Thursday, December 12, 2013

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

Dance Quiz

Tap Dance Flash Cards
From Dance Teacher Press
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

Foam dice source
(I got mine from Amazon.com)
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.

Hot 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?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Shhhh... *spritz spritz*


"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"?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Autumn Leaf Creative Movement Dance


I wanted to share an autumn leaf dance I've been exploring with my younger classes.  It was inspired by a few different posts 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!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Halloween Playlist

Looking for some new songs to add to your Halloween playlist?  Here are some suggestions to spice up your playlist.

All links open in iTunes - The Dance Buzz is an iTunes affiliate

Tap

Superstition - Stevie Wonder - classic with a moderate tempo

Love Potion No. 9 - The Clovers

Sympathy for the Devil - The Rolling Stones

Devil With the Blue Dress On - Mitch Ryder - keeps those toes a-tapping

Headless Horseman - Kay Starr - tells the story of the Headless Horseman in a cheery sort of way

Little Demon - Screamin' Jay Hawkins- a fun 50's rock-sounding tune

Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical

Howl - Florence + The Machine

I Put a Spell On You - From "Hocus Pocus" soundtrack, or Nina Simone, and the cover by She & Him is particularly haunting

Howlin' for You - The Black Keys - we've been using this for across the floor combinations in my jazz classes this week - works good for turns and battements

Strange and Beautiful (I'll Put a Spell on You) - Aqualung - a melancholy melody in 3/4 time

Other Fun Songs

Dinner With Drac, Pt 1 - John Zacherle

What's A Girl To Do - Bat For Lashes - basically the plot to Twilight summed up in a song

Grim Grinning Ghosts Remix - (link opens to YouTube - couldn't find a link) could maybe use this for hip hop?

And of course, you have to add The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?) - Ylvis just for fun!

Looking for more ideas?

Monday, September 16, 2013

NMM: Freight Train - Sara Jackson-Holman

Love this song! First heard it on Grey's Anatomy (which, by the way, is a wonderful resource for angst-y, dramatic lyrical songs!) and we've been using it in our contemporary / lyrical class.

Listen to or download it in iTunes



Enjoy!

The Dance Buzz is an iTunes affiliate.

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Music Monday: Ballet Goes Pop

Recently 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!

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!



In an RSS feeder and can't see the widget?  Click here to open in iTunes.  TDB is an iTunes affiliate.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Check Out My Interview at Maria's Movers

I was so thrilled 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!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Dance "Baseball"

This is a fun dance game that my students love playing in class.  I hesitate to call it a "game" because I try to make a lot of our exercises in class fun, and it also is a good review of technique.  Either way, the kids see it as a game and they love playing, so I like to save it for special times of the year.

As a side note, one of my 7 year olds who started playing softball in the spring was so proud that she was the only one on her softball team that year who knew how the game worked because we had played "ballet baseball" in class...wasn't exactly what I was hoping she would learn from ballet class, but hey at least she learned something!

Dance Baseball

Ages 7 & Up (dancers need a basic understanding of baseball/softball)

Class:  Adaptable to any style of class where the students have learned specific technique skills that they can be called upon to remember.  I will use a beginning ballet class in my description below.

My ballerinas lined up to play (purple cone is 1st base)
Set-Up:  Designate bases around the room (we use the traditional diamond shape, but your dance baseball field can have as many bases as you like).  I usually use small cones, but little rugs or tape mark would work.  The pitcher (usually that's me) stands in the middle.

The Goal: The whole class is one team and their goal is to get as many "runs" around the bases as a class as they can against the pitcher, who's goal is to stump them and get them "out".

How we play:  The first dancer comes “up to bat” (steps up to home plate) and I “pitch” them a dance step (2nd position demi plie). If they can do it, they move (we bourree) to first base.

The second dancer steps up to home plate and I "pitch" them a different step (degag√©).  If they can do it, they move to first base and the first dancer moves to second.  If the do not know the step or do it incorrectly, the team has an "out".  Depending on the age, I will give hints or three tries to the dancer who is up.  If I'm able to stump someone, I keep using the same step until someone gets it.

This continues and if dancers know the step, they all move up one base, eventually getting all the way back home and earning a “run”.

We play to three outs and count up the runs.  We try to beat our highest score as a class the next time we play.

Stealing a base in ballet baseball
Advanced Dance Baseball:  "Stealing bases"
With my tweens and teens, I allow “base stealing”.  The pitcher holds a beanbag and dancers may attempt to steal a base by tiptoeing... however if they try to steal a base, I can toss the beanbag at them to try to get them out.  This usually causes lots of giggles since I have pretty bad aim ☺  

Just remind them that they are in dance class, not a field, so no running (or sliding).  Sometimes I allow multiple people on the bases - modify the rules as you see fit!

I hope you like our fun alternative to reviewing dance steps - make it your own!  Play ball!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Music: Feelin' Good - Christina Grimmie

This song came on my iPod this morning on my drive to work and I coudn't help tapping along to the steering wheel.  I think I'll be using this song to warm-up to in the fall...enjoy!

Open in iTunes:



By the way, her whole album ""With Love" - Christina Grimmie is worth a listen.

Full disclosure: The Dance Buzz is an iTunes affiliate :)

2013 Music 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!

Want more? Here are 2012 and 2011's lists.

TAP CHOREOGRAPHY


MODERN / CONTEMPORARY / BALLET

My little "Nutcracker" dancers


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.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Why, Discount Dance, Why?

Its the first day of dance and your newest little toddler students enter the room in their new dancewear - hair pulled back, cute little leotards, pink tights and then you look down at their feet and you see:

THE HORROR!

The super soft fake satin ballet "slippers" they unfortunately sell next to dancewear at Target and Walmart.  Every preschool teacher's nightmare.  They fall off feet, cause dancers to trip and fall and are simply not suited for a dance class.

Ok I may be exaggerating a bit.
But they truly are annoying and I cringe every time I see a parent proudly whip them out of a dance bag... usually just a case of being mis-informed.

Then today I was shopping for some new ballet slippers for myself from Discount Dance and I see this:


Let's take a closer look...
AHHHHH!  Eh tu, Discount Dance?

I mean, I understand that Target and Walmart might not care if the bedroom slippers they are passing off as ballet shoes aren't ACTUAL ballet slippers, but Discount Dance should have SOME shred of integrity when it comes to shoes that are listed under the "Ballet" category!  Whyyyyyy??

At least one of the reviewers (mind you, a 13-year old who has better sense then a dance catalog) wrote:
"I'm just going to quickly say if you are planning on buying these to wear them, don't...Anyway, I actually made them in to a keychain!"
The only use for this shoe is as a decoration!

Ok... rant over.  I feel better now.

At least until the first day of class...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Music!

Me doing some beach dancing in Maine!
Hello all - hope everyone's summer is going good.. as we move into August, here's a list of the songs that have been getting the heaviest rotation on my summer dance playlists!


 


Are you in an RSS reader and can't see the widget?  Head on over to our site!

Ballet Class - I like to use Sunny Choi's tunes during our stretch to keep things fresh - links open in YouTube since her covers aren't available on iTunes
22 (Taylor Swift Cover) - Sunny Choi
I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor Swift cover) - Sunny Choi
Just Give Me A Reason (P!nk Cover) - Sunny Choi

Stretch / Lyrical Class
All I Want - Kodaline - nice and slow for stretching
Pompeii - Bastille
Gone Gone Gone - Philip Phillips
Red Hands - Walk Off The Earth

Tap Class
Wake Me Up - Avicii - love this one!
You Make Me Feel So Young - Michael Buble - my favorite off his newest album
Wild - Royal Teeth
Mountain Sound - Of Monsters & Men
I Love It (Radio edit) - Icona Pop

Jazz Class
People Like Us - Kelly Clarkson
Cups (You're Gonna Miss Me) - Anna Kendrick
Treasure - Bruno Mars
Blurred Lines (clean) - Robin Thicke


The Dance Buzz is an iTunes affiliate.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Western Week Day #5: Our Show!

Today's the day - it's show time down at the corral!

It's Day #5 at Western Week Dance Camp and all the parents and friends are invited to our show.

Day #5 Agenda

8:50-9:00am - Parent Drop-off / Student Sign-in
9:00-9:20am - Warm-up
9:20-10:15am - Show Practice
10:15-10:30am - Craft: Show Programs / Picture Frames & Yarn Dolls
10:30-10:45am - Snack Time
10:45-11:00am - Practicing one last time!
11:15-11:30am - Getting into costume
11:45-12:00pm - Games / Cool-down - Relay Race!


Day #5 Crafts: Yarn Dolls & Programs / Picture Frames

For the Yarn Dolls, you will need:

- Lots and lots of yarn
- Scissors
- Something to wrap the yarn around - we used CD cases, but stiff cardboard would work just as well

Here is a great post with many pictures that explains how to make a yarn girl or boy.  The only difference we had was that we used contrasting yarn for all of the tying off.

That's a lot of yarn! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Western Week Day #4: Making Our Costumes


It's Day #4 at Western Week Dance Camp!  Today we are working on practicing our "show" and making costumes.

Day #4 Agenda

8:50-9:00am - Parent Drop-off / Student Sign-in
9:00-9:30am - Warm-up
9:30-10:00am - Jazz Dance class - practicing our dances in sequence
10:00-10:45am - Craft - Cowgirl Vests & Foot Print Horses
10:45-11:00am - Snack Time
11:00-11:45am - Tap Class - practicing our dances in sequence
11:45-12:00pm - Games / Cool-down - Relay Race!

Day #4 Crafts: Cowgirl Vests & Foot Print Horses

For the Vests, you will need:

- Large paper bags
- Ribbons
- Scissors
- Crayons, paint, markers - whatever you want to decorate with (we used crayons)
- Tin foil & large-eyed needle

Prep Work for today's craft: Cutting out the arm and neck holes for each vest, laying out all the "decorations".

We followed these instructions from Crayola's website.  Everyone got to decorate their own vest with as much ribbon and coloring as they chose.  Some girls made "fringe" at the bottom with scissors (you could also tear it if you have little ones).

Picking out just the right colors for her vest!



Having fun coloring on the vests

The hardest part was the tin foil "badges" or "rosettes" - to get them to stay on, a teacher needed to help  poke the ribbon through the vest with a large needle.  The kids were able to thread the needle, but it was too hard to push through without an adult's help.


Our vests waiting for the show tomorrow...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Western Week Day #3: Into the Sunset

For Day #3 of our Western Week Dance Camp we are learning more new dance steps and finishing up our sunsets!

Day #3 Agenda

8:50-9:00am - Parent Drop-off / Student Sign-in
9:00-9:30am - Warm-up - we made Negative Space Statues
9:30-10:00am - Jazz Dance class - adding on to our dances
10:00-10:45am - Craft -
10:45-11:00am - Snack Time
11:00-11:45am - Tap Class - reviewing yesterday's dance
11:45-12:00pm - Games / Cool-down - we made an obstacle course

Day #3 Crafts: Cowboy Sunsets (Part 2) & Bead Pins

Part Two of Cowboy Sunsets:

Yesterday we made the "sunset" portion of the craft and had to let the coffee filters dry overnight.

Adding dye to the coffee filters

Prep Work for today's craft: Cutting out the rims of paper plates

Today we will make and decorate the frames.  Here is our set-up for today's portion of the craft:



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Western Week Day #2: Cowgirls!

For Day #2 of our Western Week Dance Camp we are learning more new dance steps and making cowgirl neckerchiefs!


Day #2 Agenda

8:50-9:00am - Parent Drop-off / Student Sign-in
9:00-9:30am - Warm-up - we went on a "Bear Hunt"
9:30-10:00am - Jazz Dance class - adding on to our dance
10:00-10:45am - Craft - Neckerchiefs and Cowboy Sunsets
10:45-11:00am - Snack Time
11:00-11:45am - Tap Class - reviewing yesterday's dance
11:45-12:00pm - Games / Cool-down - we made an obstacle course

Day #2 Crafts: Cowgirl Neckerchiefs & Cowboy Sunsets

For the Neckerchiefs, You Will Need:

- Fabric cut into large squares (big enough to fold in half)
- Fabric Paint
- Paintbrushes
- Optional: rubber fabric stamps


Prep work:  My Camp Director cut out the fabric squares ahead of time and we made a painter's palette for each group of two.  

We have a collection of rubber stamps that grows each year--most popular are the letter stamps and flowers. Some of the campers preferred to stamp and other drew designs and scenes. 



Whichever they chose, they all turned out beautiful and the kids were excited to wear them for the show!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Western Week Day #1: Tie-Dye!

Our studio offers two types of camp: 5-day "Dance Camp" for ages 6-10 and 4-day "Princess Camp" for ages 4-6.

For both camps, the students come each day for three hours from 9am - noon and we dance and do arts and crafts.

Each year we do a different theme and base the week's lessons around that theme. We hold an impromptu little "show" on the last day of camp for family and friends.

This year, the older kids' camp theme was "Western / Cowgirls / Hoe Down", which my camp director had a blast planning and I enjoyed doing!  I wanted to share our week with you and hopefully it will give you some ideas for your camp or even just some fun crafts to do at home this summer!  Psst - if you're looking for another camp idea - check out last year's "Rock Star" Camp.

Day #1 Agenda

8:50-9:00am - Parent Drop-off & Student Sign-in
9:00-9:30am - Warm-up & "Get to know you" activities - I like doing the Name Game as an icebreaker
9:30-10:00am - Jazz Dance class - we learn our first group dance
10:00-10:45am - Craft - Tie-dye
10:45-11:00am - Snack Time
11:00-11:45am - Tap Class - we learn our first tap dance
11:45-12:00pm - Games / Cool-down

Day #1 Craft: Tie-Dye

You Will Need:
- T-Shirts
Fabric Dye 
Buckets
Rubberbands

The first day of all of our camps we traditionally do tie-dye, as the shirts take some time to dry and we sometimes use the tie-dyed shirts in later projects.  This year was no different and we took to the sidewalk outside our school to tie-dye.


Before heading outside, we wrapped our shirts with rubber bands.  Depending on the age of your kids, you can get pretty creative.  Our campers favored the Spiral, Stripes and Dots techniques.


We are fortunate to have a spigot in the front of our building, so we use that to fill up a bunch of tubs mixed with tie-dye and place them on the sidewalk and let the kids have at it.  We had a small group this time, so we let them all go at once, but if you have a larger group, you might have to break it up.
Wearing our T-shirts for the show!
Tip:  The younger children always want to dip their shirts in Every Single Bucket because... well, its just fun to dip in the buckets!  If you use dark colors, their shirts will end up a not-so-pretty brown color.  We try to get colors that are light and will mix well if layered (yellow, pink, purple, orange).  
More tips from last year.

After they have dyed to their heart's content, one of the teachers washes the T-shirt under the cold water  until no more dye runs out and then the kids hang them up to dry (we use a portable ballet barre on the sidewalk).

Day #1 Playlist

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Who's Pinning What From Your Blog

For all my blog-writing friends, did you know you could see what others are pinning from your blog?

I just found this out from reading this article (which is worth a read if you're a blogger).  If you go to
pinterest.com/source/YOURDOMAINHERE.com you can see what people have pinned from your blog, break down the most repinned or most recent.

For example, I would go to pinterest.com/source/thedancebuzz.blogspot.com to see my stats.

Find out what your  most Repinned images or posts are
I thought it was pretty cool and wanted to share!

Do you use Pinterest?  Do you have any other cool blog hacks?  Comment!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Western Week at Dance Camp!


We just finished up a week of Dance Camp and we had a blast!  Our theme was "Out West" and we had a lot of fun coming up with different crafts to keep ourselves occupied.

I can't wait to tell you all about it next week but in the meantime, I'll share our playlist for the show:


Western / Hoe-Down Theme (ages 6-9)

  • Boot Scootin' Boogie - Brooks and Dunn
  • Dueling Banjos
  • The Ballad of Bullseye - Walt Disney (Toy Story)
  • Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl - Walt Disney (Toy Story)
  • The Hampster Dance Song
  • Barefootin' - Scooter Lee
  • Old Joe Clark - The Stripey Boys (not on iTunes)
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Marching Onward... and Checking In!


Hi friends, just taking a moment to check in and say I'm still here!  Crazy busy, but still here!

February to June is my super busy season, as I'm sure it is for many other dance teachers and studio owners as we prep for our annual recital, register for summer classes and work on next season's schedule!

Haven't had as much time to write down thoughts and new music finds, but I wanted to share a funny story from my beginning ballet class.  They are first and second graders and always surprise me, but one caught me off guard!

We were at ballet barre about to work on tendus...

Miss Cait (that's me): "Now what do we need to remember about tendus?  Sophie?"

Sophie: "Straight legs!"

MC: "That's right, what else, Julia?"

Julia: "Make them sticky!" (see more about that here)

MC: "Yes definitely... ok, anything else, Morgan?"

Morgan (just as brightly and matter-of-factly as the other responses): "My fish died!"

MC: "Oh.. well... I'm very sorry to hear that - what was your fish's name?"

Morgan: "Swishy"

MC: "Well..." (scrambling for the appropriate response)

Sophie: "I know!  We can have a funeral for Swishy!"

MC: "I don't know..."

Julia: "It's perfect 'cause we're all dressed up for a funeral - we're all wearing black!" (we wear black and pink)

MC: "Ok then, let's dedicate tendues to Swishy"

Kids: "Swishy, this is for you."

So that's how we ended up dedicating part of our ballet barre to Swishy the fish!

Monday, February 18, 2013

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:

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.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Studio Craft


Here is a quick and easy craft you can do in your classroom or studio:  Make a wall of hearts!

We started ours last week - I left out heart-shaped red, pink and white paper and a bowl of crayons next to a sign that says "Why Do You Love Dance?"

"I like dancing because it is fun"
Dancers (and brothers, sisters, moms and dads) have been writing and drawing why they love dance all week.

Even the Big Girls got in on the action!


And a note from a "Dance Daddy":
It says "I like to watch my girls grow with dance". 

The Heart Wall has been a nice addition to our waiting room  - everyone has enjoyed reading the responses.  I think I'll leave it up for the rest of the month!







If you can't wait until next year to try this, you could do this any time of the year - or go with the next holiday... clovers for March:  "I'm Lucky To Dance Because..." or Spring umbrellas... be creative!

More Valentine's Day dance ideas:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Coach's Eye - App For Teachers!

I came across this great app that I just started using for cleaning dances and am loving it!

It's called "Coach's Eye" (link opens in iTunes) and it works on iPhones, iPads and iPods.  It $4.99, but its a worthy investment of five bucks - let's face it, I've spend more on coffee in one day (not sure if I like what that says about my caffeine addiction).

This app allows you to record a dance, play it back for your students (in regular or slow motion) and even draw on the video like a football coach or the play-by-play guys on TV do.

You can also record yourself critiquing the video and then share it or send it to your students.

I am trying it out this week and will let you know what I think!

Grab Coach's Eye:
Coach's Eye - TechSmith Corporation

Looking for more advice on cleaning dances?  Check out this post.

Looking for more apps to make your life easier?  Here are a few posts you might like.

Tell me:  Do you use your iPhone or iPad in class?  What do you use it for?
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