Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 Music Selections

Because I'm a huge music / stats nerd, I like to share my song choices from each year.  It's mostly for me to be able to look back and say "when did I use that song"? , but maybe someone will enjoy it too.

(Here's 2013's music list if you're curious... and 2012... and 2011)

Our first half of our recital had a theme which was "dance inspired by literature or literary themes", so you may notice that some of my songs are related to books.

Links open in iTunes, unless otherwise noted :)


"I'm Late" - white rabbit tap solo
Loved this one!

Can I get a show of hands for who used an "over popular" song this year and regretted it?  What was your favorite song to choreograph to this year?  Comment below.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Our "Frozen-Inspired" Dance Camp: Activities & Games

This post is part of our "Frozen-Inspired" Dance Camp Series.

Activities / Creative Movement

Melting & Freezing
We explored the movement qualities of melting and freezing by pretending to be Olaf melting in the summer or freezing with Elsa's help.  We melted for 16 slooooooow counts, and froze again for 16 then repeated in 8 counts, 4 counts, 2 and 1!  We melted with a friend, froze into different shapes or poses, started on one leg, etc.  Lots of variations to be had with this one!
More Melting Inspiration from Maria's Movers Blog

Journey to Elsa's Castle
We pretended to be Anna and Kristoff making their journey to or from Elsa's castle.  We did this by playing Going on a Bear Hunt, but we changed the words to "We're going on a journey, we're gonna go get Elsa, I'm not scared, I'm not scared".  For the next part ("we can't go over it, we can't go under it, I guess we'll go... through it!"), we encountered :
  • Deep deep snow - big slow marches to lift our feet through the snow
  • A dark forest - tip toes
  • A cold frozen stream - skating
  • A big tall mountain - climbing actions
  • An icy staircase - careful climbing actions
Until we got to the castle and knocked on the door and found... MARSHMALLOW (the snow monster)!  Reverse all the actions as fast at you can to go back to Arrendale and climb into bed with the covers over our head.

Creative Movement based on Scenes or Characters from the Movie
We did a lot of creative movement / free dance, based on settings and characters from the movie.  We would first describe the scene / character, then talk about the movements the characters did (running, rolling, climbing, skating, etc) and then dance them using those movements.  Some of our favorite scenes:

Olaf In Summer - skipping, laying (sun-tanning), swaying, blowing dandelions, floating

Skating on Elsa's pond - skating, twirling, sliding

Dancing like Marshmallow - "stompy", angry, slow

They also enjoyed pretending to be at the coronation ball, dancing like the trolls, pretending to be a snow-swirl created by Elsa, and of course, being Elsa.


In addition to the usual run of camp games (Freeze Dance, 4 corners, relay races, etc), we added a few or tailored them to better fit our theme:

Obstacle Course - We set up various obstacles around the room relating to the trip to Elsa's castle.  We used cones to tip toe around like trees, a tunnel to go under, a gym mat to roll across, a "tightrope" (tape line on the floor) to walk on, ice puddles to jump over (little rugs)

Pin the Nose on Olaf - we had an Olaf-shaped posterboard and had the girls take turns being blind-folded and pinning their "nose" onto Olaf.  Since we had a large crew, we split them between three different groups so we could have three people going at the same time.

Our life-size Anna & Elsa was a
big hit for photos!
Red Light, Green Light, Frozen Variation - Basic Red light/Greenlight rules - in our version instead of being a redlight/greenlight, the "It" person is Elsa - and freezes people when she turns around.  We used the terms "WINTER" for STOP and "SUMMER" for GO.  If anyone was caught moving when the "It" person said WINTER, they had to go back to the starting line.  First person to touch the "It" person gets to be "It" for the next round.

One other thing that we used during the week was this Life-size Anna & Elsa - we found this great life-size cardboard cutout from Amazon.  They have other characters, but I really liked the two girls together.  We used them for a backdrop in our pictures and the kids loved "holding their hand" and just seeing them in general.

What other games / activities can be adapted to fit a "Frozen" theme?  Are you sick of the music yet?  Will you use it in your classes next season? Comment below!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Our "Frozen-Inspired" Dance Camp: Crafts

"Do You Wanna Dye a T-Shirt?" (sung in the melody of "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman")

This is part of our "Frozen" (inspired) Dance Camp Series.

We spend about 30-40 minutes on crafts, but always have a back-up plan for those who lose interest fast (some of the 4 year olds are more interested in the process, than the final product) or who are very detailed (need to place every piece of grass just so).

Good ideas of back-up plans are coloring pages (link to free printable Frozen coloring pages) / activity sheets or clips from the movie, if you have a TV or screen.  I actually made a YouTube playlist of Frozen clips on our computer just in case, but we never had to use it.

Now... onto the crafts!

My Camp Director and I pulled a lot of the craft and activity ideas off of Pinterest, so I will try to credit our original inspiration when possible.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Our "Frozen-Inspired" Dance Camp

Our most asked camp question since last December has been "Are you doing a Frozen Camp?"  So due to popular demand... a Frozen (inspired) Camp is what we did!

Our studio offers two types of camp: 5-day "Dance Camp" for ages 6-10 and 4-day "Princess Camp" for ages 4-7. 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.

I would say our approach to camp is very relaxed - focus on dance, crafts without a lot of theatrics / costumes - it works for us and leaves us with a lot of happy campers.

We did the Frozen (inspired) Camp for our Princess age group (ages 4-7) at the end of June, and we actually had to close off registration a week prior because of the demand!  (For comparison, our July Princess Camp was half as full as the Frozen Camp was).

I'm going to break up the posts into a few different sections, and hopefully they will give you some ideas for your own camp.
1) Music (this post)
2) Crafts 
3) Games & Activities 

General Camp Agenda 

8:50-9:05am - Parent Drop-off and Student Sign-in
9:05-9:30am - Warm-up and "Get to know you" activities - I like doing the Name Game as an icebreaker
9:30-10:00am - Ballet Dance class (learning choreography / technique)
10:00-10:45am - Craft Time
10:45-11:00am - Snack Time
11:00-11:40am - Tap class (learning choreography / technique)
11:40-12:00pm - Games / Cool-down

Dance Camp Playlist

All links open in iTunes - the Dance Buzz is an iTunes affiliate
I know you will all be surprised when I tell you that the most used album during our Frozen-Inspired Camp was... the Frozen album. Shocking, I know! But we also used a few other non-Frozen songs during our camp so that we (the teachers) didn't go crazy from having songs stuck our head all day!

Songs We Used for Choreography
Let It Go - Idina Menzel - for a ballet / lyrical
Love Is an Open Door - Kristen Bell - for jazz
For the First Time in Forever - for lyrical / sing along
In Summer - Josh Gad - for tap
Fixer Upper - Frozen - for tap

Songs We Used in Class (for creative movement, games, and technique)
Winter's Waltz - Frozen good for across the floor in ballet
Ice Dance - Edward Scissorhands - creative movement and free-dance
Let It Go / Vivaldi's Winter - The Piano Guys - good one for dramatic dancing, freeze dance
Waltz of the Snowflakes - The Nutcracker
Love Is an Open Door (Instrumental Karaoke version) - good for pass the beanbag, or warm-ups

What non-Frozen songs can you think of that would fit in well?
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