4 Children's Books About Dance Your Kids Will Love

For the animal lover: Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae with illustrations by Guy Parker-Rees; 32 pages; Cartwheel Books Before he can confidently make his way to the dance floor of the Jungle Dance, Gerald the giraffe needs encouragement—and musical accompaniment, it turns out—from a friendly cricket. Preschoolers will love the rhyming text!



For the brothers in the studio lobby: Max by Rachel Isadora; 32 pages; Aladdin This dance book for elementary-age kids has an unusual protagonist: Max, a baseball fan who joins his sister’s dance class one Saturday morning on a whim. Don’t be surprised if the brothers of your female students sidle up to hear you read this one.



For the anti-tutu dancer: Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace with illustrations by LeUyen Pham; 40 pages; Disney-Hyperion Ballet newbie Vampirina finds she has a few extra dance challenges as a vampire: She can only take night class; the mirror doesn’t show her reflection; sometimes she turns into a bat. Young dancers who aren’t into the frilly side of ballet will love Vampirina’s pluckiness.



For the older student: A Young Dancer: The Life of an Ailey Student by Valerie Gladstone with photos by Jose Ivey; 48 pages; Henry Holt and Co. Your more serious preteen students will identify with 13-year-old Iman Bright, a dancer at The Ailey School in New York City, who must balance her dance training with academics and violin lessons. Ivey’s photographs offer rich detail, too.




Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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Teaching Tips
Justin Boccitto teaches a hybrid class. Photo courtesy Boccitto

Just as teachers were getting comfortable with teaching virtual classes, many studios are adding an extra challenge into the mix: in-person students learning alongside virtual students. Such hybrid classes are meant to keep class sizes down and to give students options to take class however they're comfortable.

But dividing your attention between virtual students and masked and socially distant in-person students—and giving them each a class that meets their needs—is no easy feat.

Dance Teacher asked four teachers what they've learned so far.

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Teachers Trending
All photos by Ryan Heffington

"Annnnnnnd—we're back!"

Ryan Heffington is kneeling in front of his iPhone, looking directly into the camera, smiling behind his bushy mustache. He's in his house in the desert near Joshua Tree, California, phone propped on the floor so it stays steady, his bright shorty shorts, tank top and multiple necklaces in full view. Music is already playing—imagine you're at a club—and soon he's swaying and bouncing from side to side, the beat infusing his bones.

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