “treat”


Glow Bracelets
This is my choice for this year – trying something new and potentially something that they kids can take with them on Halloween.  I found glow bracelets on Amazon for $8.79 for 100 bracelets, so for under $20 I was able to get enough to cover my 16 weekly classes.

Stickers, Stamps & Temporary Tattoos
My elementary-aged kids love stickers, stamps and tattoos.  Not sure if their parents love them as much, but its fun to do a grab-bag of these items.

Rolls of 500 Halloween Stickers:  $9.99
72 Glitter Halloween Temporary Tattoos: $5.50
24 Halloween Stamps:  $7.95

 

“Haunted House” Class Picture
This one is fun to do with the older kids or students who love social media… the “Haunted House” class picture – take a group picture but tell your students to make a face like they are going through a haunted house – leads to lots of funny faces!

Slap on a filter/background and send to your students and watch them share 🙂

More Ideas For Those Blessed in the Craftiness Department (THANK YOU PINTEREST)

Do you do something special with your classes for Halloween?  Do you hand out any treats?  Share in the comments!
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8 Instagram Post Ideas For Your Dance Studio

Is your dance studio or company on Instagram?  Scared to take the leap? (dance pun intended) Here’s a few tips on how to get started and what to post.

Don’t worry about posting daily – in fact, if you post too many times a day, you may annoy your followers.  It seems like the sweet spot is once a day to a few times a week.  For my studio, I end up posting on average 3-4 times a week unless I’m running a contest or it’s a big event for the studio (recital or competition weekend, for example).

Ok, so now you’ve made an Instagram account… what do you post?

8 Instagram posts ideas for your dance studio or company

1. Your dancers:  The most obvious is to post images and videos of your students dancing!  Be sure to mix it up – some of the cute babies in class mixed in with your best students along with some great action shots from performances.

2. Behind the scenes:  Making costumes?  Folding programs?  Hanging the backdrop for the show?  My students and parents love to see the “behind the scenes” photos.

  

3. Class videos:  This is a great way to expose potential students to the different class types.  Post a short clip of your newest class offering to show students what that class might be like.

4. Hold a contest or photo challenge:  I like to hold contests during school breaks because it gives the kids something to do and keeps them thinking about dance.  Our most recent one was “Spring Break Photo Contest” and dancers had to post a photo of themselves dancing on Spring Break.  We got a lot of fun pictures back that we shared in-studio and on Facebook.  Make sure to use a hashtag for your contest (#ABCstudio).

  • Leap / Jump Contest – followers have to post their best leap or jump
  • Favorite Costume – post a photo of their favorite costume
  • First Year Dancing – any photos from their first year of dancing
  • Dance Everywhere – post a photo of them dancing in an unusual location

5. Dance education:  Post a photo of a famous dancer and have your followers guess who it is.  Share photos of famous ballets and dance companies.

6. Motivation & inspirational quotes:  I like to post these every so often.  I find a lot of them on Pinterest.  Instagram Etiquette Tip: If you borrow someone’s quote, play nice and credit them.

7.  Hashtags:  (Or should I say #hashtags)  Hashtags are a fun way to make your post accessible to more people and are good for when you’re looking for an idea to post something.  My favorite dance-related hashtags are:

  • #TutuTuesday – anything ballet!
  • #TiltTuesday – just what it sounds like
  • #TBT or #FBF – (Throwback Thursday & Flashback Friday) – post an older photo from months or years ago.  These posts usually get the most “likes” on our studio Instagram.
  • Make up your own! What about #musicmonday and post some songs from the upcoming performance?  Or #flexibilityfridays and showcase some tips on how to get more flexible.  Check out this great idea from Maria’s Movers on creating a hashtag for your performances.  Some more hashtag ideas from Dance Spirit.

8. Integrate your posts with Facebook and Twitter:  Instagram makes it easy to connect your account to your Twitter and Facebook accounts and you can share the same posts on all three social media sites at one time.

Have fun!

Further Reading: http://schoolempower.com/blog/posts/20…

Follow The Dance Buzz on Instagram!

Do you use Instagram?  What tips can you share about posting photos and videos? What are your favorite photos to see?  What gets the most likes?

Winter Olympics-Inspired Movement

While my studio is in the process of getting buried under a foot of snow, I figured I would spend my surprise free time planning some olympics-inspired creative movement for tomorrow’s classes.

Pass The Torch – Traveling

You could pass an imaginary torch or a “real” prop (as simple as an orange scarf).  Have your dancers spread out around the room.  When the dancer has the “torch”, them must dance the torch to the next person and then sit down to indicate they already had a turn.  The final dancer brings the torch to the designated “torch lighting station” (could be teacher, or spot in the room).

Pass The Torch – Stationary

Spread out in a line or a circle close enough to touch another person’s out stretched hand.  Begin to pass the torch using different levels and different body parts until it reaches the end.  If you are using a prop, see how far the class can pass it without dropping.

The Slowest Bobsled Race Ever Won

Connect your dancers into teams of 2, 3 or 4 dancers and have them sit one in front of each other in a straddle (like a caterpiller).  Have them hold onto each other at the shoulders or hips so that they are connected.

The goal is to move as a unit over a certain distance (we used tape lines about 5-6 feet apart).  Give them time to practice–they will learn quickly they have to work as a team to move without becoming disconnected!

Line up your “bobsleds” and the first group to completely cross the finish wins.  Disqualify any team that separates.

Variations:  Try a whole-class bobsled!  Or backwards or sideways bobsled race!

Ice & Snow Improv

Adapt usual creative movement exercises to be set at the olympics.

Suggested Musical Tracks

Have you been watching the olympics?  Have you done any lessons based on the olympics?  Is anyone else ready for spring?!

Dance Games, Part 1

Do your dancers ask to play games in dance class or request something “fun”?

As hard as I try to keep class engaging and entertaining, many of my recreational classes still ask for “games” to play.  Often, I will turn to creative movement exercises and label them as “games”.  I also like to throw in some vocabulary builders.  If you’re looking for some new ideas for dance games, here are some alternatives to Freeze Dance (although if you like Freeze Dance, here are a few these variations on Freeze Dance).

When I started gathering ideas for this post and putting together this list, I discovered a bunch of new games.  There are simply too many for one post, so I will spread them out in a few different posts. This post will cover games for Terminology and Vocabulary Review.

Terminology & Vocabulary Review

tap-flashcardsDance Quiz

Basic vocabulary review.  Here are few ideas to keep it interesting:
  • Pick-a-card:  Write down terminology or combinations of steps on note cards.  For younger students, you could draw positions or help them read it.  One at a time, have a dancer pick a card and they must do that step.  For younger students, they get to be the teacher in the front of the room and demonstrate the step while everyone else practices.
  • The Line-Up:  Students stand in a line in the back of the studio.  Starting with the first person, teacher gives them a dance step.  If they do it correctly, they get to move up one step.  If they don’t know it, they pass and the next person gets the same step until someone knows it. Continue down the line with a new term, going back to the beginning of the line when you run out of dancers.  Goal is to get to the front line (we usually play 3 steps).
  • The Line-Up, fast version: I play this version with larger classes. Students stand in a line (facing away from the mirror to discourage peeking) and all close their eyes.  Teacher says a vocabulary step and every does it in place (keeping eyes closed).  Dance teacher taps anyone who is doing it correctly on the shoulder and they get to move up one step. We usually open our eyes at this point and I pick someone to demonstrate what the step was.  Repeat process. Keep going until someone moves all the way up to the front line.
  • Truth or Dare: Teacher asks dancer, “Truth or Dare?”.  When dancer says “truth”, ask terminology questions (how many sounds in a shuffle hop step, which direction is upstage).  For “dare”, they must demonstrate a specific dance step.  You can add “double dare”, which would be a harder dance step.

Roll The Dice


You will need some large foam dice.  Leave one plain (with dots or numbers) and the other add terminology (I used masking tape so that I could change the words for different classes).

For some classes its simple: skip, hop, jump, leap, shuffle, flap, maxi ford, buffalo and for the older classes more complicated, glissade pas de chat, pirouette, jete etc!


Here is how we use them:

  • Dice Quiz:   Have a child roll the movement dice and the number dice and they have to do that many repetitions of the step. If they don’t know the step you can call them out, and see who is left standing, or let them all remain. My kids love it and it’s a great way to test vocabulary.
  • Dice Choreography:  Have each child roll the pair of dice and use the steps to create a dance in succession (two shuffles, four flaps, one buffalo). Sometimes it turns out great and is a very inventive way of creating choreography and other times it’s silly or extremely difficult to transition but it’s still a fun challenge.   You can expand on this idea for tap, by creating rules for rhythm.  For example, we play where every sound must have one count (so shuffle step would be “1 2 3”), and the kids had to figure out what count we ended on.  You can also add “hold” to one side of the dice, so they will need to count “holds” in the combination.

Dance Pie

(or Cake, or Pizza…or whatever you want to make!  Maybe a salad or smoothie? Cornucopia?)I like to use this with age 3-8 year olds in my tap classes – lots of creative movement.  We create a dance recipe using steps as ingredients.

  1. Form a circle and roll out the dough – we usually roll our arms like in Patty Cake or stomp on the ground in tap (for pie or pizza… maybe grease the pan for cakes?)
  2. Ask for a dance step we can add to the pie. Ask how many and what foot to start with.
  3. Dance the step all together and “lift up” the ingredients and throw them in the pie (I like to make different steps heavier or lighter… some are sweet, some are sour, some must be sprinkled, some must be tossed – it adds to the fun!)
  4. Repeat until your “pie” is full!
  5. We march (or another traveling step) around in the circle to mix the pie together, roll the dough on top and pop it in the oven – have to work all together to lift such a heavy pie
  6. Wait.. then eat!  Sometimes we count to 8 or do another activity while it’s “baking”, then take it out and eat it up to make sure we remember all of our steps.

Creative Movement: The Name DanceHot Potato / Pass The Beanbag

Form a circle standing or sitting.  Pass the beanbag (or stuffed animal) until the music stops.  Whoever it stops on must do their favorite dance step.  Or you can have the teacher assign them a step.
 
Sometimes we play where they have to keep doing the step until the next person gets stopped with the beanbag.

The Airplane Game

Ages 3-6, Sung to the tune of Frere Jacques:

“Chasse chasse,

bourree bourree,

clap clap clap, clap clap clap

running like an airplane, running like an airplane

make a shape, make a shape”


Each time, replace the dance terms/clapping with whatever other dance terms you’d like to practice. Once they get the hang of it, you can add in directions (tip toe to the right or dance in a circle).

Here is an instrumental version of Frere Jacques in case you’re not a singer 🙂

Dance Baseball – see this post for full explanation

Sources:

Do you have any “games” or activities do you play to review vocabulary?

Shhhhh… *spritz spritz*

Quiet Spray

“Quiet Spray” – found at The Lemonade Stand blog.  As they suggest: …spray the ROOM to signal children to get quiet.  Or you can just leave the bottle empty.  Mine love the mist in the air….I do not condone spraying a child!  As much as you might want to!  Ha!”

I thought this was a cute idea, even though I don’t have too much trouble with talking in classes (knock on wood…), but every so ofter there is a class that is just the right mixture of personalities to create the chit-chatty class.  Sometimes it only takes one or two chatterboxes to make you want to reach for the quiet spray…especially in my high school classes 🙂

On second thought, maybe I should make some interchangeable labels:

“Pointe-Your-Toes Spray”
“Choreography Cleaner”
“Insta-Turnout”
“Dance Bills-B-Gone”
“Spotting Spray” (NOT to remove spots, but to add spotting to turns!)

Any others you can think of for when you’re having “one of those days”?

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!

New Music Monday: Ballet Goes Pop

Ballet MimeRecently got turned on to this album by Adult Beginner’s ballet music post (side note: if you don’t already read Adult Beginners’s blog, you should because she is awesome and its about ballet and other fun stuff!).

If you’re looking for some new stuff for this year’s ballet class, check it out!

Ballet Goes Pop – Album open in iTunes

Don’t miss frappes to Single Ladies, and grande allegro to I Kissed A Girl, adagio to Someone Like You.  I hope they make another series soon!

TDB is an iTunes affiliate.