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 www.dancemedia.com/channels/dance-teacher.

 

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. 

 

 

Teachers Trending
Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
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."

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.