Teaching Tips

5 Unconventional Class Activities You Should Try This Month


Sometimes dance class can get a little (or a lot) predictable, and your students need something that will spice things up.

For times like these, here are some unconventional class activities your kids will love.

Check 'em out 👇 and in the comments share fun and different class activities you like to do!

1. Play holiday music

This is an easy classic. Play music in class that matches the holiday you celebrate that month. For example, next month is Halloween, so you should go crazy with some spooky Spotify playlists.

Your kids will think it's super-fun and love you for helping them get into the spirit.

2. Run your numbers to the wrong music

This is a fun teaching exercise that will help your students explore new movement and break out of their shells. If your contemporary routine is set to a Son Lux song, make them do it to a Beyoncé song instead. Trust us. It's a great idea.

3. Go outside

Take class outside, and have your dancers practice movement in a nearby park. Encourage them to be inspired by the sounds and textures around them. Help them experience something beyond the traditional mirror and marley mold.

4. Have parents join class

Ask parents to participate in class one day. They'll get to see what your students are working on, and your kids can have a laugh as their dads and moms try to do a grand jeté. Honestly, this idea is brilliant, and if you don't try it, we will be disappointed.

5. Make a music video of your class combo

Film your dancers doing a combo as if it were a music video. Pan around the room, get close-ups of students' faces, and show off your dancers' strengths. This will give your students camera experience and give them something to show their friends and family when they leave.

Teacher Voices
Photo courtesy Rhee Gold Company

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?

How could that be, you ask?

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Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

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Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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