A Head Start On The Holidays

With each year it seems department stores kick off the shopping season earlier and earlier. It’s Halloween weekend and Thanksgiving’s a month away! And now you’re thinking, “Oh no, not Dance Advantage too!”

BUT, with so much going on around the holidays – informal parent observations, formal performances, not to mention all your shopping, cooking, traveling, and other family obligations – it is important to think ahead.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to think too hard! With the choreography, music, and class ideas below I hope to lighten your load a little so that you can focus on more important things this time of year.

IMAGE A garland of holly IMAGE

Ready-made Holiday Choreography

Downloadable holiday routines are available at DancesToGo.com. Three of them are my choreography:

A Little Angel - Parents will appreciate this silly holiday number for young children, age 3-5. It does feature Santa and mentions prayer in the lyrics, but is mostly about all of the naughty stuff little ones TRY to resist in anticipation of Christmas. It’s fantastically fun with plenty of repetition.

The Little Christmas Tree – This touching and elegant number for 5-8 year-olds could be used for holiday celebrations or informal performances. It works best for classes which can be split evenly into two groups as the dance features two roles, Christmas Trees and Angels. The suggested accompaniment is One Little Christmas Tree by Stevie Wonder.

The Christmas Tree Rock – Set to a Beatles-esque version of Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree, this jazz/rock routine could work for kids between the ages of 8 and 13, maybe older. It depends on the students. The steps are not at all difficult and could easily be adapted. What keeps this one interesting are changing formations in space.

Click here to download one or more of these routines.
You’ll also find a few more Nutcracker-related routines at Liz Calabria’s choreographer page.

IMAGE Computer drawing of a nutcracker. IMAGESpeaking of The Nutcracker…

We’ve got a cracking list of nutty tracks (all unique variations of music from The Nutcracker) in Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, With a Twist.

Plus, Stacey Pepper Schwartz’s post on exploring the themes and characters of The Nutcracker with young dancers.

And for fun only, I think you’ll enjoy The Nutcracker at its Corps with backstage (mouse) tails tales from Houston Ballet corps member, Madison Morris.

Nixing The Nutcracker

There’s a lot more to the holidays than The Nutcracker. As a guest on Maria’s Movers last year, I contributed some holiday activities just right for young dancers. It includes one of my favorites for any time of year, The Toymaker, plus ideas for exploring Icicle Land and Snowflake Land, and meeting and parting to the song Snowman from The Barenaked Ladies’ holiday album –Snowman - Barenaked for the Holidays–.

What’s meeting and parting? A way to start exploring relationship in space and to introduce contact in improvisation. It goes a little something like this:

“Dancers, I want you to dance through space (free/as they wish, or directed with suggestions from you). When I make this sound on the drum (*or by the time I count to three, or when you hear ___ in the music), find another dancer. You may connect to each other or just dance near each other in self space. When you’re ready, dance away and find a new partner when I *make the sound again.” Depending on the experience level of the dancers you may or may not need to give them ideas for how to dance together. For example, dance with your palms connected, or on a low level, or slowly and smoothly.

Read up on the other holiday movement activities at Maria’s Movers:

Nutcrackers Not Included: Holiday Activities For Preschool or Creative Dance Class

More Holiday Music Favorites

IMAGE Christmas Dance by Lisa Harris on Amazon IMAGE
Christmas Dance – Lisa Harris

The ultimate CD for ballet classes during the holidays. I use it every year.

 

Christmas Dance - Lisa Harris

Christmas Music for Ballet Class – Lynn Stanford

I grew up with this one, maybe you did too!

IMAGE Lynn Stanford - Christmas Music for Ballet Class on Amazon IMAGE

Buy on Amazon via DanceClassMusic.com or get it direct

Holiday Remix

Holiday classics remixed. A favorite of mine is Dean Martin’s Jingle Bells.

Glee the Christmas Album

Your jazz, hip hop, and musical theatre dancers will love Last Christmas, Jingle Bells, Deck the Rooftop, and We Need a Little Christmas.

NOW (That’s What I Call Christmas) Vol. 4

Released last year, there’s a wide variety of original, updated classics, and old favorites on this double disc set. A great choice for those who don’t have the previous volumes as there are repeats released in this volume on Disc 2.

NOW (That's What I Call Christmas), Vol. 4 - Various Artists

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Vince Guaraldi’s Trio delivers jazz classics that I love to use for creative dance classes. There are no lyrics to get in the way of imaginations and discovery – ice skating on a frozen pond or trodding through the snow or dashing down the hill on a sled.

Chanukah Fever

These silly songs will make your young dancers wiggle and laugh. They are age-appropriate and a fun way to include this winter holiday in your studio celebrations.

Gift Ideas Galore!

Shop the DA StoreIn need of a gift? We’ve shared some unique dance gifts for teachers and dancers over the years.

And you’ll find more great ideas in our product reviews and dance library articles.

Check out our Directory and DA Store, too – with plenty of books, music, & DVD suggestions, not to mention a few fashionable DA exclusives.

Do you have favorites to share?

Exercises or activities you love?

We welcome your additions in the comments!

Nichelle (admin)
Nichelle Suzanne began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. Nichelle holds a BA in dance and is an instructor with more than 17 years experience. She covers dance performance in the Houston area as a freelance writer and balances daily life as a mom to two young children. In June 2012, Nichelle presented the whats, hows, and whys of blogging on a panel at the annual conference for Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, to better equip artists and companies for engaging their audience and new readers through online communications and content.
Nichelle (admin)
Nichelle (admin)
Nichelle (admin)

Comments

  1. Christine Levenson says:

    Thank you!

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