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.

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"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

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Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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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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