Miss Zoe knows what it takes to be #PURPLE

IMG_7588What has been your favorite Dance Exploration School to Teach at? Why?
My favorite school to teach at is Crestmoor Early Learning Center. Not only are the group of girls adorable, but they are always keeping me on my toes 🙂
If you met someone on the street that never heard of Dance Exploration, what would you tell them about our company? I usually explain to people that Dance Exploration is an enrichment program that specializes in dance. I also tell people what makes us unique is that our goal is to get affordable dance into as many schools as possible so that as many children as possible can have the chance to learn the wonderful art. We also use dance as a fun learning tool by incorporating day to day/academic themes into our curriculum.
When you aren’t teaching and working with Dance Exploration, what are you doing? When I’m not working with Dance Exploration, I spend my own time practicing ballet, tap, and jazz as well as working as a Guest Experience Captain at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Which letter in the SPARKLE system is most beneficial to you? Why? (Systems, Pledges, Ambitions, Regiments, Knowledge, Leadership, Expressions) Ambitions, in my opinion, are the most beneficial to me because my goals are what keeps me motivated. My hopes and dreams are the reasons why I keep challenging myself to become a better teacher/dancer/person in general.

Miss Zoe is our current teacher of the month! She shows everyday how to be #PURPLE by sharing her Passion, Unique Talents, Reliability, Professionalism, Love of Kids and Educated knowledge of dance techniques and our ‘Dance to Learn!’™ Curriculum.

‘Dance to Learn!’™ Dance Ambassador Program

SLIDE SHOW 5The goal of the ‘Dance to Learn!’™ Dance Ambassador program is to train and certify Dance Professionals in the ‘Dance to Learn!’™ Curriculum. In development since 2009, Dance Exploration, LLC’s ‘Dance to Learn!’™ Curriculum has been taught to children in preschool and elementary schools across Colorado! When founded originally, it combined a ‘Recipe for Success’ which used the following ingredients to compose of the classes:

Dance Principles:
1 Part Warm Ups
1 Part Across/Around the Floor
1 Part Center Activity
1 Part Choreography

School Principles:
Combine any one or Combo:
Math/Numbers
Science
Reading/Writing
Spelling
History
Art

Development Skills:
Include any and all:
Cognitive Skills
Social Skills
Motor Skills
Language Skills

These combinations included a dance class that was designed to teach the whole child.

5 METHODS OF DANCE

Since 2009 the ‘Dance to Learn!’™ Curriculum has been developed and now includes the 5 Methods of Dance™ these methods include:

‘Dance to Learn!’™- teaching the child in a way that fosters creative thinking, problem solving and interacting in the world with dance and movement.

‘Dance to Accept!’™- teaching children about social and economic differences and how to embrace the unique talents and skills of others through dance and movement.

‘Dance to Discover!’™- helping children discover their world through dance principles. Discovery can be any concept that children would learn whether in school or just a life concept.

‘Dance to Express!’™- helping children find their individual passion. Many children have a hard time communicating or sharing their problems or thoughts, dance allows another avenue for this expression.

‘Dance to Move!’™- movement through dance can teach balance, coordination, flexibility, agility and strength. Dance also encourages and active and healthy lifestyle.

These five methods have been designed with the whole child in mind and are based on the different stages of childhood development: Cognition, language and speech development, social skills, and motor development. Our new recipe for success is the perfect combination to immprove Dance Education in schools.

According to the National Dance Education Organization 57% of children do NOT have access to dance training in schools! Of the 43% who do, only 7% of this training is offered by a teacher who is trained or specialized in dance!! (http://www.ndeo.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=893257&module_id=55774)

Think about that! Would you want your child to learn how to drive by a person who doesn’t have a driver’s license of their own? Would you want your child to learn how to tumble and flip by a person who never trained in gymnastics? What about trusting a person who didn’t train in proper ballet technique before teaching your child how to dance in pointe shoes? Dance in all forms takes years to develop proper technique and training! Just like professional football players train for years, so do our dancers and dance teachers! Why do more schools not entrust the teaching of dance to dance professionals? It’s clearly a topic that requires more education, as well as more dance professionals who are open and willing to enter the schools to provide that education!

With the ‘Dance to Learn!’™ Dance Ambassador program, our Ambassadors will receive a teaching certification on the ‘Dance to Learn!’™ curriculum and the 5 Methods that formulate that Curriculum. They will be authorized to teach the Curriculum for three years to children in schools in their state of residence! Our Dance Ambassador program is not made available to dance studios where dance is already taught on a professional level by dance professionals. This program is designed specifically for school children who don’t have access to or cannot afford professional dance education. With the Dance Ambassador program, we can also ensure that the dance training provided to children in our schools also includes all the benefits that dance provides by including the 5 Methods of Dance designed specifically around the stages of childhood development!

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With the ‘Dance to Learn!’™ Curriculum website, our Dance Ambassadors will also receive a three year dance curriculum subscription to continued education and development in the ‘Dance to Learn!’™ Curriculum to ensure that children can continue to receive the best in dance education!

Can you help us improve the statistics for the quality of dance education provided to our youth in schools nationwide? Make a pledge today and help us on our mission!

Learn how to apply to become a ‘Dance to Learn!’™ Independent Dance Ambassador!

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!

For Schools:

How Dance can Improve our Educational System

Research shows that students who participate in dance related activities have higher grades, better test scores, longer attention spans, and a greater success rate in school than students who do not partake in dance related activities. Dance students must use both sides of their brains to remember technique and combinations while applying artistry and creativity. Dancers also project confidence and self-esteem as well as discipline and motivation. All of these qualities are also needed to be successful in school.In a study by the National Assembly of State Art Agencies titled: “Critical Evidence: How the ARTS Benefit Student Achievement” it is reported how there is a positive connection between the arts and children’s improved learning abilities. Another study, “Champion of Change: The Impact of Arts on Learning,” writes about seven different studies conducted to determine whether participation in the arts could actually improve students’ ability to learn. They determined that the arts and dance influence students’ success in school.

Test Scores

In a comparison of students who took art related activities in schools 66.8% of
8th Grade students scored in the top 2 quartiles on standardized tests compared
to only 42.7% of students who didn’t take art related activities. While in the
10th Grade 72.5% of art students scored in the top 2 quartiles of standardized
composite tests compared to 45.0% of those with low or no art classes. (Page 3
of “Champions of Change”)

According to the Texas Coalition for Quality Arts Education, students who study fine arts in schools have proven to score higher SAT scores than students who don’t have the opportunity of studying fine arts in school.

Grades

79.2% of 8th grade students who took art classes earned As and Bs in English. (Page 3 of “Champions of Change”)

Reading Readiness

“Dance has been employed to develop reading readiness in very young children.” (Page 11 of “Critical Evidence”)

Reading scores were 25.8% higher among 10th grade students who took art related classes as opposed to those who took few or no art classes. (Page 3 of “Champions of Change”)

A Reading Through Dance Program Study at DePaul University, determined that students who participated in the dance program improved their reading skills more than control students who did not participate in the program.

Cognitive Development

According to Neuroscientists from seven universities, learning to dance relates closely to physical practice and that training improves other cognitive skills.

Critical Thinking

Dancers in a group learn important skills such as the ability to plan, successfully expressing their thoughts and ideas, providing concise arguments and reasons for or against different concepts, and applying different strategies to complete tasks. (Page 25 of “Champions of Change”)

Creative Thinking

High school students who were dancers scored higher than non-dancers on creative thinking measures in an experimental research study. (Page 15 of “Critical Evidence”)

According to a study at the University of Northern Colorado, the Torrence Test of Creative Thinking was used to compare the creative thinking process of dancers compared to non dancers. Dancers showed a significant difference in originality and abstractness of thought compared to the non dancers.

Communication

Students who learn the arts in school have fewer problems expressing
themselves, using their imaginations, taking academic risks, and demonstrating
what they have learned than students who do not participate in arts programs.
(Page 38-39 “Champions of Change”)

According to the Center for Educator Development in Fine Arts, higher academic test scores, higher self-esteem, stronger social skills, and greater content knowledge can be attributed to students participating in groups in dance classes. Drop Out RatesStudents who take art classes have a 1.4% chance of dropping out of school before the 10th grade. (Page 3 “Champions of Change”)

Improving Teachers

The arts in school also help teachers. A University of Minnesota study noted three key changes in teachers when the arts were incorporated into the classroom: The teachers’ perception of students changed, they saw greater potential in their students and their learning abilities in areas such as intelligence, leadership and motivation. The teachers became more focused on becoming “facilitators of knowledge” rather than dispensers of knowledge. Teachers encouraged more revision and improvement from each student’s assignments. They felt more comfortable giving critiques and encouraged students to be comfortable in risk taking.

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