Blog Archives

Fun, games, and dance

Dance classes should be purely dance technique and practice?

Yes and No

It depends on the class – is it a technique based class or exam prep? Is it in the run up to a big event or showcase? Is it the first week back after summer? Do we have a lot of new students? Do we need ideas.

Dance class should always be fun, challenging, but always fun. And most of the time this will come through from the dance itself – the enjoyment of practicing your favourite steps or new routines, or perfecting old ones.

Sometimes though, there is room for change….

Games in class

Introducing games into class may seem a little strange – but we aren’t talking about a round of football or snakes and ladders.

Games can be extremely beneficial to a class in many different ways – so long as they are used appropriately.

Warm ups

Fun ways to warm up for a Freestyle class or a cardio based class – may be a twist on the game or tag or even traveling relays (instead of running try skipping, jetes, leaps, turns). It ensures that the part at the start that gets them ready to move is effective. Boring will result in a lack of effort and then not being warm enough for mobility exercises.

Characters

Getting into character when performing can be hard – so introducing something like charades is a good way to bring shy children out of their shell and get them to use their body and facial expressions to show emotion or ideas.

Acting out things, places, films, also gets them to think about using their body in different ways.

Social

It brings the team together – so many times dance is a solo routine (for exams for example) or you part in a specific piece, where you dance with a set team, time again. Team games brings everyone together in a different activity where dance ability is not key. It allows more experienced dancers to help new members, you become friends with your new team, and encourage and help those who you perhaps don’t normally work with.

Creativity

It frees the mind – playing traveling games or aversion games, charades, makes you thing about movement in new ways to normal in class. Dodging a “tag” may give you ideas on sharp turns, quick movement or use of space. Not talking means you have to use different ways to express ideas and new arm movements or postures may come to mind.

It lets your mind free itself from the constraints of “dance steps” and lets you think outside the box

FUN

It is fun, which is the aim especially for our little ones. They need the time to explore ideas, their bodies, their abilities, to make friends and interact.

Yes there is an element of competiton – but healthy competition, where they strive to be THEIR BEST, not necessarily THE BEST.

 

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Correcting your child

Every class sees so many children trying hard to do their best, sometimes as well as praising them for their hard work and effort, we as teachers will need to correct them and their positioning.

This is not “telling off”, it is not a bad thing!

It is a way to help your child improve, and reach their full dancing potential.

Active Instruction

Active instruction is our main way of helping your child. Negative comments such as “don’t do” aren’t helpful as while they point out the mistake, they don’t offer a solution. We always try to include what to do, and sometimes ignore the don’t part all together.

For example instead of saying “don’t slouch” we’d suggest “reaching the top of the head up towards the ceiling”, or instead of “don’t roll your feet”, to “keep all 5 toes on the floor.”

Oblique instructions

These are to be avoided as they highlight the what but not the how. Our aim is always to offer the solution, just like in active instruction, but as they get older, making references to the body parts and positioning, as with experience a dancer will get to know a lot more about the anatomy.

Accepting criticism

Welcome criticism, tell your children that it is not a bad thing to receive a correction. Firstly, it shows the care the teacher has for the child, that they are paying attention to them and their dancing. Secondly, it will help them progress if they act on it and take on board what they say. It will allow them to improve and get better. And give them something to work on because practicing something incorrectly is the worst thing you can do as practice makes permanent!

7 Reasons I am Lucky to Dance

Today is my Birthday and since it’s lucky number 7th November I thought I’d share with you the 7 reasons I feel lucky to be able to dance.

1. The music

Oh my goodness – how much music is out there! And as a dancer you can try and experience it all – from slow, lyrical to fast passed dance, hip hop to classical, remixes to mash ups. And make it your own – you can interpret it and really feel the rhythm, the music, the life, and the meaning! You can enjoy deep emotional pieces or simply enjoy dancing to some cheesy hits!

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2. Cultures

You can learn so much from dance. Understanding the cultures through national dances or dances that are synonymous with them. Being able to try bhangra or salsa, highland dancing or reggaeton. Seeing how ballet is interpreted in Russia, Spain, the US. It opens your eyes!

3. Emotions

We know that music can cause “feels”, that goosebump moment in a power ballad, or the urge to move as a showstopper reaches the climax. Good, bad, happy, sad, you can interpret this through dance.

4. Challenges

Boy does dance challenge you. You try things that you only dreamed of before and you fall, you get bruised (your body and your ego). But you try, you develop the inner strength to keep going despite it being “hard”. It’s learning never to give up!

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5. Growth

Watching people grow as dancers is one of my favourite things. Experiencing it too is amazing. From being too shy to stand at the front of a class to performing solo’s on stage. From being too unsure to try a tap class to nailing your first timestep. Meeting new friends, embracing competition, success and failure – it’s all in dance!

6. Success

And when the hours of practice pay off – whether it is simply getting that pirouette or the leap, to making it through an audition, or being singled out in class for showing musicality. Successes come in many ways and dance allows us all to achieve – week in week out!

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7. FUN!

Should be number one – but lucky number 7 – IT’S FUN! I LOVE IT. Every aspect of it – all the reasons above, your fellow dancers, your dancing heros, how it keeps you fit and active, how you develop personally, how you can have a bad day turn good by stepping on to the hall or studio floor!

 

Why #dancematters

Why does dance matter?

It is more than just a place to be or a thing to do or watch. There is a reason every culture embraces their own form, there is a reason it’s part of celebrations

Dance Transforms

Stillness to movement, quiet to loud, shy to confident. It changes people, things, and the atmosphere. It can bring emotions to the surface, it can express things that wouldn’t normally be able to be seen. It brings people out of their shell.

It’s contegious

In a good way – you’ve seen the videos of people joining in with street buskers, you feel your feet tap when watching someone dance. Once one person hits the dance floor at a party – then more join in.

It’s playful

As much as it can be a way of sharing serious stories and emotion – it is also playful. It is creative and a fun way to make movement or tell stories. It is playful for preschoolers learning coordination, and playful for the lead performer creating new movement patterns to new music.

It’s a break for the body and the mind

You can switch off the day to day, forget about learning to write or finishing that report. You just let yourself get lost to the music and the movement – the body and the mind switches completely.

We have a deep rooted connection to movement

Before we spoke we moved. We naturally embrace movement, we feel restless when sat still for too long. Dance embraces our desires to move in a beautiful way.

It’s about giving and sharing

Performances, ideas, knowledge, joy. Whether you enjoy watching a ballet, live for your Friday dance class, take over the dance floor at a party, or watch your little one shine on stage. Dance brings joy to all – observer and performer

Dance removes barriers

No words are spoken – it can transcend language. No matter where you come from, people understand dance. It breaks down barriers between cultures, between old and young. It welcomes the shy, the confident, the newbie, and the experienced to share in the fun and creativity – it brings unity.

It’s FUN

Nothing else needed really here!

Is dance just a hobby?

Yes – it can be, it can also be the start of a lifelong love affair or a career in itself.

It also doesn’t need to be decided at the first class. We are just relaunching here at React Dance (October 2016) and so welcome everyone who is interested to come and try our classes. We will be expanding – we have great plans afoot. But we also will always realise that sometime – your child just wants to come along once a week to have some fun, see their friends, dance about and then head home.

Mondays at present are our Dance Clubs – no strict syllabus, no exams, no pressure – yes we will do a termly showcase, but everyone who wants to dance for a class a week is welcome. We will soon be launching our core subject classes (January 2017) with options to do exams with the IDTA, workshops to develop skills, opportunities for additional performances and solos.

But having a fun hobby that is there without too much pressure is important too!

So if you are looking for a welcoming, growing dance school – come along for a trial class, bring a friend – you are all more than welcome. Leanne@reactdance.co.uk