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.



My little "Nutcracker" dancers


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 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...
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