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!
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:
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!
- 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!
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!