Monday, November 29, 2010

New Music Mondays: Tween Jazz Playlist

A fun mix of pop hits, oldies and funk that will keep your tweens moving and grooving in jazz class!

Warm-Up / Cool-Down
Just The Way You Are - Bruno Just the Way You Are - Just the Way You Are - Single
Don't Waste The Pretty - Allison Iraheta Don't Waste the Pretty - Just Like You (Deluxe Version)
Mine - Taylor Swift Mine - Speak Now
Unwritten - Natasha Bedinfield Unwritten - Unwritten (Bonus Track Version)

Across The Floor & Center
Halo / Walkin on Sunshine - Glee Halo / Walking On Sunshine (Glee Cast Version) - Glee: The Music, The Complete Season One
Just The Way I Am - Skye Sweetham Unpredictable - Noise from the Basement
Live it Up - Group One Crew Live It Up - Spacebound - EP
Love Generation - Bob Sinclaire Love Generation - Tripeiro Eu Sou
Respect - Aretha Franklin Respect - Aretha Franklin: 30 Greatest Hits
Walkin on Snow - Jordin Sparks Walking On Snow - Battlefield
Love Struck - V-Factory Love Struck - Love Struck - Single
Calabria 2008 - Enur Calabria 2008 - Ultra 2008 - The Singles
Red Alert - Basement Jaxx Red Alert - Remedy
Canned Heat - Jamiroquai Canned Heat - Center Stage (Music from the Motion Picture)
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson The Way You Make Me Feel (Single Version) - The Essential Michael Jackson

See previous playlists

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Birds Can Dance Too!

Via DancePulp's Twitter feed:

Holiday Craft: Cookies and Brownies in a Jar

Everyone loves cookies and brownies! However some dance teachers are overwhelmed by food and candy presents during the holidays that end up going bad by the time holiday break is over.

Want to give your teacher something homemade? The cookie ingredients in a jar is a gift that can be made easily by children, and the recipient can make the cookies after the holidays are over or whenever is convenient. And since cookies are just about everyone's favorite treats, give a fresh-from-the-oven gift that will keep on giving.

This gift has endless possibilities - just find your favorite cookie recipe and get a clean mason jar with a lid.

How To Make One
You will need: A large mason jar with a lid (1-quart or 1-liter)
Your favorite cookie recipe
Baking ingredients (flour, sugar, chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, etc)
Ribbon, cloth or other decorations

You are going to layer the dry ingredient in the jar so that the individual ingredients form layers. The more varied the colors and textures of your ingredients, the more interesting your jar will look (a simple sugar cookie recipe with white sugar and white flour will not look like much). After layering your ingredients, close the jar and decorate with ribbon or cloth. Include the recipe directions on a little card.

  • Once you put each ingredient in the jar, tamp it down with a long-handled utensil.
  • White sugar, flour and confectioner's sugar tend to "seep" through layers - it is wise to put them on the bottom to avoid them seeping into other layers (like chocolate chips).
  • Don't forget to include the recipe - including an expiration date is also a good idea. If stored in a cool, dry place, jars will last up to 6 months. If your jar contains nuts, it will last 3 months.
Beyond the Jar
Dress up your gift by placing two ingredient jars in a large mixing bowl and wrapping the whole thing up like a gift basket. Throw in a wooden mixing spoon, potholders or holiday tea towel if you'd like.

Cookie in a Jar
Double Fudge Brownie Mix
Oatmeal Cookie

More Resources
Tips and Recipes
More cookie recipes
Tips from
More Gifts in a Jar

More 2010 Dance Gift Guide

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Craft: Personalized Clipboard

From eHow - Decorative Clipboard
An original gift for your favorite dance teacher, studio owner, dance director or office manager: a personalized clipboard!

Here a few different tutorials:
Decorative Clipboard (eHow) - pictured at right

Chalkboard Clipboard (Craftzine)

Simple Clipboard Update (Vanilla Joy)

Inspiration for decorating your own clipboard

And here's a video tutorial for an altered clipboard - if you stop before adding the album, you have yet another beautiful clipboard upgrade!

See More Teacher Gift Ideas

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Music Mondays: Contemporary Playlist

Contemporary dance has evolved over the years to encompass a variety of dance genres. It seems to overlap into lyrical, modern, ballet and jazz. Here is a playlist attempting the span the reaches of contemporary. Leaning more ballet/lyrical? Checkout the Slow and Delicate songs. Feeling jazz? Pick up the pace then. Miss your lyrical face? Bring on the angst!

Slow and Delicate
She is Love - Parachute She Is Love - Losing Sleep (Bonus Track Version)
Fondu au Noir - Couer du Pirate (Bonus! Its in 3/4 time) Fondu au noir - Cœur de pirate
Hang With Me (Acoustic) - Robyn Hang With Me (Acoustic) - Body Talk, Pt. 1

Picking Up The Pace
Cosmic Love - Florence & The Machines Cosmic Love - Lungs
Bring Night - Sia Bring Night - We Are Born
Heartbeat - Enrique Inglesias ft. Nicole Sherzinger Heartbeat (feat. Nicole Scherzinger) - Euphoria (Deluxe Edition)

A Bit Angsty
Decode (Piano Interpretation) - Paramore Decode (Tribute to Twilight) - Piano Versions of Popular Film Music
Where I Stood - Missy Higgins Where I Stood - On a Clear Night
Stand Still Look Pretty - The Wreckers Stand Still, Look Pretty - Stand Still, Look Pretty

Off The Wall
Veins - Charlotte Martin Veins - Veins
Heads Will Roll - Yeah Yeah Yeahs Heads Will Roll - It's Blitz! (Deluxe Edition)
Paradise Circus - Massive Attack Paradise Circus - Heligoland

See previous playlists

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Two New Favorite Free iPhone Apps!

Check out these two iPhone apps - the only thing you will need is an iPhone or iPod touch. Perhaps similar apps are out there for Blackberry and other phone users - there is always hope.

As a tap dance teacher, Metronome  by has been invaluable for those times when I need a steady beat, but can't find the right tempo music or don't want to clap my hands raw. It mimics a real metronome (which brings back nostalgia of my old piano lessons) and can tick tock its way from 1 beats per minute (why you would ever need that slow is beyond me) to 210bpm. If you have a stereo system with an audio headphone jack, you're in business! It is a little tricky to accurately slide the little metronome weight thing (does that have a name?), but otherwise I am happy. It has a different tone for the downbeat of the measure, which you can change to 2/4, 3/4 or 4/4 timing.

There are a few other apps that do the same thing, but since I am pretty happy with the current one, I haven't tried any of the other options. Comments are welcome if you have!

My second new favorite app is BPM by CHEEBOW. This handy little tool helps you determine the beats per minute in any song you can tap your finger to. It registers the BPM just after 3 taps and if you keep tapping, it will average your speed so even if you have an unsteady finger, it will give you a fairly accurate reading. I have used this to organize my dance class playlists by tempo, so I no longer go crazy trying to find a faster or slower song in the middle of class. You can add the BPM to your songs in iTunes under the "Get Info" option.

Share your favorite 'apps' in the comments!

See previous technology posts

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quick Choreographic Inspiration

Have choreographer's block?  Try some of the following choreographic devices to jump-start your creative mind:

Repetition - repeat a sequence of choreography you have, but with a change - new port de bras, new formation, new facing or pattern, different timing, new levels

Retrograde - Perform a sequence in the reverse order.  Or retrograde the arms, movement pattern or timing.

Peel/Canon/Contagious - A canon in dance is when the same step is repeated by each dancer, one after each other, started at regular intervals. Perform yours side to side, front to back, one at a time, or go out of order.  Or build - start with one dancer, add two, add four, etc.

Manipulate Timing - Take a sequence and repeat it, but with different timing.  For a controlled-chaos contemporary look in a group piece, have the dancers perform the same sequence, but each with their own timing, some frantically moving at double time, others slowly moving through the steps. 

Cross-art Inspiration - look at pieces of art, read a poem, listen to a different song.  Find something about that piece of art that inspires you and create a movement sequence from that.  Turn on another piece of music and choreograph a sequence.  Return to your original music and manipulate the new sequence with that music.

Non-Art Inspiration - similar to art-inspiration, analyze your choreography - are the movements natural?  Then look at pictures or videos of nature, watch animals move, observe snow falling.  Create a movement pattern from this.  Is your choreography stiff and mechanical - look to machines for inspiration.  Look at the world around you for things that move and imitate them with your body.

Group Work - let your dancers help in the creative process.  If you are teaching children, they love to participate and make a dance "their own".  Give specific instructions and allow them to improv to the music.  "Movements that are low to the ground and stay in one place" or "quick, sharp movements" are examples of structured improv directions.  If possible, record their improv so you can play it back and isolate movements you like.

If all else fails, walk away, do something else and then return to your choreography. Sometimes a block is really a block and you will ultimately be frustrated if you try to force out choreography.

Happy choreographing!

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Music Monday: Teen Tap Playlist

This week's playlist is ordered by tempo / beats per minute and is a mix of pop, techno, and swing.  From standards and 'oldies' like James Brown to the R&B feel of Mutya Buena this tap playlist will keep the teen interested and give you some new material for tap class.

Teen Tap Playlist: Ages 12+
  • B Boy Baby - Mutya Buena - bpm 104 - Mutya Buena
  • Shut Up and Let Me Go - Ting Tings - bpm 110 -  Shut Up and Let Me Go - Shut Up and Let Me Go - Single
  • Move Along - All-American Rejects - bpm 110 - Move Along - Move Along
  • Cantaloop - US3 - bpm 118 - Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) - Hand On The Torch
  • A Night Like This - Caro Emerald - bpm 125 - A Night Like This - A Night Like This
  • Heartbreaker - MSTRKRFT - bpm 130 - Heartbreaker (feat. John Legend) - Fist of God
  • Sweet Dreams My L.A. Ex - Rachel Stevens - bpm 130 - Sweet Dreams My La Ex (Original Radio Edit) - Funky Dory
  • Jump (Malinchak Remix) - Flo Rider - bpm 132 - Jump (Malinchak Club Mix Radio Edit) - Jump (Remixes) [feat. Nelly Furtado]
  • Comin' Home Baby - Michael Buble - bpm 144 - Comin' Home Baby (Duet With Boyz II Men) - Call Me Irresponsible (Bonus Track Version)
  • I Feel Good - James Brown - bpm 148 - I Got You (I Feel Good) - 20 All Time Greatest Hits!
  • She Said - Plan B - bpm 150 - She Said (Live) - iTunes Festival: London 2010 - EP
  • Mr. Pinstripe Suit - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - bpm 218 - Mr. Pinstripe Suit (Live) - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: Live
  • (If You're Wondering) I Want You To - Weezer - bpm 220 - (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To - Raditude (Bonus Track Version)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Follow Friday on Twitter

If you don't use Twitter, you don't know what you're missing! Twitter can be an overwhelming onslaught of mini-messages, but it can also be very useful to a dancer looking for audition updates or an inside look at being a professional dancer.

This Follow Friday, we are taking a look at some dance of your favorite dance companies:










And of course, you can find all of our buzz on our Twitter page:

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Music Mondays: Mash-Ups & Remixes

Trying to stay ahead of the trend in music for your classes? If you're a music-download junkie like I am, you are always looking for new music to use in class or to choreograph to.  This article will give you some new resources.  Last week we focused on Pop music - by checking out and Radio Disney.

This week, we change genres to mash-ups and remixes.

So what exactly is a mash-up?  Well, its a mix of two songs (often from different artists or genres) "mashed" together to create a new song.  If you watch the series "Glee" on FOX, you may remember the episode from Season 1 where the club was challenged to come up with a mash-up.  Here is the girl's result which combine's "Halo" and "Walkin on Sunshine":

You can find this song and the other Glee mashups on iTunes. Glee: The Music, Vol. 1 - Glee Cast
Halo / Walking On Sunshine (Glee Cast Version) Halo / Walking On Sunshine (Glee Cast Version) - Glee: The Music, The Complete Season One

Where else can you find the hottest mash-ups and remixes?  Go straight to the source: DJs.  These guys and gals mix for the hottest clubs and will usually record their own spin on songs. These are a few of our favorites - and they often have their mixes available for download right on their websites.
  • DJ Earworm - creating pop remixes and mash-ups.  Check out this remix of 2010 summer pop songs:

  • Norwegian Recycling - This DJ has many remixes with over 5 songs sampled.  I love using this song for warm-ups:

Norwegian Recycling - Viva La Viral on Vimeo.

  • Party Ben - he has a thing for combining the most unusual sounds and making them work.  Love this remix of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" and the Four Tops "Can't Help Myself".

Disclaimer: Of course you will still have to do the usual bad-words check before playing any song in class--which may also require translation for the world songs, which leads to my next resource:
  • YouTube - It's probably not your first thought for new music, but you can find remixes, mash-ups and radio versions of popular songs that are often available to download from the user who created them. Type in a song and you will find remixed versions, mash-ups and edited radio versions.
Next week's New Music Monday will have another new music resource for remixes and mash-ups!

Looking for past New Music Mondays?
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