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!
One of my favorite activities to do on the first day of Dance Camp or the first day of class is to create a “Name Dance”. It is a simple and fun activity that helps us learn each other’s names.
The Name Dance
To begin, start in a circle. One at a time, each student says their name with a simple gesture. Encourage the students to do whatever movement they want – does not have to be a ‘technical step’. Let them experiment with how they say their name – rhythmic, loud, soft, etc.
Go around the circle a second time; students may keep their same gesture or change it. This time, when a student does their name gesture, the class must echo them in both movement and sound.
The third time around, build the dance. Link a few name gestures together and practice saying / doing them in a row. See if you can make it all the way around the circle to finish the full Name Dance.
Bonus Name Dance Activities
If everyone is still enjoying the Name Game and you’ve gotten the hang of it, try going faster, in slow motion, facing outside the circle or going in reverse order.
This game is a lot of fun and students will remember their step for weeks to come – I’ve had students say “oh, now we’re doing The Emma” or “can we add a Sophia in here”. Some of my classes like to greet each other with the other person’s gesture.
And by the way, a “Miss Cait” is a very fancy curtsey 🙂
Originally published February 25, 2011
Polishing, cleaning, fine-tuning… whatever you call it, its necessary before a performance. I thought I’d share some of my favorite techniques that I’ve picked up over the years as a student and teacher.
The first key is making sure everyone knows the dance – break the routine into 8 counts, count by count and analyze and correct everything from the head placement, arms, feet, legs (bent or straight), and tempo. If you’re low on time, start at the messiest part of the dance.
Once everyone knows the dance, repetition is key! One of my teachers would not move on until each section (usually 8 counts) had been performed correctly and cleanly three times… in a row. If we messed up on the third time, she started over. She called it her “Rule of Three’s” and used it for only the messiest parts of dances because it can get very frustrating, but yields results.
Read more suggestions after the break!