It is the last week of Term. The yawns in class seem to be more frequent than ever. A busy term it has been too. Tears also appear regularly at this time. Everyone is tired. The heat that seems to never go away, does not help.
Dancers are busy little people, some not only dance, but have swimming lessons, soccer, netball and music classes as well. By week 8 in the term, little people are tired
and just need a holiday. So do some Teachers. This is a difficult time to keep the students motivated until the last day of term. Some days, it is just too hard and we find some dance games that will help them have fun and learn something in class.
Tired little people will often not want to come to dance. They are emotional and want to go home, curl up and go to sleep. Wouldn’t we all some days? It is not easy to leave a crying dancer at the dance studio. This is not unusual and teachers are quite good at getting the tears to stop. Most of the time, when their Parents come to pick them up, they have a happier outlook and have had fun. They are glad they came to dance. This teaches them, that no matter what, they have to come to class and it won’t be so bad if they do.
By this time in the first term, students have been busy learning lots of new exercises and steps for their new level of dance. Their brains are full of new words and movements. The rest of the year will be spent improving and working on all these new things. It is time to have a little fun.
Young Dancers love to make up their own dances. Older dancers, not so much in class. I will give them a small list of new steps they have learnt, that they have to put into their dancers and then they go with a partner and come up with their own dance together. It is amazing how great some imaginations are. Sometimes we see 3 minutes of skipping around the room, other times it is an elaborate mixture of steps from their level and steps they have seen more experienced dancers perform. Every now and then we see an interesting addition, like a cartwheel in a ballet dance!
Improv is another great game we like at the end of class. Put on a piece of music and let them just dance. Sometimes we have instructions, like you can only use your arms or you have to make circles. The students can be quite amazing. Older students aren’t quite as keen to improv. They feel a little self-conscious I think. But the person who is standing still, while everyone else is grooving along to the music, is the one who looks a little silly. You have to let go and have fun with it. Little dancers are great at this. They just do whatever they feel like doing.
Another thing I like to do at this time in the term, is to let the students teach each other. We choose a partner and maybe stand in front of the mirror. One of the partners do a step, eg a saute (a jump), while the other watches on. The watcher then gives the doer a correction, something they can do to make the step better. They have to make sure they are being helpful and do it nicely. After listening to their Teacher tell them all term what they need to do, it makes a nice change to hear a fellow student say it. Sometimes, they even listen.
This is also a great way for the students to reinforce all those things they have heard during the term. Point your toes, keep your back up straight, turn-out your legs etc. Hopefully, even though they are a little tired, it may help to make it sink in, even just a little.
Theory games are also a great idea when you have a class who has nearly swallowed the furniture from yawning all lesson. I have cards with the ballet terms on them and other cards with the meaning. We play games where they have to match the word and it’s meaning. These are fun games that help learn their theory.
Enjoy the last part of the term of dance. If your dancer is tired, they will be fine at dance. We will have a little bit of fun, while counting down to the holidays. Let your little dancer have a rest if they need over the break, so they are all ready to go when they get back to dance. So much more to do and so much more dancing to enjoy.