Dance Life online magazine

Games for Preschool Classes IG

Games for Preschool Classes

by Karen White When it comes to teaching preschoolers, you can never have too many tricks up your sleeve. Here are three games to help refocus little ones’ attention. 1. The Fairies and the Sleeping Dolls Split the class in two. Give half the students “magic” wands (you can use substitutes like pencils)—these are the fairies. Place the other half randomly around the room, standing in first position with arms in first, head tilted and eyes closed. These are the sleeping dolls. To the sounds of a lullaby or gentle ballet music, have the fairies tiptoe randomly from one doll…

Mental Rehearsals IG

Mental Rehearsals

by Debra Danese After teaching my students new choreography, I end the class or rehearsal by saying, “Don’t forget to review before we meet again.” However, in the next class I often need to reteach the movement rather than reviewing and adding on. To the students’ explanation that they don’t have time to practice because of school and other activities, I respond, “Practice in your mind,” because we all have time for that. To help them learn to do this effectively, I incorporate creative visualization into class time, a process that is often referred to by sports psychologists as “mental…

Fun Facts Hip Hop Styles

Fun Fact: Hip-Hop Style

Fun facts for teachers and students

Fun Fact The White House

Fun Fact: The White House

Fun facts for teachers and students

Fun Fact: Hugh Jackman

Fun Fact: Hugh Jackman

Fun facts for teachers and students

Too Much Information

Too Much Information

by Jill Keating You know how when little kids get talking they always enter the “more than I need to know” zone? When I was pregnant and teaching 3- and 4-year-olds, there were always plenty of questions from them. I tried to answer in a delicate and appropriate way. One little girl said, “My mom can’t have babies anymore—she got her cords connected.” I said, “OK! Let’s do some pliés,” and moved on.Jill KeatingPointe Chautauqua DanceMayville, NY

It Started with Breath

It Started with Breath

by Bill Evans Our modern-dance ancestors started with breath. For Martha Graham, it was called “contraction and release”; for Doris Humphrey, “fall and recovery”; for Rudolf Laban, “growing and shrinking.” As you enter the studio, notice your own breath to help you become centered. Draw your students’ attention to their breath to help them become present in body, mind, and spirit. Remind them that movement rides on breath and that breathing is not just about the lungs. It takes place on a cellular level as oxygen travels through the cardiovascular system. Liquid breath throughout the body brings resilience and adaptability.

Leaps and Bounds Above

Leaps and Bounds Above the Other 4-Year-Olds

by Rhee Gold Hi Rhee, I am a dance teacher/studio owner, and I have come across the most persistent parents I have ever met in all my years of teaching dance (20-plus)—or school, for that matter. (I taught kindergarten for 12 years.) These parents have a daughter who turned 4 last spring. They are angry with me and some of my teachers because I will not allow them to enroll their daughter in the beginning ballet class for 6- to 8-year-olds. My teachers and I have tried to explain that although the child is coordinated for a 4-year-old, she is…

Anatomy Lesson

Anatomy Lesson

by Natalie Harber I was teaching a musical-theater camp over the summer and one day I took two of the younger students to the bathroom. Both girls are 4 years old, and they left their stall doors open in order to engage me in conversation. One of the girls decided that she needed to educate me about the differences between boys and girls, so she told me all about how her daddy and brother have “wieners” and how they have to go to the bathroom standing up, but that girls have to sit down. She then told me how her…

Classroom Wisdom Ballet Challenge

Classroom Wisdom: Ballet Challenge

by April Mosher Once a year my 6- to 10-year-old ballet students play a game I call “Ballet Challenge.” For a week or two before the challenge, we review proper terminology and correct execution of steps. During warm-ups we go over terms like chassé, bourrée, etc. On game day, I come prepared with flash cards. The students take turns picking a card. I read the ballet term written on the card each dancer chooses, and she attempts to show the step. If she does it correctly, she earns a point. If she is not successful, the students lined up behind her…