Ballet Class Blogging: Sleeping Beauties

Instead of a winter recital, Groove With Me is holding a parent observation and particpation week—POP Week. Parents are invited to watch their daughters' classes the last week before winter break, and they're encouraged to participate during the class. (my POP Week begins December 16.) So unlike most teachers this time of year, I thankfully haven't had my fill of waltzing flowers, marching soldiers or singing snowflakes.

I have begun to plan my spring recital pieces, and other Tchaikovsky music (Sleeping Beauty) has been playing on repeat in my head.

——My Saturday class, ages 5–6, will pas de chat, pas de chat and pas de chat to the "Puss in Boots" section in Act III. The music has an apprehensive feel, and on Saturday, my class loved acting out what I called "sneaky pas de chats." I said, "Pretend you are kittens, sneaking behind furniture to catch a mouse, or around the fishbowl." Needless to say they were adorable.

——Thursday night girls, ages 6–8, will dance to the Silver Fairy music, also from the third act. This piece of music is only 50 seconds long, so I'd like to put another light, brief variation next to it. I know the easiest option would be to pair it with Diamond Fairy music; but I really dislike that tune and I know I'd hate listening to it every Thursday until spring. Any suggestions?


Of course I'm completely modifying all choreography. When I finish teaching a few sections, I'll post it HERE, to


A few weeks ago my Thursday girls requested to play a game they learned in class last year with their previous teacher. It's called, "Wake Up Fairy."

——Everyone lies down on the floor and pretends to be asleep. One girl begins standing, holding a magical fairy wand.

——The girl holding the wand dances around the room, over each sleeping fairy.

——That girl taps a sleeping classmate with the wand to wake her. Pass the wand. 

——The original fairy takes a seat along the wall, and the new fairy with the wand dances around the room, until she feels like tapping the next sleeping classmate.

——Play continues until everyone has awoken and is sitting against the wall. Dancing fairies (and girls against the wall) must be very quiet; everyone else is sleeping!

The girls like the opportunity to dance freely without critique of their peers, and this game is easy to learn, quiet (!) and short. I give "Wake Up Fairy" two thumbs up, but it's definitely for a younger crowd. 



Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

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But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

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