Studio Owners

Ask the Experts: I Need Movement Ideas for Non-Dance Classes


Q: At my school, where I see my students once a week, teachers come to me for advice on an easy way to include more movement in their classes. What do you suggest?

A: In a perfect world, there would be dance for every student. But that's not the world we live in. I recommend to my co-workers. It has videos of all lengths that include guided dancing, yoga, meditation and fitness. There are even curricular tie-ins in areas like nutrition and science. In general, students watch the videos and must copy the movement demonstrated. A free membership gives you plenty to choose from, but there's also a premium edition for $10 a month.

If you're comfortable showing videos from YouTube but don't want to have to search for videos within the site, try some of the "Just Dance Kids" channels others have created. (With these channels, someone else has searched through YouTube looking for videos taken from the dance video game Just Dance.)

If you end up using these videos, I also recommend you try to make the movement creative. Have your students take some of the material they just danced and play with it. They can reorganize three different movements into a short dance, or take it up a notch and change those three moves in some way to make them their own.

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends Seminary in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty at the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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Dancer Diary
Claire, McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

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Mary Mallaney/USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

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