Dance Games for Kids – Dance Games Kids Love

dance games for kids

At this time of the year, we are all rounding off our ballet classes and it is fun to have some dance games for kids to give them a fun lesson after all the hard work from the past year.

I used these dance games kids love on some of my classes, mainly the little ones, at the end of a term just before the holidays just to have some fun. You can also use some of them at the beginning of a class to warm up or at the end of a class to cool down. It is a great idea to end off the season with a class like this, as it is a lot of fun for the kids, and they will leave excited to come back in the new term.

Here are some of the dance games for kids that I play with my students. Most of them are well suited to the 3 – 5 year age group. dance games for kids

Dance Games for Kids

Musical Chairs

I am sure many dance teachers play this dance game.  All you do is put two lines of chairs back to back and get the children to either run, skip or march around the chairs.  When the music stops, each child must try and sit on a chair.  The child left standing is out and gets to choose the next chair to take away.

Repeat until only one person is left in the game.  This child would be the winner.

Musical Statues

This dance game for kids is pretty self explanatory.  You play the music and when you stop it, the children have to freeze. If a child moves he is out and must come and be your helper. The last dancer left is the winner.

You could also vary this game by giving them instructions. This will improve their listening and concentration skills. Say for instance ‘the next time the music stops you have to show me an angry face’ or ‘the next time the music stops you have to balance on one leg with your finger on your nose.’

Noah’s Ark

You can play a piece of music and ask the children to imitate an animal. They can imitate its movements and if you feel like it, even the sounds they make. The best one gets a prize. Try to find music that suits the animals that they are imitating.

Blind Mans Buffdance games for kids

This may be better for slightly older children.  Blind fold one of your dancers and let the players scatter and then root themselves to one spot.  The blind one has to search for the players. If he comes close, the players can twist and duck to avoid being detected, but cannot move their feet.  Once the blind player catches somebody, she must guess who it is.  If she is correct, the player who has been caught becomes the blind man. If not the blind man has to try again.

Discus Throw

The children are given paper plats and line up at one end of the room.  A small square is marked off at the other end of the room.  The children then throw the plates with the hand flat, and the plate that comes closest to the square wins.

Hidden Treasures

A small object such as a short pencil, matchstick, marble or lollipop is shown to the class.  The children then leave the room and the object is hidden where it can be seen with out the children having to lift or disturb other objects.

The children are called back, and as soon as a child sees it he whispers to the organizer of the game where it is and then quietly takes a seat without telling any of the other children. The game ends when all the children have found the object.

Another option is to send one child out of the room while the others hide an object somewhere in the room in plain sight. The child returns and looks for it, while the others hum a song.  Softly hum when the child is far away from the object and hum louder as he gets closer.

You could also do this playing music softer and louder as the child gets warmer.

Cobbler, Cobbler

The children sit in a circle and one blindfolded child stands in the middle.  The children in the circle chant:

‘Cobbler, cobbler mend my shoe;

get it done by half past two;

half past two is much too late;

get it done by half past eight;

cobbler, cobbler tel me true;

which of you has got my shoe.’

While they chant the rhyme, they pass a shoe around the circle.  When the rhyme is finished, the player in the middle removes the blindfold and is allowed three guesses to find who has the shoe behind his back.  If he guesses right, the child with the shoe goes into the middle of the circle to be blindfolded.

Balloon Tap

Play the music and let the children do free dance.  As they dance they have to keep three or four balloons in the air and stop them touching the ground. After a practice round you could divide them into two teams and they can see which team can keep the balloons up the longest.

Laughing Balloon

A balloon is thrown into the air and the children have to laugh. When the balloon hits the ground, the children must stop laughing and keep perfectly straight faces. The best gets a prize.

Shoe Hunt

Each child takes off their ballet shoes and puts them in a box. Make sure the shoes are marked with the children s names before you begin. The shoes are mixed up and then at the signal they all have to run and find their own shoes and put them on.  The first child with her shoes on is the winner.

Extra Tips on Planning Dance Games for Kids in Class

Always plan for more games than you need, as sometimes a game may not be so popular with the group, or they may get bored after one or two rounds and you need to keep the class moving and change to another game quickly.

Try to use some of the steps they have learnt in class during the games to keep the class dance focused.

Make sure the dance games for kids you choose are educating the children in some way, eg coordination, listening skills, balancing, etc.

Click here to read more on ballet games for dance class.

 

 

 

 

Don Quixote Ballet Synopsis

don quixote ballet synopsis

The Don Quixote Ballet is one of my favorite ballets of all time.  The energy and the music of this exciting ballet makes it a thrill to watch.

Don Quixote ballet is quite long – 4 Acts and 8 scenes in some cases. It was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus and was first performed by the Ballet of the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow on the 26th 1869.

don quixote ballet synopsisDon Quixote Ballet Synopsis

Prologue

Don Quixote, a valiant and eccentric old gentleman, lies ill at his castle in Barcelona, surrounded by dust-covered books, which he has been reading tales of the gallant knight-errant.  He dreams of the Lady Dulcinea, heroine of one of the stories, and in his delirium, vows to save her from her persecutors.

His neighbor, Sancho Panza, pursued by two market women who have been sent to fetch him home, interrupts the Don’s delusions. Don Quixote enlists him as his squire and together they set out on their chivalrous adventures.

Act 1:

At the Port of Barcelona, the lovely Kitri seeks out her sweetheart, the gallant young barber, Basilio.  Their happy meeting in the square is interrupted by her father, the innkeeper Lorenzo, who tries to force her into accepting the hand of Gamache, a rich nobelman.  She refuses and with Basilio takes part in the festivities of the townsfolk.  The joy of dancing is broken up by the arrival of the Don and Sancho Panza, who becomes the target of some horseplay by the villagers, until his master rescues him.

As Kitri dances with Basilio, Don Quixote imagines her to be Dulcinea and invites her to be his partner. Gamache is furious but reluctantly joins with the crowd in supporting the Don’s hallucination. In the confusion that follows, Kitri and Basilio run off to get married with Lorenzo and Gamache in hot pursuit. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza set out after them to right all the wrongs.

don quixote ballet synopsis

Act II:

Scene 1

The lovers, seeking shelter in a windmill on the plain of Monteil are captured by a troupe of gypsies, who then discover they have nothing worth stealing. Instead, they seize and rob Lorenzo and Gamache, but, with the sudden appearance of the Knight and his squire, they co-operate with Kitri and Basilio in a plot to set the Don Against their pursuers.

Their plans are foiled when Don Quixote is distracted by the windmills which he takes for monsters and which he attacks with great courage, but with unfortunate results. As the gypsies laugh at his defeat, the lovers run off with Lorenzo and Gamache hot at their heels.

Scene 2

Lying unconscious from his wounds, Don Quixote dreams he is in a magic garden where the Queen of the Dryads brings a grateful Dulcinea to him. He declares his love for her. The dream fades, and rousing himself, he sets off once more to find his lady, with the help of Sancho Panza.

 

Act III:

Scene 1

Kitri, Basilio, and their friends are celebrating their escape in a tavern when Lorenzo and Gamache, with Don Quixote and Sancho Panza not far behind, arrive.  Lorenzo is determined to marry his daughter to Gamache.

In desperation Kitri and Basilio decide to try playing a last trick on Don Quixote.  Basilio pretends to stab himself in jealous despair, while Kitri implores the Don for help. In his pursuit to right a wrong, the Don forces Lorenzo to bless the young lovers before they are parted forever. Indignant, Gamache challenges the Don to a duel and is defeated.

Scene 2

The lovers are united.  As Don Quixote gives his blessing to the young pair, he sees a vision of Dulcinea still leading him on his quest. Valiantly he sets out with Sancho Panza by his side to once more perform deeds of chivalry in Dulcinea’s service.

Here is a short extract of Kitri and Basilio dancing together.  You can see from this just what a vibrant ballet Don Quixote is.

Trusting we will see you all at the Don Quixote Ballet.

Coordination in Dance and How We Can Improve on It?

coordination

In order to improve our coordination in dance we first need to understand exactly what coordination is.

So let’s start with . . .

What Is Coordination?

Coordination simply explained is basically the teamwork between your muscles and your conscious thoughts, to make movements possible, whether it be a familiar or a new movement.coordination in dance

When you are born, as a baby, you do random movements for the first few months, which are movements without any purpose or plan. Coordination only starts, when as an infant you learn to grab something with your hand, and then multiplies from there, into planned and purposeful movements.  This is how coordination all begins.

Coordination in dance is a result of motor skill development, and motor skills are in turn developed as a result of purposeful movement experiences. Purposeful movement is not just random movement.  It is planned movement, just as in dance where most movements are choreographed and planned.

How Does Coordination Happen?

The cerebellum is the main part of the brain that controls movement and coordination in dance. Physical coordination will be impaired when there is damage to the cerebellum or other parts of the brain that affects its functioning.

Coordination or Motor Skills development is actually pre-programmed into the human body. It amazingly happens without any instruction or intervention, provided the person is exposed to natural movement experiences during the growing years – mainly from birth to the age of eight years.

Physical coordination naturally develops in infants as they begin to explore their environment and handle various objects. Children learn to time movements to create a result, for instance, using eye-hand coordination when eating food or playing with toys. Coordination continues to develop during recreational activities, playing musical instruments or when engaged in sports, such as throwing a football while running across a field. Physical coordination that requires precise timing between the hands, fingers and eyes is referred to as dexterity.

If a student hasn’t been able to fully develop his or her coordination, it is usually remedied by doing movement exercises that were missed out on during his or her early childhood.

Crawling on the hands and knees, just as babies do, will encourage coordination to happen.  If doing this in class, don’t let the children drag their knees on the floor. They must be encouraged to lift them and walk with them.  If a young child swings arms randomly while dancing, allow them to do so, and they will eventually progress on to the transition stage and go from there to the natural use of the arms in opposition.

According to health and fitness expert Jillian Michaels, ball catching is another example of a coordination exercise. Ball catching involves throwing the ball to another person and increasing the speed and frequency with which the object is thrown. Writing numbers on the ball and saying the number seen before catching the ball further enhances the technique.

There are many types of movement that are repeated so many times that they become a habit, and you no longer have to get detailed instructions from the brain on how to perform them.  These movements are stored as complete units in the motor area of the brain and are set in motion with ease by a single command from the person’s conscious brain.

Examples of this type of learned movement include riding a bicycle or in dancing doing a tendu, as these are both classified as habits or learned reflexes.

Coordination is something that needs to be developed in sequential stages, as each level builds on the previous level or levels.  If there is a weakness, then it can cause a weakness throughout the entire system of things.

Is Learning Coordination Ongoing?

The brain actually never stops learning and improving, so yes coordination can continue to grow and be improved upon throughout our entire lives.  Each time you learn a new skill, you are improving on your coordination.

coordination in danceMovement is what stimulates brain activity and development, so the more you move the better.  Think like a child, as they find that movement can be a lot of fun.  We just grow lazier as we get older.

Coordination in a Dance Class

Young children should not be rushed to achieve perfect technique in a dance class.  There are many small pieces of growth and development that must happen before a child can be expected to perform movements correctly, especially classical movements in a ballet class.  When the time is right, the bones, muscles and nervous system will become mature enough to let this happen.

Dance skills must be built upon the base of natural skills that have been developed, that is why the fundamental movement skills that are learned in the beginning stages of dancing are so important in the early training of a dancer.

Details of movement need to be discussed and worked out individually or as a class, and this can help your students to mentally direct their muscles. It does take time for the results to become apparent, but if you allow for the process to take place, you will see well coordinated dancers at the end of it all.

There are three main stages in the development of coordination.

Natural coordination happens during the first eight years of life, and if this process has been successful, then you can build on the physical and technical skills necessary for the individual.

Unfortunately in this new digital world, many children don’t have the natural benefits that they used to, to fully develop their coordination. If they don’t have a good base in natural movement skills, both the physical and academic development will be hindered.

Lack of coordination  generally indicates a lack of natural movement experiences. Providing these experiences should improve the coordination.

Stages of Coordination in Dance

Basic Stage of Coordination in Dance

The basis of all coordination is symmetry, which involves a muscle balance between the two sides of the body.  This is also known as bilateral coordination.

Movements that are symmetrical in appearance make up the basic stage of coordination, for instance swinging arms in unison, jumping on two feet, sit ups, jumping jacks, nodding head up and down, rises on two feet, bending and stretching both knees etc.  Movements like walking, skipping, running also fall into this category as both sides of the body are used.

These types of movements can be used to improve coordination at any age.

Transitional Stage of Coordination in Dance

This stage is more asymmetrical and can be seen in a childs first attempts to march when they use the same arm and leg, rather than working in opposition.  This should not be corrected or commented on, as the child is still developing her coordination.

The transitional stage overlaps the basic and the final stages, and helps achieve the finished product.  First it needs to be established in the neuromuscular system.  If the dancer has secured this stage, she will be able to easily reproduce various arm and head positions that need to be used with any body movement.

Final Stage of Coordination in Dance

This stage includes cross lateral or collateral coordination, and is the natural use of the arms in opposition when walking and running.  When learning classical ballet, a child needs to be well into this final stage of coordination.  They will then have unlimited variations and patterns that they can learn to perform.

Forcing him to perform at this level before he is ready will cause coordination problems later on.  The reason for this is that dominance settles in from around the age of 7 and dominance and coordination are somehow related.  Forcing correct responses of right and left, and forcing adherence to exact movements before the child is ready may interfere with the full development of dominance and the balance between the two sides of the brain.

coordination in dance

In a young child it is quite common to see all three of the above stages of coordination in the same class.  It is not our job as teachers to teach the stages of coordination, as this should happen naturally as the child gains enough natural movement experiences.  But as teachers it is always good to equip ourselves with as much knowledge as possible so that we can guide our pupils through all these awkward stages of life.

Ballet and dance training will definitely enhance the natural development of the child, as well as increase the potential for physical coordination in dance and artistic expression.  Through all this correct alignment must be taught, and all the natural growth patterns must be protected throughout the growing years.

Teachers need to use good judgment and teach to children only what their bodies are mature enough to handle safely and correctly. Learning too much too soon does more damage, both physically and mentally, and should be avoided at all costs.

Work with nature and not against it as a general rule of thumb when trying to improve coordination in dance.

Best Gifts For Dancers

best gifts for dancers

Here is a selection of the best gifts for dancers that I could find.

Enjoy!

“Dance pretty ballerina

To the sound of classical ballet

Let the music inspire you

And sweep you away

Stand on pointe in your ballet shoes

Then twirl little ballerina in your fancy tutu

Feel the pride upon Mommy and Daddy’s face

As your pointed toes reveal your grace

Turn on one leg little dancer

And pirouette pretty little dancer

The best one yet….”

Best Gifts for Dancers

My Daughter Gift Woodgrain Music Musical Jewelry Box Plays Music Box Dancer

This beautifully trimmed music or jewelry box makes the perfect gift for the dancer in your life. The Sankyo brand musical movement is enclosed in glass for an added touch of luxury. Use the photo opening to add your own special touch of personalization.

  • Easily Personalize With Your Own Photos And Messages
  • Makes A Perfect Gift Or Family Keepsake.
  • Beautiful Woodgrain Finish
  • Plays Music Box Dancer
  • Size 8″ x 6″ x 2 1/2″

 

 Kikkerland Ballerina Jewelry Stand

Hang your jewelry collection in style with this steel jewelry stand. There is plenty of room to hang your necklaces, earrings and bracelets. The dish at the base holds rings or other small items. Ships flat. Simple assembly with male/female slots and magnet.

  • Stylish ballerina jewelry holder
  • Great for displaying necklaces, earrings and bracelets
  • Dish at base holds rings and other small items
  • Made of steel
  • Measures 7 by 6.5 by 4-Inch

Activewear Apparel Dance Drawstring Bag (One Size, Pink)

Great collection of dance bags for your little dancer. Makes a great bag for dance shoes, water, and some snacks. Various Colors/Prints available.

  • water-resistant fabric
  • Drawstring Bag with Dance Featured
  • Size: 17″ x 20″

Wall Decals Quotes Dance Quote Dancer Silhouette Gymnastics Girls Kids Children Gift Nursery Dance Studio Ballerina Ballet Wall Vinyl Decal Stickers Bedroom Mural

High quality decals, made of German Vinyl Material. They can be applied on any smooth surface like non textured walls, windows, digital gadgets, household appliances and etc. The decals are easy to remove but they are not reusable. You will get the instruction how to apply vinyl decal. Simple as pie.

  • Our Decals can be applied on any smooth surface like non textured walls, windows, digital gadgets, household appliances and etc.
  • The real size of the decal is 22″x32″. Decal on the picture can be bigger and is for showing purpose.
  • If you need your own size of the decal please write a message. The price will be different depending on the size you want.
  • You can choose any color for decal from our color chart. Write the message after payment and provide color.
  • If we do not receive a message with your color choice, you will get decal in color showing on the picture

 

InspirationzStore Typography – I Dance – Whats your Superpower – funny dancing love gift for dancers – 11oz Two-Tone Black Mug (mug_184941_4)

I Dance – Whats your Superpower – funny dancing love gift for dancers Mug is available in both 11 oz and 15 oz. Why drink out of an ordinary mug when a custom printed mug is so much cooler? This ceramic mug is lead free, microwave safe and FDA approved. Image is printed on both sides. Hand washing is recommended.

  • White ceramic mug with black interior and handle
  • Image printed on both sides
  • Available in 11oz only
  • Microwave safe, hand-wash to preserve image
  • High gloss finish

Trust you will will find something special for the dancer in your life.

For more special gifts for dancers click here or here.

 

If you are looking for a special gift for your dancing teacher, click here.

How To Get More Students For Your Dance School

how to get new students

Because dance studios are constantly looking for ways of getting and keeping their pupils, I will explore, in this article, how to get more students for your dance school, as well as motivate existing ones.

Here are some effective and creative ways on how to get new students, especially now that the new year is about to kick in.

how to get more students for your dance studio

How To Get More Students For Your Dance Studio By Offering A Free Trial Class

If you offer a free trial lesson, you will encourage more students to join, as they can ‘try before they buy.’ This is a great way to entice new pupils because most children who want to dance will enjoy a free lesson and once they have had a taste, believe me, they will want more.

You could also offer an open week, where anybody can come and try a class or two for free.  This also works really well to get new dancers into your studio.

Print out coupons and drop off at preschools offering a free introductory class.  You could also volunteer to go and give a complimentary class at the preschool and send home info to the parents on what you did with their children.

Send all the schools in your area flyers that can be sent home with the learners.  Make sure to put flyers on all the local community and shopping center boards for extra free advertising.

Bring a Friend Day

Book a day, and encourage your pupils to bring a friend to class.  This one works quite well, as a lot of the friends will enjoy the lesson and sign up for more.  Your existing students will also enjoy showing off their class, their dancing and their studio to their friends.

Give Away Promotional Items

This is a great way to encourage new pupils.  Try advertising a day, where if students register, they will get a free t-shirt, dance bag, key ring, pen or any other promotional item.  In this way, you will encourage your pupils to re-register, and you will also be promoting your business.

Goodie bags are also a great idea.  You could get dance shops to sponsor tights or some other dance related items, which you can offer to new students that register.  The dance shops in question could also come to the party by offering a discount on dance wear or a new uniform.

Prizes

You could hold a competition for your existing students to win some free dance lessons, or encourage them to bring a friend and if that friend joins up they get a discount or a prize.

Use Technology To Get More Pupils For Your Dance School

Set your auto answer or your voice mail to refer people directly to your regularly updated website, or your enrollment page on your website.  Make sure that your website is mobile friendly, as a lot of people nowadays access websites on their cell phones.

Try forwarding all calls coming into the studio to your cell phone when you are not there, so you don’t miss any potential sign ups.  You could also include an enrollment form on your website which they can fill out and email to make the process smoother and faster.

Create a Facebook Fan Page to keep existing and new students motivated.

Donations

Take advantage of community projects in your area and donate free dance classes or promotional items as prizes.

Performanceshow to get more students for your dance studio

Use your good dancers or prize-winning groups to dance at local schools in the area during assembly time to attract new students.  Take advantage of opportunities to showcase your talents at any outdoor events that may be run in your area, e.g. church fetes, cake sales, sporting events, expos etc.

Discounts

Offer a discount for early registrations or to the first 50 registrations.  Offering discounted registrations to existing pupils if they register before a certain date also encourages them to re-register.  Offering discounts for families where more than one member is dancing also works well.

Media Advertising

Here you need to be careful not to waste your valuable advertising budget.  If you want to advertise in a newspaper, it works well, only if it is a newspaper that gets distributed in your specific area.  If you advertise in your local paper, you will get far more views and the interest rate will be far higher than if you advertise in a newspaper that is distributed more widely.  You will probably need to pay for this sort of advertising, so use your money wisely.

You can also advertise free on a lot of websites and classified sites, just make sure you mention the area that you teach from in the advert so that you don’t get hundreds of irrelevant calls.

All that being said, I find that over the years of teaching, the best advertising has been ‘word of mouth’ for me.  This is the best way I have found on how  to get more students for your dance school.  If you keep your existing pupils happy, you will happily be referred to all their family and friends.

For more dance studio management advice and how to get more students, click here.

Good luck with all you new enrollments teachers!

 

 

 

Cinderella Ballet Story

cinderella ballet story

Cinderella has been a popular story for over a hundred years, but it was only turned into a ballet after 1945, when Sergei Prokofiev finished writing the musical score.  The Cinderella Ballet Story has different versions, but the synopsis below is the most popular.

Fredrick Ashton was the first person to stage a full-length Cinderella ballet story production using Prokofiev’s music in the West, but Ben Stevenson’s production remains the most popular since its premier in 1970.

 

cinderella ballet storyCinderella Ballet Story – Synopsis

Act 1:

A Room In Cinderella’s Father’s House

Cinderella’s stepsisters are busy embroidering a shawl to wear at the court ball that they have been invited to.

Cinderella is seated at the fireside.  After the sisters quarrel and leave the room, Cinderella recalls happier days when her Mother was alive.  Her Father who is twice a widower, wants to be kind to her, but is afraid of his bad-tempered stepdaughters who scold him angrily when he tries to comfort her.

A mysterious old beggar-woman appears and begs for alms.  After the sisters drive her away, Cinderella gives her bread.  The old woman casts a gentle look at the kind girl and then disappears.

Dressmakers, a hairdresser and a jeweler arrive and the sisters dress for the ball.  A dancing master and two violinists enter and the sisters practice the gavotte.   Cinderella’s father and his stepdaughters set out for the ball, and Cinderella is left sadly alone.

Again the mysterious beggar-woman appears and, throwing off her disguise, reveals herself as the Fairy Godmother.  She summons the Fairies of the Four Seasons and their attendants who bring seasonal gifts for Cinderella, as a reward for her kindness.

Just before Cinderella sets off for the ball, the Fairy Godmother warns her that she must leave the ball before the clock strikes twelve, or all the magic charms will fade away, and Cinderella, the Princess, will once more be a scullery maid.  Escorted by the Seasons and the Stars, Cinderella drives to the ball in a carraige.

Act II

A Ball At The Palace

The ball has begun, courtiers move about in a formal dance and then the jester dances.  Cinderella’s father and stepsisters arrive.

A fanfare, and the Prince is announced.  Mysterious musiccinderella ballet story is heard and Cinderella appears, so beautiful that all take her for a princess; even her stepsisters fail to recognize her.

The Prince, charmed by her beauty, offers her three oranges, the rarest fruit in his land. The dancers disperse and the Prince and Cinderella, left alone, declare their love for each other.  The waltz is resumed and, caught up by the dance, Cinderella forgets the Fairy’s warning.

The clock strikes twelve and Cinderella rushes from the palace, losing a slipper on the way. The Prince, dismayed, picks up the lost slipper and swears to find the girl he loves.

Act III

After The Ball

Scene 1:  A room in the house of Cinderella’s Father

Scene 2:  An Enchanted Garden

Cinderella awakens at her own fireside.  Was it all a dream?  The slipper hidden in her apron convinces her that she really was in the palace and had danced with the Prince.

The sisters run in, tell Cinderella about their conquests at the ball and show her all their oranges.  Women rush in to say that the Prince is looking everywhere for the girl who lost the slipper.

The Prince appears and the sisters try on the slipper.  Cinderella kneels to help, and the second slipper falls out of her apron.  The Prince recognizes in the modest Cinderella the beautiful Princess of the ball and the Fairy Godmother appears to unite the lovers, who live happily every after.

Here is an extract from the Cinderella ballet – the ballroom scene.

How To Improve Musicality In Dance

how to improve musicality in dance

I have decided to do some research and write this article on how to improve musicality in dance, as a couple of my pupils had issues with their musicality in dance in their recent exams. Most of it I know is due to nerves, but I am sure many of you would like to know how to improve your own musicality in dance.

So What Is Musicality?

Musicality in dance is how a dancer expresses music in his or her body. If you want to know how to improve musicality in dance you must know that “Musicality is understanding music on a technical level, and then dropping all of that knowledge so you can sit deep inside the music,” “It’s dancing inside the music, as opposed to floating on top of it.” says choreographer Wade Robson.

Being on the music means that you reach the correct position on the appropriate count.  Being late or being behind the music means that you are not on time with the music.  Being musical isn’t about just being on time with the music, it is also the ability to hear subtle qualities and nuances within the music and then communicate it through your dancing.

If you are musical, you are enjoyable to watch. Dancers with absolutely no musicality are often stiff or seem disconnected when they dance.  They are also unable to show emotion in their work.

There is an essential connection between music and dance.

“Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance.” – Ezra Pound

“A strong but non-musical dancer is like a painting without any colors. I’d rather watch a musical dancer with less extension and not-as-pretty feet.” – Feijoo
how to improve musicality in dance

How To Improve Musicality In Dance

Dancers, be careful of taking your music for granted, or using it merely as a means of keeping time.  Next time really listen to it and see if it inspires or motivates you in any way.  What does the music make you feel?  These are the things that develop artistry and help you to become a better dancer.

Try to make out the personality of the music.  If it is loud and bold, make your movements bold and big.  If soft and twinkly, be delicate and light.

It is a proven fact that playing classical music to babies is very beneficial.  The earlier children are exposed to music, the better. Musical training and learning to read music can help you tremendously as a dancer.  Dancers who play a musical instrument have a greater sensitivity to the music.

At a minimum try and listen to music often to try and improve your musicality in dance.  When you listen to music, train yourself to identify the rhythm and allow your foot to tap in time to the beat of the music.  Clap the rhythm. Try to listen to different types of music, even music you don’t like and trickier syncopated and jazz music, as it will give your ear a different training.  Don’t get too used to one type of music.

Musicality helps to solve problems in dance too.  If you are battling to turn, for example, listen to the rhythm and accent of the music.  You may improve your turn simply by changing the rhythm or accent.  If you work on how to improve your musicality in dance, your dancing can only improve. Music can inspire you to get through a long and tough dance exercise, and when you run out of energy, simply ride the music and let it give you the energy to carry on.

Some dancers can hear the music, and for those who can’t, learn to count your music.  In a group dance, it is essential to count as it gets everyone moving in unison.  Some music, on the other hand, is extremely difficult to count and the dancer has to learn to listen to nuances, highs and lows in the music in order to dance in time.how to improve musicality in dance

Have music discussions in your class.  You have probably heard of ‘phrasing,’ but do you know what it is?  Phrasing is the way the music is organized within its measures.  In dancing choreographic phrasing is similar, as steps are organized within a musical phrase.  For instance – which steps move through the music, and which steps are syncopated, and which are on the beat.  The musical phrasing tells choreographers when a step should move quickly and when it should be stretched out.

A dancer needs a great sense of rhythm to hold the audience’s attention.  Each dancer can also do the same piece but it will look totally different as each dancer will have her own unique way of interpreting the music.

Musical Exercise For Dancers:

This one will definitely help you on how to improve  musicality in dance. First, find a song that you really like and listen to it as you normally would.

First, find a song that you really like and listen to it as you normally would.

Now play it again, but listen only to the drum.  Try to block out every other sound and follow only the drum through the entire piece.  Ask yourself if the drum changes or stays the same throughout the entire piece.

Now play the song a third time and focus on another instrument like a keyboard.

Repeat this exercise until you have followed each instrument in the song or piece.

Even if you have to listen to it ten times or more to go through all the instruments. Now listen to it normally again.  This will help a lot with your dancing, and you should be able to dance to rhythms you have never even thought to listen for.  This is an excellent exercise for all dancers to do.

After all, dancing is the joy of making music with your body.

I trust that the above information has helped you with your question of how to improve musicality in dance.

Please feel free to comment below if you have any other ideas on musicality in dance.

 

 

How To Do A Pirouette or Even Multiple Pirouettes

How to do a pirouette

All dancers dream of doing spectacular multiple pirouettes, but how to do a pirouette – that is a good question.  Perfect pirouettes require many hours of practice and dedication.

What Is A Pirouette?

A Pirouette is a turn in place, on one leg en releve (ball of your foot or full pointe).  There are various different ways to prepare for a turn, but the classical pirouette always has the same look to it. (lifted leg turned out in retire)

Other types of pirouettes are found in other dance forms, for example turning with the leg parrallel, spinning on your head or heels, the variations are endless.  In this post I will concentrate on the basic classical ballet pirouette.

What are the Requirements of a Great Pirouette?

First of all you need to have strength to do multiple pirouettes, and regular class, bar work and ballet training will strengthen all the muscles that you need for good turns.  To be stable on your turns, you need a good strong core, legs, ankles and feet.

When you are doing a pirouette, think about how a spinning top turns.  It is perfectly the same on both sides, weighs the same on both sides and is streamlined.

In order to maintain your balance and have momentum, you need to think of a spinning top.  Although we don’t look at all like spinning tops, we need to also be perfectly aligned otherwise we will simply fall over. You need to keep your supporting side aligned, in other words you shoulder, ribs and hip must be perfectly aligned to maintain a stable position on your turns.

As a versatile dancer you will need to be good at both en dehors (outward) and en dedans (inward) turns.How to do a pirouette

 Tips on How To Do A Pirouette From the Experts

  • Pirouettes need to be practiced a lot, but make sure you are practicing them correctly, or they won’t get any better.
  • Push off both legs, but make sure your weight is forward.
  • Don’t let your supporting heel slip before you turn.
  • Do a strong releve and get up quickly.  You should be in the correct pirouette position before you have turned a quarter.
  • Work on your plies, petit allegro and releves, as these all aid a good pirouette.
  • Spot. Relax the upper body so the head is free to do this.
  • When you spot, choose a spot slightly higher than your eye line to look at.
  • Learn to turn first, get your turns fast, then work on getting your form right , or it looks terrible.
  • Relax, exhale and float through your turn.
  • When you releve, get right up on the demi pointe.  This will be a breeze if you have strong feet.
  • If you are battling to balance, try perfect a quarter turn, half turn, then a full turn.
  • Open your arms to second just before you turn, then bring them in closer to your body as you turn to make your spin diameter smaller.
  • Be very careful that the shoulders remain square in the preparation to turn.
  • Try practicing multiple turns by doing a parallel pirouette.  This is a great way to get your balance.

 

A Visual Example for you of How To Do a Pirouette

Please add any other tips you may have on how to do a pirouette.

 

How To Do A Grand Jete or Split Leap

how to do a grand jete

A Grand Jeté is an awesome looking ballet trick or movement in which the dancer leaps into the air and does a split.  If done properly, it looks as though the dancer is hovering in the air for a second or two.  The question is how to do a grand jete, also known as a split jump.how to do a grand jete

The correct spelling for this in French is Grande Jete, but most people forget the e at the end of Grande. For the sake of this post, it will be called a grand jete.

The Grand Jeté is a show-stopper if done correctly, but if not, you could strain your body if you don’t use the right muscles.  Many different dance forms use the Grand Jete, including gymnasts.

How To Do A Grand Jete Training

To be able to master the grand jete, you need to first of all train your body correctly.

These are some stretches to start off with.  Make sure you are warm first, so either do these after your class, or after exercising, or even after a hot bath.

Stretch Number 1:

Stretch your legs out in front of you and flex your feet.  Try to flatten your body against your legs.  If you are stiff, take it slowly and hold for thirty seconds at a time.  Do this daily and you will see an improvement.

Stretch Number 2:

Train your body to do a split, because if you can’t do a split on the floor, you won’t be able to show a good one in the air.  Kneel and extend your right leg forward until it is completely straight in front of you, with your heel on the ground. Lean down and place your fingers on the floor to either side of your body. If this burns, hold this position. If not, scoot your heel forward until it does, and then hold. Repeat with the other leg.

You will need to do this stretch each day until your legs are both flat on the floor and you are sitting comfortably in a split.  This may take several weeks.  Go slowly and carefully to avoid pulling a muscle.

Stretch Number 3:

Once you are in the splits, you will need to gently push your stretch a little further.  Go down into the splits, and once you are feeling comfortable here place a pillow underneath your front foot.  When this doesn’t burn anymore add another cushion.  Now try adding a pillow or two underneath your back foot.  Do this one very carefully and stop if you feel any pain besides the normal burning pain.

Switch Legs and repeat.

Now for some strengthening exercises:

Strength Exercise Number 1:

You will need to strengthen your gluteal muscles (bottom) in order to achieve spectacular leaps.

Start by kneeling on all fours.
Keep your knees behow to do a grand jeteneath your hips and your hands directly underneath your shoulders.  Tighten your stomach as you breathe in and bring your right knee to your chest. Breathe out, point your right toe, and push your right leg out behind you and as far up into the air as you can whilst also bringing your chest upward.

Hold those stomach muscles so you don’t overextend your spine.  Make sure your glutes are contracted to help you achieve height.  Aim to do 30 or more reps on each leg.


Strength Exercise Number 2:

This exercise will strengthen your core.

how to do a grand jete
Lift Leg higher so toe points to ceiling

Lie down on your back, and rest your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent upwards to the ceiling. Make sure to keep your stomach tight and straighten your right leg so that it points up towards the ceiling.   Breath out as you use your left leg to push your hips upward until your body is straight. Inhale as you lower your hips almost to the floor and breathe in again as you push up. Repeat this 30 times on each leg.  If you can’t, start with a smaller number and build up gradually each day.

Strength Exercise Number 3:

Strengthen your jumping muscles.  The most effective way to do this is to squat down like you are sitting on a chair, then jump up and land in a squat again.  how to do a grand jeteWhen you squat, take care not to let your knees go too far forward over your toes.  Legs should be in a 90-degree angle.  Push your bottom back and keep your spine as erect as you can during all your squats.  Your knees are back behind your toes.

How To Do A Grand Jete

There is nothing better than a video to explain how to do a grand jete.

Here is a video demonstrating how to do a grand jete with a professional dancer.

This video breaks the Grand Jete down even further, however using students in training.

One thing they fail to mention on these videos, is that when you are in the air, in order to achieve the hovering effect, you have to feel like you are doing another split in the air at the height of the jump.  You should aim to split your legs even more here, so that you get the feel of staying in the air longer.

I trust that this post has answered all your questions on how to do a grand jete.  Please feel free to add anything else that I may have left out below.

Dance Career Opportunities – What If I Am Not a Good Enough Dancer?

dance career opportunities

As you probably know, it takes a lot to make it as a dancer, especially a ballet dancer.  But did you know that there are many more Dance Career Opportunities that are on offer for those that don’t have those perfect ballet bodies, or the skills to match.

A lot of dancers would love a dance career, but don’t get accepted into any of the major dance companies.  The competition is stiff, and only the best of the best make it into the most prestigious companies.

It is a difficult life floating from audition to audition and hoping that you can get work, as a free lance dancer, unless you have a good support system.

Here are some other great opportunities for dancers, and the best part is that these jobs are all related to dance or  to the performing arts.

With these jobs you won’t necessary be in the limelight, as they are more the unsung hero type jobs.dance career opportunities

So, What Other Dance Career Opportunities Can I Do?

Here is a list of jobs that you could do, and you will enjoy as a lover of the arts, and a trained dancer.

  • Dance Teacher or Mistress in a company.
  • Swing – A person who understudies several roles in an ensemble.
  • Armourer – Maintains all the props and prop weapons.
  • Chaperone – Looking after child actors in a show.
  • Dance Captain – Oversea the dancers and maintain the choreography.
  • Choreographer
  • Dresser – Helps the performers with costume changes.
  • Fight Director – choreographs stage fights.
  • Flyperson – operates scenery from high above the stage.
  • Prompter – Follows the text and reminds the actors of any lines they forget.
  • Rigger – In charge of hanging scenery.
  • Benish Notator – Writes out the dance choreography in Benish Notation.
  • Costume Manager
  • Costume Designer
  • Stage Manager
  • Company Manager
  • Production Manager
  • Dancing or choreographing on a ship.
  • Pianist – If you can play the piano, dance schools are always looking for good pianists.