Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tools for the Toolbox

Greetings from Cleveland, OH! That's where I will be blogging from this week for the holiday. On my way last night on the plane I was doing a review of my classes from last week and this week (since it was a short week) I realized that I have been making some breakthroughs with my kids and incorporating some new and different stuff that I haven't used before. The good news is, I have been expanding my toolbox and not even know it. I would like to share them you incase you find yourself stuck for ideas at the beginning of December!

1) Head- shoulders- knees- and toes backwards- Have you ever tried it? It's not so easy, and the kids are better at it than I am! Always do it forward first and then for an extra challenge see if they can do it backwards!

2) Teach Skipping via a book- I have a book called READY-SET-SKIP... they love the book and it has so many action words in it like leap and creep and hop. By the end it has them skipping (or attempting to) and they seem to love it! I love it to because it really works!

3) Turn a beanbag into a telephone- this is the cutest and most fun! We turn the beanbags into a phone and we talk to each other about our day, or sometimes people call us! The whole class does it at once and it's so funny to hear all the conversations that three year olds have the phone. So fun!

4) Reverence- I taught my 2 and 3 year old ballet classes Reverence. I couldn't believe how easy it was for them to pick up. It was short and sweet, I gave them the back story of why we do a reverence and why it's important to do it at the end of every class. They wanted to do it over and over and over! Now reverence will be a part of our class and that makes me smile!

5) Turkey Pokey- After spending most of November looking for an appropriate song to use for Thanksgiving I thought of this little ditty! We remembered all of the parts a turkey has (did you know the thing that hangs down in the front that makes them gobble is called a waddle? I had no idea) and them put them to the song- "You put your feathers in, you put your feathers out, you put your feathers in and shake em all about" They went running out of the room to teach their parents! A huge hit, and so easy to create!

Do you have any tools to share? Just sitting down and thinking about all the little things that makes a creative movement or creative ballet class is fascinating! I hope you find the tools helpful and a great addition to your class!

In the meantime Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mark Morris Dance Group + $720,000

Have you ever read the Downtown Brooklyn Newsletter? I didn't even know there was one until today! I was planning my classes at Mark Morris today when I saw this on the table. I opened it up and there was an article (pictured below) about Mark Morris Dance Group receiving the Mellon Grant.
I was so happy to hear about the grant! They put an addition on this summer and it has completely transformed the school and the space. As the article states "the grant will allow Mark Morris Dance Group to maintain and expand the current free and low-cost high quality dance and music programs for the Brooklyn community."

Mark Morris Dance Group serves over 800 children and teens in the BK! At least 100 of those children are mine! Congratulations Mark Morris Dance Group!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Performance in Pictures

What have you been up to this weekend? Here is a photo log of what I have been doing. Performing!

Here is the group of dancers I have been rehearsing and performing with! Such a fun group! (I am second in from the right)

This is my good friend Laura and I in the dressing room. We had a lot of time after we were finished on stage. We kept taking pictures until we got the right one... this one seems great to me!

Some of my very best friends from Graduate School came to see the show on Friday night! After the show we met up for some snacks and drinks! It was so great to see them, and catch up. These are some of the best dance educators I know! Let's do it again soon ladies!

That's all for now, I have one more show today- thank goodness because I am exhausted, but of course I can't sleep since my body is used to getting up in the morning to teach. More blogging to come this week, I have a lot to tell you about!

In the meantime movecreateeducate...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cup of Ideas

I have a student who is SO creative he and has the biggest imagination. I love this about him and I am so happy he is in my class and has an outlet to share his ideas. Sometimes he has so many ideas that the other kids in the class (6 more) don't get to share their ideas. He also gets really upset when I don't use his ideas. I hate to discourage him from giving ideas, especially at age 3 when it's so important to listen and execute.

The director of the preschool helped me come up with this idea. 3 popsicle sticks in a cup. Each stick represents an idea. When he gives me one of his ideas, I take a stick out of the cup. It really works! The other kids feel like they have a voice, and there are no tears. Thats a great creative movement class in my book.

What about you? Do you use a creative way to allow your students to share their ideas without getting upset or pushed to the side? I thought I would share this idea in case any of you are facing a similar situation. Please share yours, I would love to hear!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Educator- Educator-Educator- Dancer

This weekend I am dancing in the student and alumni concert at NYU! I haven't danced in this concert since I was in the masters program in 2006- (wow! that was a long time ago!) I am really looking forward to being on stage again. All of the pieces are student works and vary in genres from tap, modern, ballet, and folk dancing. Here is the flyer! Isn't it perty!

As an educator, I think it is important to take class, rehearse and perform. Right? I think I need a new goal: as much time as I spend on educating, (it is a lot!) I should spend on dancing. I just don't take enough technique classes anymore. So after this weekend, I will be a free to be cast as a dancer! Anyone? (hehe)

How important do you think it is to keep dancing while and after you have started your career as an educator? How do you keep the balance of teaching and dancing? I would love to hear what other educators do to fit it all in. What is important to you?

In the meantime movecreateeducate....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Butterfly Body Parts

Look what I found at Barnes and Noble today! I have been searching everywhere for a butterfly puppet to teach my students body parts. Eric Carle is celebrating his 40th Anniversary and has made all of these great puppets to go along with his children's books! Of course this one goes along with the very hungry caterpillar, it's so perfect for what I will use it for!

Look how colorful! My baby ballerina's will love this!

To teach body parts, I have the butterfly fly around the room and then all of a sudden lands on a body part of one of the students (a different child each time, so the butterfly lands on all of them at least once!). We identify the body part and then try to move that part in isolation. Here the butterfly landed on my shoulder!

Do you have puppets you use in your dance room to teach a lesson? I would love to hear all of your ideas!

In the meantime movecreateeducate...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's time for The Nutcracker!

Can you believe it's time for the Nutcracker already? (YAY!)Here is a drawing that a 3rd grader created about George Balanchine's the Nutcracker. I love to see what the kids are thinking after they see a ballet. Here is his reflection....Enjoy!

In the meantime movecreateeducate....


Check out these photos of Chicago Ballet Dancers! They are so inspiring!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are!

So, my fabulous 4 year olds in creative movement class gave me this great idea. They asked me if they could go to where the wild things are? At first I was like sure we can do that, and then I thought well maybe I could make it into a really great experience for them. I went to the bookstore and got the book yesterday and read through it once with a literacy lens and next with a dance teacher lens. There are a ton of ways to put this book into movement, just a few of my ideas are as follows...

1) "The forest grew and grew and grew"-
What's in the forest? Vines, flowers, leaves...

2) "The ocean tumbled and thrashed"-
waves, and a sailboat shape...

3) "Let the wild rumpus start"-
This part is shown with pictures. I looked at the pictures and came up with action words. One of the pictures is below... what movement words do you see?

Since the movie just came out, I am so excited about turning this story into movement. I would like to find the sheet music for the soundtrack to give to my live pianist. Anyone know where I could begin to look for that?

(Where the Wild Things Are was written by Maurice Sendak)

I hope to have the movement story done by parents day in December! Actually, I have a bunch of parents days coming up. Do any of you have parents days? What are your ideas? I would love to hear!

In the meantime movecreateeducate...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Developing Professional Development

Today I taught a warm-up (I was so nervous!) at a professional development at Lincoln Center for New York City Ballet. Classroom teachers from New York City Public Schools came to the rehearsal studios to learn about ballet and meet their teaching artists. Here is the word wall I created for the warm-up. The teachers loved it because they they could see how to connect dance to their classroom. I love educating non-dancers about a genre of dance, especially ballet! What do you think of my little stick figures? I'm not an drawing artist, but I thought they turned out clear enough that if students (or teachers) had to refer to them they could and they would know what the movement looks like.

Have you ever had to develop a professional development workshop for non-dancers? What worked and what didn't work? Tell me about it, I would love to hear!

In the meantime movecreateeducate...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Arabesque with a Rose

Today in my creative ballet class of 3 year olds I had in my plan to teach arabesque and I also had in the lesson to create with these sparkly red (they love to say they are pink) roses! As I was teaching I had a total move-create-educate moment and thought "I can teach arabesque with these lovely roses" I find that my best lessons come when they aren't planned, they just come to me while the kids are in front of me. Does this happen to anyone else?

First we practiced curtsey with the roses like we were on stage. Then I told them to put their rose in one hand and reach it way up high. I then told them to tendu (we learned this earlier in the class) in the back. I didn't worry so much about it being the opposite foot yet. I just wanted them to get the hang of one arm reaching with the flower! It really worked because the moms came in and the girls demonstrated the arabesque without the rose... what a great lesson with a beautiful rose!

Do any of you use fun or silly props to teach a lesson or step? I would love to hear!

In the meantime movecreateeducate...

p.s. I found these roses at Target during valentines day.... yes I know I use them all year round! What a great find!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Inspiration Software- I used this in graduate school and is a must have for any dance teacher! I have been using it lately to organize my thoughts for my curriculum design of tap, ballet, and creative movement. I hope it will help you as much as it helps me! I just saw on their website that they have a Kidspiration too! I wonder how different they are?

Does anyone else use these tools or have different tools to write their curriculum? I would love to hear!

On Center Magazine!

Meet my new friends from On Center Magazine! Micheal Smith and Sasha Fornari founded On Center Magazine in April 2008! You have to check this out.. a dance photography magazine, where they photograph dancers out of context and put them in a magazine for you to buy! And you can be a contributor, how cool is that!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This Is It

Some people were just born to dance...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Costume Quilts

Who has a trillion recital costumes taking up space in their parents basement? Pick me! Pick me! I have no idea why I didn't think of this before! What a great way to gather all of the memories!

(P.S. Mom, we should do this! It would give you a lot more space in the basement!)

Vegan Ballet Shoes

Vegan Ballet Shoes? Wow! I am positive that if every dance studio had their students buy these we could make a big difference! Find out more information about them here! Very cost effective as you will see. My next pair of ballet shoes will be these beauties!