Do you have a special way you begin every dance class? Maybe a greeting, a hello song, or a specific warm-up that you do?
Rituals can provide kids a sense of security and comfort, making dance class feel like a safe and predictable place.
Wrapping up your class with a special ritual can be just as beneficial. Your end-of-class tradition can give your dancers an opportunity to reflect on the work they did in class that day, build confidence and self-esteem, and promote kindness and compassion for themselves as well as their classmates and teachers.
But, let's face it -- dance class can be hectic! You only have your dancers for a short period of time each week, and you have to usher one group of kids out of the room, while welcoming the next batch in right away. So, what to do?
Try these easy-and-quick-to implement tips, for creating your own class-ending rituals in UNDER 30 SECONDS!
CLAP FOR THE CLASS, PAT ON THE BACK
If a curtsy or bow at the end of class is not your cup of tea --- it is not mine -- then try this alternative! In under 30 seconds, you can reinforce dance class manners, as well as kindness towards oneself and others!
Chant aloud together:
CLAP FOR THE CLASS! (everyone claps)
PAT ON THE BACK! (pat yourself on the back)
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU (point to each other)
(Click here to see a video of this ritual in action)
I will use this quick ending for my preschool age dancers as well as for my young elementary age students.
For tap classes ages 8 & up, I employ what I call the "tap clap" method -- in a a variety of ways! Gather in a circle at the end of class, and do any of the following --
HANDS IN THE MIDDLE
Gather in a circle at the end of class, and ask everyone to put one hand in the center. You can then give your class a quick positive encouragement or reminder, like "Your hard work today impressed me - I can't wait to see more next week!", and then on the count of the 3, the whole class can shout "Thank You" as you lift your hands up together.
HIGH-FIVE OUT THE DOOR
After your class is finished, you can stand at the exit door, while your dancers gather their belongings. Then, high-five them each on their way out the door, while you both say thank-you to each other. Bonus points if you are able to throw in a "good job on ____ this week!"!
COOL DOWN COMMUNICATION
Although this idea might be too time-intensive for every week, you could do a little circle chat with your students once a month, once a session, or once a semester. As you stretch or cool-down together, you could ask them to share one thing that they liked about class that day (or about what they did/achieved that day) as well as one thing that is on their "wish list" for class in the future (or a goal that they have for themselves).
What we say matters, and what we model for our dancers matters too. I notice that my dancers leave happier and with more smiles when we do a special class ending.....and to me, that is the best reason to do it!
Share your class rituals with me in the comments, and let me know how these work for you!
Is your back-to-dance season in full swing? Or is it just about to begin?
If updating your classroom tools is on your list, then you have come to the right place!
The teacher freebie I have for you today is like that famous quote, "a picture speaks a thousand words" -- but in this case, a picture can save you a thousand extra words and help you reach different kinds of learners!
Ways to Use the Dance Directions Cue Cards
Stop/Go Traveling Game
Have your dancers practice a traveling step across the floor. Just like the game Red Light Green Light, hold up the STOP sign and say "stop" when they should balance in place, and flip to the green GO sign and say "go" when they should move!
Print out extra Stop and Go signs to set up a traveling pathway on your floor. The dancers can start the step or combo at the green GO sign, travel all the way to STOP, and balance for 8 counts before starting again!
Or just use the Stop and Go Cue Card, to help let your dancers know when it is their turn to travel across the floor!
Shhh Emoji/Boombox -- Loud & Quiet Game
These cue cards are perfect for tap class! You can use them with your young dancers as they experiment with making any tap step loud or quiet. When they see the Quiet Emoji, they should make their taps as quiet as possible; when they see you hold up the loud boombox, they should turn up the volume of their taps!
For your older tap dancers, hold up the cue cards to help cue them as to when to use shading and dynamics in their tap choreography.
Popsicle Freeze/Disco Ball Dance -- Classic Freeze Dance
These two cue cards can be used during a classic game of freeze dance! The best part is that for your visual learners, when they see the picture change, it will help them remember to freeze or dance, along with the music. Freeze for the POPSICLE and dance on the DISCO BALL!
Kids can be chatty.....and tapping feet can be loud! The Shhhhh sign will be your go-to this season to kindly remind your dancers that you are waiting for them to stay quiet, to be able to hear your next directions.
Here's to a wonderful new dance season!