Dance Teachers Trending

This Creative Movement Teacher Knows How to Keep Kids Engaged With Music

"Music is magical," says Black. "It just transforms kids." Photo courtesy of Black

After 31 years of teaching, Kim Black has mastered how to reach young dancers. Between a studio and private school, she teaches 34 classes per week in Burlington, North Carolina: That's 238 kids from ages 2 to 6 years old. "You have to make them fall in love with dance," says Black. The music, she says, cues this engagement.


Every day, Black witnesses how the simple joy of moving paired with music can light up a young child's face, body and overall mood. "I tell parents to look at the kids when they leave class, not when they show up," says Black, noting the transformation of children, who often arrive for class looking tired. "Happy kids with smiling faces is usually what I see."

Artist: Raffi
Album: Rise and Shine
Song: "Five Little Ducks"

"This is a class favorite. I'll pretend my phone is ringing with a duck sound. I'll answer saying, 'Hello, daddy duck,' and pretend to have a conversation about going fishing. All my 'little ducks' line up behind me (mommy duck) and play out the song. It's an oldie, but definitely a goodie that always brings smiles."


Artist: Various
Album: The Classical Child At The Ballet

"I use this music for stretching and skipping, but I also use it to teach my ballerinas about popular ballets. This album covers Coppélia, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Les Sylphides."


Artist: Willy Fisher
Album: Running in a Circle
Song: "Running in a Circle"

"I use this song during the beginning of class to get the wiggles out. It is a wonderful way to work on gross motor skills, such as skipping, hopping and marching."


Artist: Dora the Explorer
Album: Dora The Explorer: Party Favorites

"A lot of children's music for my youngest classes is not upbeat enough for me, but Dora does not disappoint. This album is energetic and fun. I specifically use tracks 2, 13 and 14 for my creative movement classes and for fun in my youngest ballet classes."


Artist: Joan Lather
Album: Ms. Puffie Garden Ballet
Song: "Ballet Seeds"

"Joan Lather has been an inspiration to me since I first took a class from her at a convention 30 years ago. Her music is a teaching tool for teachers, as well as the youngest dancers. Her music has inspired my stories, skits and creativity."


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Courtesy Dance Teacher Web

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The Dance Teacher Web Conference and Expo, happening August 4–7 and founded and directed by longtime successful studio owners and master teachers Steve Sirico and Angela D'Valda Sirico, gives dance teachers and administrators a chance to learn, network and recharge during a one-of-a-kind working vacation. Here, attendees can rub shoulders with esteemed industry professionals, get inspired by a variety of workshops and even walk away with a new certification or two:

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Photo courtesy of Misty Lown

Please join us for a Virtual Town Hall with Misty Lown, owner of More Than Just Great Dancing, an affiliation of 300 studios worldwide, and Youth Protection Advocates in Dance. She's also a dance studio owner of 23 years.

Register here to join the call for Monday, March 30, at 1 pm CST (2 pm, EDT).

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Choreographer Molly Heller with musician Michael Wall. Photo by Duhaime Movement Project

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Q: We always seem to lose the most students after our recitals. How do I prevent post-show fallout?

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With studio closures and shelter-in-place restrictions throughout the country this week due to COVID-19 concerns, dancers are putting creative skills to use in a myriad of new ways with each given day and new scenario. If you are stuck at home, consider a few of these projects that frequently get pushed down our long "to do" lists.

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Dance Teachers Trending
Alicia Graf Mack. Photo by Rachel Papo


American Ballet Theatre principal dancer James Whiteside is doing his best to adjust to life at home during the coronavirus outbreak. Watch below for his insights, and see who among the ballet world's best is teaching online, including DT's January cover star and director of The Juilliard School's Dance Division, Alicia Graf Mack (minute 1:07).


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Nyama McCarthy-Brown leads class. Courtesy of McCarthy-Brown

For the past 20 years, Ohio State University professor Nyama McCarthy-Brown has been advocating for dance pedagogy that embraces students' cultural backgrounds. "When you look at a textbook and all you see is Western-based dances or people moving in ways that point back to a Eurocentric culture, how do you value other cultures?" she asks. "How do we value other cultures when we're not seeing them in every place that we're told is important?"

In her 2017 book Dance Pedagogy for a Diverse World: Culturally Relevant Teaching in Theory, Research and Practice, McCarthy-Brown details her approach, which hinges on researching the cultural backgrounds of the students in the room and teaching with these in mind. Integrating students' cultural practices into dance curriculum, especially in K–12 schools, enables students to be seen and valued, and to have a more positive learning experience.

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Photo courtesy of Damrow

Kristin Damrow is a beloved teaching artist in the San Francisco Bay Area. On average, she teaches 15 hours a week with adults and teens of different levels, plus directs her company Kristin Damrow & Company. She is also a tech-savvy artist who makes vlogs and maximizes social-media posts through Facebook and Instagram to support her teaching and choreographic work. Her dance work is already well-connected via technology.

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