Kids Hip Hop 101

Written by Jessica Clayton

Hip Hop has been a very popular dance style in the past few years thanks to shows such as America’s Best Dance Crew and So You Think You Can Dance. As a ballet dancer, Hip Hop has always been a foreign style to the classical lines that I have been taught my entire career. So you can imagine the sheer terror when I’ve had to sub a hip hop class or…gulp…teach a full session.

How do you make it work? Here are a couple tips and tricks to help you in the process.

Step 1:
Start your class with fun easy warm ups that include cardio (Jumping Jacks, Grape Vines, Jump Rope etc), stretching, and Isolations (moving one body part at a time).

Step 2: Teach simple basic Hip Hop Steps.
If you aren’t sure what the basics are, I would suggest taking a hip hop workshop in your area.
Some basics include: Kick Ball Changes, Rock Steps, Crip Walks, and more.

Step 3: Once the students have a general understanding of the basics you can expand on those. As Jeff in the video shows, you can change your rocks stops going to the front, back, or catching a wave like a surfer. Then expanding the move even more to be performed on one foot!

Step 4: Teach fun old school moves! Kids will love learning all the dance moves you did as a child! Coffee Grinders, Robot, etc. You can even start creating your own hip hop moves. A made up hip hop move the kids always love is called stir the soup! That’s where you put your hands above your head in two fists, circle them around your head, shimmy to the floor and jump up and do it again. Watch the video closely, you’ll see it performed in their dance!

Step 5: Don’t be afraid to challenge your students. Each week try a more advanced dance move. Maybe it’s togher isolations, popping, or a more advanced break dance move.

Step 6: At the end be sure to put all that they learned together in a fun dancing combo!

Enjoy the video!

Don’t forget to join us for our next dance teacher training coming up on 1/6/2012. We will be focusing on Ballroom Funk: Creating a Fun Child Friendly Ballroom Class!

http://dancexploration.co/Dance_Teacher_Trainings.html

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Tips and Tricks for Keeping your Dance Class on Pointe

Dance Exploration, LLC offered a $5.00 Dance Teacher Training on 11/11/2012 to offer hands on tips and advice for running a structured dance class for preschool and elementary aged children!

We had a great time doing hands on activities and getting the teachers and children involved! We wanted to share with everyone our tips and tricks to keeping your Creative Dance Classes on Pointe!

1) Music Choices
A big concern and question our teachers had was how to pick music that is kid friendly, fun and easy to dance to! Here are some of our favorite music selections for Creative Dance Classes:

Can’t go wrong with Disney! Most children have seen Disney films, they can relate easily to the songs and characters and makes the class more enjoyable!

Dancing with Miss Melody
This is great for practicing ballet moves. Some of our favorites are her Flowers in the Garden, where we Plie in the sun, Grow Leaves (Passes), and Sip from the puddle (Piques).

Her Jump song also invites us to practice our Sautes, Echappes, Chasses and Skips!

Miss Melodee - Dancing With Miss Melodee CD Cover Art

The Fairies
Another Favorite, more upbeat CD is Fairy Dancing by the Fairies

We do the Fairy Boppity Bop, Dance the Sleep Away and much more fun activities!

2) Creating Structure

We believe in using props and imaginative rules to keep the class structured and under control.

Some little tips:

  • For Warm Ups: Place bandanas or mats on the floor in a circle. Children will know where to sit and it will stop the pre-class run and romp.
  • Across the Floor: Kids get a little antsy when having to wait their turn to go across the floor. This is when your magic super glue comes in. Give everyone some glue on their hands and have them super glue themselves to the wall.
  • Get them talking: Children have a lot they want to say, so instead of trying to keep them quiet, get them talking. When warming up, create warm ups that ask them questions “Where do our butterflies want to fly to today?” “What color are your wings?” “What princess do you want to be today?” A Secret is to keep your warm ups music free to let them get all the stories they want to tell you out at the beginning of class.

3) Incorporating Boy and Girl Movements for the same activity.

One of our student’s favorite activities is Bibbity Bobbidy Boo! We turn the dancers into the character of their choice and then they tip toe walk across the floor! Our teachers learned how to turn all exercises and activities into something both boys and girls could enjoy.

For example the girls were asked which princess they wanted to be? They then put on their glass slippers and tiaras and princess walked. The boys were asked which superhero they wanted to be and then put on their capes and flew across the room. Before the spell can work, they must all show the teacher the Dance Move the Day.

4) Encouraging Good Behavior

The biggest questions we received were how to encourage good behavior, and what to do when a child acts out. Here are some great tips:

Reward Board
On a dry erase board write all of the kids names in your dance class. Next to each name draw one star. Explain before every class that all the children start with one star and throughout the day they can earn more by sharing, being patient, being polite and following rules. When the teacher sees them doing a great job, a second and third star is added by their name. At the end the stars represent the number of stickers the kids will receive. Remind kids who only received one star how they can earn more at the next class and what they can improve on. Be specific! Avoid taking any stars away, as this can be traumatic and cause conflicts in the class. Instead give warnings and remind the kids of the star system. We want to promote the positive behavior through positive reinforcement.

Curbing the “I don’t Wanna’s”
We’ve all had those dancers who just don’t feel like doing something. Whether it’s because they are having an off day, or if it’s every class, here are some techniques to use to curb the “I don’t want to!” Syndrome

  • Offer them a special task: For example you know Miss Sally loves being the Tickler in Dance the Sleep Away. “Miss Sally, if you can do all of your across the floor exercises today, you can be our first ‘Tickler’ in our Sleeping Game!”
  • Partner them up: Children often times feed off the energy of other children. If you see Miss Sally sitting down and not dancing encourage a friend to hold her hand and help her dance.
  • Turn them into something new: Give the nonparticipating dancer a magic wand and ask them to turn the class into different animals: Toads, Cats, Dogs etc. Then tell the dancer it’s your (the teacher’s) turn to turn the class into things. When the dancer sees how much fun everyone is having, they will be quick to participate.
  • Bring a Friend: Usually the “I don’t wanna’s” are more common when a dancer is new to their dance class. New dancers can be more timid as they learn what dancing is all about. Encourage these dancers to bring a friend, usually a favorite stuffed animal or doll, and sit them on the shelf to watch the dancer!

Miss Jessica teaches students in her Creative Movement class how to leap like mouses.

5) Making your class Personable

The best dance instructors are great at creating a curriculum and class flow that fits themselves and their personality. If you aren’t having fun, aren’t confident, or uninspired, you will have a harder time convincing a group of preschoolers to follow along on your dance adventure. Here are some tips for keeping your classes fun and exciting for everyone!

Educate yourself!

  • Check other local dance studios that have popular dance classes, ask if you can observe a class.
  • Participate in Teacher Trainings, like those offered by Dance Exploration, LLC to gain new ideas for your classes. To be involved in our next training, please visit: http://dancexploration.co/Teacher_Trainings.html
  • Search the web for blogs, youtube videos and other tools with advise and tips on preschool dance classes.
  • Attend Seminars and workshops.

Switch it up
If you feel yourself getting burned out or tired, or if you notice your kids are appearing bored, it’s probably a good time to switch up your class. Teach them some new dance steps, create a fun new game, or bring in some new music and props to dance with!

Be Yourself
Make sure your class is a reflection of you and your personality so that the kids can really bond with you and have fun!

Stay tuned for our next blog on our tips from our Hip Hop Training Complete with Video!

Family Engagement Post: Denver Montclair International School

Week of November 6
Class Name: Creative Dance
School: Denver Montclair International School
Teacher: Miss Jamie

Class Theme: Painting

What Warm Ups did you do?
Circle of friends
Chasse to right and left in circle
Butterfly stretch, stinky feet
Straddle stretch, paint the rainbow
Fingers are spiders and go forward in straddle
The center is a pool of water and they need to take each part of their body and touch the water but quick before the fishes bite
Sleeping mice feet

We learned the basic dance movements for Skips, chugs, slides, zig zags and hops on one foot.

For our “Dance to Learn!” Activity, we created a dance story. The story focused different parts of the body. The Dance Story was about mice that sneak into their aunt’s studio. They use different color paints to paint themselves, the walls, and the floor.
The children learned creativity, self confidence, and had fun!

We started learning the dance Be Our Guest!

Family Engagement Post: Denver Montclair International School

Week of October 30
Class Name: Creative Dance
School: Denver Montclair International School
Teacher: Miss Jamie

Class Theme: Halloween

What Warm Ups did you do?
Circle of friends
Chasse to right and left in circle
Butterfly stretch, stinky feet
Straddle stretch, paint the rainbow
Fingers are spiders and go forward in straddle
The center is a pool of water and they need to take each part of their body and touch the water but quick before the fishes bite
Sleeping mice feet

We learned the basic dance movements for Skips, chugs, slides, and zig zags.

For our “Dance to Learn!” Activity, we created a dance story. The story focused on teaching quality of movement and weight of movement. The story was about mice that go on a trip to the moon. They have to walk heavy or light depending on where they are.
The children learned creativity, self confidence, and had fun!

Family Engagement Post: Ebert Elementary

Week of November 9
Class Name: Ballroom Funk
School: Ebert Elementary
Teacher: Miss Jamie

This week’s class theme was Swing.

Warm Ups Included:
side stretches
Runners stretch
Butterfly stretch
Straddle stretch
Legs in front stretch
Shaking hands and feet

We learned 4 different swing basics. We practiced them alone and we also did them with a partner.
For our “Dance to Learn!” Activity, we played free social dance which teaches creativity and retention. Everyone dances with a partner using the moves they just learned until the music stops, then the “girl” partner moves one person to the right in the circle and continues to dance.

We are coming along great on our end of session dance routine!

Family Engagement Post- Ebert Elementary

Week of November 2
Class Name: Ballroom Funk
School: Ebert Elementary
Teacher: Miss Jamie

This week’s class theme was Salsa.

Warm Ups Included:
side stretches
Runners stretch
Butterfly stretch
Straddle stretch
Legs in front stretch
Shaking hands and feet

We learned 4 different salsa and cha cha steps. We practiced them alone and we also did them with a partner.
For our “Dance to Learn!” Activity, we played free social dance which teaches creativity and retention. Everyone dances with a partner using the moves they just learned until the music stops, then the “girl” partner moves one person to the right in the circle and continues to dance.

We are coming along great on our end of session dance routine!

Family Engagement Post: Ebert Elementary

Week of November 2 and November 9
Class Name: Poms/Cheer
School: Ebert Elementary
Teacher: Miss Jamie

This week’s class theme was Cheerleading.

Warm Ups Included:
Head isolations
Side stretches
Hip isolations
Shoulder isolations
Runners stretch
Butterfly stretch
Straddle stretch- paint the rainbow
Hands are spiders crawling out in front on straddle
Legs in front stretch
Balancing contest in parallel passé
Sleeping feet

We practiced more advanced movements today:
Cartwheels, Leaps, pikes, toe touches
For our “Dance to Learn!” Activity, we played Freeze dance which teaches creativity and body control. Everyone dances until the music stops and then they need to freeze. The children also learned creativity and self confidence by creating their own moves and control by having to freeze on cue.

We are coming along great on our end of session dance routine!