Candyland

Americans spend more than $13 billion a year on chocolate, proving that while we may be trying to be more health conscious, we just can’t resist the sweet stuff. And, with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory out in theaters this summer, now is a great time to take on a candy-themed performance. For your next recital, develop a ballet that takes place in a candy store or soda shop, or dress your older dancers in candy maker outfits and red wigs à la Lucy from “I Love Lucy” and choreograph an adaptation of her infamous candy factory episode. Your students will have fun, and your audience will leave with a sweet aftertaste.

 

Eye Candy

 

  • When it comes to setting your scene, use bright colors to keep a lighthearted, whimsical atmosphere. You can also design the lighting to reflect individual sweets (red and white for peppermint, pink for cotton candy) or holidays (pastels for Easter, orange for Halloween).

  • Visit www.propsunlimited.com to create your own candyland. Here you can order larger-than-life lollipops, candy canes, chocolate bars and peppermints. For backdrop ideas, check out www.backdropsfantastic.com.

  • At the end of the show, have a few of your dancers stand outside the theater holding plastic trick-or-treat pumpkins full of candy to give to audience members as they leave. (Make sure to place garbage cans nearby, so that they have a place to throw away the trash.) You could also have your dancers toss soft candy like Tootsie Rolls or mini-chocolate bars into the audience during the finale—but don’t forget to check with the theater beforehand to make sure you’re allowed to have food in the auditorium.

 

Candy Couture

 

  • Don’t just decorate the stage; dress up your dancers as various candies such as lollipops, chocolate bars or gumdrops. For a less literal look, use costumes with colors and patterns that mimic those found on popular candies: Try unitards covered in spirals and swirls to represent candy canes, or tutus with brown polka dots for chocolate chip cookies.

  • Candy-themed makeup doesn’t have to mean a stage filled with red-and-white–striped peppermint faces. For example, try basic pink lips and cheeks, along with a little glitter. At left, New York City–based makeup artist Mia Sarazen used pink and purple hair extensions and pastel eye makeup to create a sugary sweet look.

 

Candy Rappers

 

Sure, there are lots of candy-inspired melodies out there, but keep in mind that even if a song doesn’t specifically relate to sweets, you can still connect it to your theme. For instance, dress your students like Hershey’s Kisses and play “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)” by Betty Everett (1962) or Cher (1991), or “Kiss” by Prince. Use “Gimme A Break” by the Ritchie Family for a Kit-Kat–styled disco or “Tootsee Roll” by 69 Boyz from the Jock Jams, Volume 1 soundtrack.

  • Many of the best candy-themed songs are golden oldies, such as “I Want Candy” by The Strangeloves and “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies. “Lollipop” by The Chordettes would make a cute number for your beginner tap class.

  • Don’t count out more recent tunes, either. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard could be used for your advanced jazz dancers. “Candy” by Mandy Moore works well for an intermediate group.

  • “Candy Man,” sung by Sammy Davis, Jr. and used in 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, would make a great modern ballet score.
Teachers Trending
All photos by Ryan Heffington

"Annnnnnnd—we're back!"

Ryan Heffington is kneeling in front of his iPhone, looking directly into the camera, smiling behind his bushy mustache. He's in his house in the desert near Joshua Tree, California, phone propped on the floor so it stays steady, his bright shorty shorts, tank top and multiple necklaces in full view. Music is already playing—imagine you're at a club—and soon he's swaying and bouncing from side to side, the beat infusing his bones.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

Keep reading... Show less
News
The author with Maurice Hines. Photo by Anthony R. Phillips, courtesy Hopkins

In March, prior to sheltering in place due to the coronavirus outbreak, my husband and I traveled from New York City to Miami to screen our award-winning documentary, Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back, at the Miami Film Festival.

Our star, Tony Award–nominated dancer and choreographer Maurice Hines joined us in Miami for the festival—stepping and repeating on the opening night red carpet, sharing anecdotes from his illustrious seven-decade career with local tap students, and holding court at a cocktail mixer with lively female fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.