Last night I tried Zumba! I thought I would check it out, since it seems to be a new craze. It was such a great workout and really easy to pick up for the "non-dancer." Above is a video so you can see what it's like, but of course every teacher is a little unique in style. Go try it out!
And...I just looked at the instructor workshops...hmmm... to ambitious of me? They also have a workshop to be able to teach kids... that might be something I would love! What do you think?
What do all of these have in common? It's Halloween of course! Even though Halloween is not my most favorite holiday, it is really fun to celebrate in movement and dance class!
3 Halloween Ideas just for movement class...
1) Travel to the pumpkin patch where we found really really big pumpkins, and really small pumpkins! Give them faces- happy, sad, surprised, scary! I use heavy and light pumpkins to teach them the difference between big and small.
2) Pick apples and put them in baskets... (they love to pick imaginary fruit!) What color are the apples? Red or Green or Yellow? The girls say pink! (I just go with it) Let's fill up one basket together! TEAMWORK!
3) The Wizard of Oz- travel down the yellow brick road and find out what's down the road. My kids saw different things like trees, and animals. I asked them what different locomotor movements we should do down the yellow brick road. (skip, hop, crawl, tip-toe)
In my 4 year old classes we became the characters in the story like the tin man, and the lion, and the scarecrow. They loved it!
What do you do to celebrate halloween in your movement classes? I would love to hear!
Last week I received JODE (Journal of Dance Education) in the mail for participating in a survey about the Journal. I am looking forward to reading it, since I haven't read the journal since I was in school writing the days away. If you're interested check it out! Maybe someday one of us will have an article in the Journal! Yes, lets strive for that...
Today I visited the Bank Street Bookstore just a few streets down from my house. I was in search of some new tools for my classes this week. Look what I found! The book Waddle! byRufus Butler Seder is great for preschoolers. AND, it's a scanimation book (which means the pictures move), so it works perfect for dance teachers like us who like to show visuals! Check it out... I highly recommend it!
I also found Yoga Pretzels- 50 Fun Yoga Activities for Kids. Read an earlier post about Yoga Pretzels here!
This week in my creative movement classes I will incorporate breath. All of these seem easy to teach and fun to remember!
What will you do this week? Anything new or different? I would love to hear...
I just stumbled across this website <<<(did you click on it?) It is what I have been searching for since I started blogging. Ready for it? A community of dance bloggers! Brilliant, I think it's just brilliant. So guess what I did? I added myself to the list! Each time I post, an excerpt of it will show up on the community blog in hopes of attracting more readers!
I am so happy to be a part of this community and I look forward to meeting new teachers, dancers, and artists!
Every Thursday I teach a class called Teen Tap. I have had a about 4 weeks of the class now and believe me when I say I am so happy I am not a teen anymore. Remember when you were a teen? Your body didn't fit into your clothes... your legs and arms were to long for you body. I try to make the class important to them and something they will look forward to each week. Last week they were obviously bored because they came in with all of these ideas, "can we make a dance to chicago?" "can you teach us barrel turns and time steps?" I have learned very quickly that they are very eager to learn and learn very quickly.
So today I downloaded all of the Chicago music and brought it to class today. Well you would of thought I brought them all ice cream with all of the toppings. They were so happy and I think were looking forward to the class because they came with all of these ideas. Of course they gave me their opinions for next week's choreography (which I am so happy about). The teens taught me something about myself tonight. I usually (and now I see it) choreograph the dance or put the steps together and then try different pieces of music to experiment with. This has given me a challenge and will throughly enjoy choreographing to "All that Jazz" for the next couple of weeks!
Oh and since we are talking tap, I found these really cool tap shoes at Tap Emporium!
Aren't they neat... of course not practical for tap teachers but makes me smile anyway!
So now that I have time to focus more on being a dance teacher, I have been thinking about my goals as a teacher and for my students. Since so many of my students are so young, my goals sound a little like this...
1) Have a structure of the class where the students can be successful
2) Keep them engaged while sitting on their star
3) Listen to their ideas- (they always have the best ideas)
Today in my dance room I will TRY these 3 things...
1) A new activity I have never tried before-
Sometimes I feel I get in a rut and I fall into "use what works" mode. I think a lot of the time I do this because what works is what works... (right?) BUT I also think trying something new and adding to the curriculum is also very fulfilling and part of growing as a teacher.
2) Be Present-
This is the hardest for me. I feel like there are so many things to thinks about when you get the kids in the room. Keeping them safe, Parents in the window (anyone?), talking. Today I will try to not think about anything else but teaching the kids in front of me. I hope this will help behavior and the fun!
They have so much more fun when you make a joke or think something is funny. I feel that this is important for my students to be able to relate to me.
So these are my goals today... I will report back later. What will you try today in your dance rooms?
Check out these fabulous dancers from Seton Hill University Dance Academy in Greensburg, PA! Choreographed by my friend Lori Incardona for a Make a Wish Fundraiser! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
So last night I went to the So You Think You Can Dance tour in Long Island. What a show! I saw so much dance for $60 and I had really great seats! I was highly anticipating the show, but I had no idea what to expect. They showed clips from the show, and how could you forget some of the bad auditions from Season 5! The only part of the show that felt a bit awkward was in between each dance, the dancers introduced the dancers and choreographers and set the plot. I wish they either wouldn't of done that or had a host to do that. It just seemed so scripted and I think in such an amazing dancing show, the in between parts should be more casual. (just my opinion)
I know SOME people think this show is not about dance as an art form. But I think that these dancers are exposing people to dance that wouldn't normally watch or enjoy dance. I like that they have choreographers that are well known and create "art" for the tv screen. On the other hand, there is nothing like seeing dance live. Dances that didn't move me on the screen, moved me last night, even though the arena made it feel more like a concert than a performance.
Now if only they can get dance companies/groups to appear on the show instead of popular singers. (the same goes for Dancing with the Stars) I think this would enhance the show even more!
I found out today that the little girl that has been crying in my monday creative movement class withdrew from the class today... I'm so disappointed because I was looking forward to solving the puzzle and in time watching her enjoy the class.
Just as I was asking about calling the mom to speak with her to see if she could see that the little girl got their early next week, she withdrew.
In hopes to get a few more comments on my blog, I am introducing a new post called "Let's Discuss." Each week I will ask a question in hopes of getting some opinions and ideas to share with each other.
Today's Discussion: Crying
I have this one little girl in my class at Mark Morris that will cry through the entire class. The first class she didn't even come in. She waited outside of the door with her babysitter and watched through the window. The second class, I had the chance to speak with her before class and gave her the line-up of the activities we would be doing that day. She seemed very happy to hear we would be traveling under the sea and dancing with multi-colored fabric. She eagerly came in and did SOME of the class- but cried through maybe half or a little less than half. I encouraged her to push through it and made sure she could see her babysitter in the window. She still cried but I thought it would be beneficial for her to see the entire class so she could experience what it was like.
I thought for sure this week she would be alright and participate in a little more of the class. No luck, she came in and didn't have her dance clothes and was just sobbing. I had already started class, but the babysitter wanted to talk to me and see if it was alright with me if she sat in the corner in the back of the room. 1) I would never let one of the children's caregivers stay in the room because then I would have to let them all in (and we all know that would be a disaster) 2) It is against Mark Morris policy for the parents to watch until the parents day at the end of the semester. I told the little girl that her babysitter would stay outside and she could see her the whole time. The babysitter then took her out of the room (since I had a whole class of students that I had to attend to... we are talking 20 4 year olds). I could hear the littler girl crying for 45 minutes.
Discussion: I don't know why (well maybe I do) but I feel that it should be my job to introduce the children to a positive and fun first experience to movement. Since I am the only teacher in the room, (+pianist, which she is no help) I feel torn on how to incorporate the "crier" into the class. I know if I had the time and just talked to her about the class and made her feel a bit more comfortable maybe she would be more willing to participate. But if she won't even step in the room without crying and without her babysitter, I am not sure what to do.
Do any of you have any ideas on how I could incorporate this girl into the class without sucking up the entire time and letting the other students suffer? I want to hear about any of your experiences with students crying, or being afraid of the dance class. Please share your ideas and thoughts... I need some help by next monday! I look forward to reading your suggestions, I will try them out next week and report back.
These are my tap classes from yesterday. They are beginners to tap, yesterday was their first class. Ages 7-9 they are doing great! I am try to challenge them to keep all of the diverse learners happy! I have 4 boys and 7 girls in this class. I am teaching them a combination that they can bring back every week. I will add on to it every week as well. I hope to have this combination for the parents day in December!
These are the pictures from the Ballet Among the Blooms Event at the New York Botanical Gardens. Free for kids ages 2-12! Enjoy!
These are the Stumps- I had the kids sit on them, and stretch on them! We also used them as a maze!
The Bug Brigade: I had the kids give me all the bugs they could think of. We then moved like all the bugs. Ladybug was a popular one, other popular ones were butterflies, cockroach, ants, bees (buzzzz), and water bugs (ewww).
This was the caterpillar that was on the side of the stump area. I gave them all Toole (toole is what tutus are made out of) to hold and they became butterflies as they go under the caterpillar and come out the other side. They took a curtsey or bow and of course everyone clapped!
I worked with a musician, he had a saxophone! If you are looking for someone, I will connect you, he was awesome!
I hope to get pictures of me teaching and the kids being the bugs... stay tuned for those!