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.
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.
Speaking 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 —–.
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
Christmas Dance – Lisa Harris
The ultimate CD for ballet classes during the holidays. I use it every year.
Christmas Music for Ballet Class – Lynn Stanford
I grew up with this one, maybe you did too!
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.
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.
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!
In 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 Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.