Oh What Fun! Wondrous Wintry Dance Activities
Brrrr…winter is coming, and, with an approaching break from school, ’tis the season for dancers to bound into class with no shortage of festive energy. Yes? To harness that liveliness and capture the attention of their spirited minds, we find that fun winter-themed dance activities are just the trick!
As always, we firmly believe that any games played during class should always keep dance at the forefront, since teaching dance is what we are being paid to do. But, there are so many fun ways to incorporate games into class without losing that focus. Here are a few wondrous wintry dance activities you can use in class to #makedancefun!
In the Meadow, We Can Build A Snowman
Your dancers will all love this fun choreography activity that builds upon itself. A few days before class, cut out snowman shapes from fun colored paper (we used colored foam sheets, foam stickers and glitter paper), including the three large snowballs for the body, a carrot nose, eyes, mouth, top hat, tree limb arms, scarf, buttons and any other accessories you fancy. If you aren’t feeling crafty, you might also find ready made die-cuts in these shapes online or at your local craft store.
Once your shapes are ready, set aside the three large snowballs, then write out several dance steps on all the other shapes (make sure you have enough for at least one per dancer). You can add any dance steps that are in line with the style you are teaching for that class. Also, add a few fun phrases to inspire improv and creative movement, like Graceful Snowflake, Galloping Gingerbread, Giant Snowmiser, Standing Snow Angel, Peppy Penguin, Dancing Sugarplum, Blizzard Boogie, etc. Place all the shapes into a giant black snowman hat.
On the day of class, place the three large snowballs in the form of a snowman on your mirror or wall. Make sure you have tape or gummy glue on hand, as dancers will be placing the shapes on the mirror or wall as they “build” the snowman.
To get started, allow the first dancer to draw a card, read it out loud to the class, then let the dancer place the shape on the mirror or wall in the appropriate spot. Next, if a specific dance step is drawn, the entire class should perform that step together. Anytime one of the fun cards are drawn, that dancer can create the motion for that step (and, depending on the age, you can assist), and the other dancers can follow. When the next dancer draws a card from the top hat, the dancers should first perform the previous dance step, then add the new dance step, building each level of the snowman (think “I’m going on a trip to the moon” style)! Continue building as each dancers draw their step. This exercise will not only engage your dancers, but will also challenge their memory and reinforce basic dance steps through repetition.
By the end of the game, they will see a completely built snowman and know they each played a role in choreographing a fun + fancy winter combo!
Swan-Skating Obstacle Course
As the temperatures drop and the holidays draw closer, this is a great time to bring that snow-filled energy into the classroom by creating a fun winter activity for your younger ballet dancers. White snow + graceful ballet = a beautiful Swan Ice Princess!
Begin by setting the tone with your dancers imagining the dance floor is a sparkly frozen pond and they are a graceful, white swan ice princess. You can use white marabou boas or blue Washi Tape to outline the floor in the shape of a pond. If you don’t have these supplies on hand, no worries! The dancers can pretend the entire floor is their sparkly frozen pond. Any accessories/props you may have in your closet, would be a bonus. White feathers wings, a sparkling crown, feather boa, snowflake magic wands, etc.
There are several ballet steps they can demonstrate that will make them feel like a true Swan Ice Princess. Start by lining the dancers up at the end of the floor and have them take turns gliding onto the icy pond. They can do any or all of the following steps through the frozen pond or around the edge of the pond.
Arabesque: Have them glide on the ice through first position and lift their back leg into an arabesque. This will alternate sides and will make them look and feel as if they are ice skating on the pond. Be sure they are holding their wings (arms) out to the side and their necks are stretched long like a swan. For your older dancers, have them take it a step further and add a saute to the arabesque. You can change the arms if you’d like. Make sure to remind them about passing through first position, stretching that back leg straight in their arabesque and pointing their feet each time they come off the floor.
Port de bras: While they are skating over the pond, you can have them stop, stand in first position and demonstrate their port de bras using their soft and graceful wings. Remember, keeping their neck long and lifted is important.
Grand Jete: Once they’ve completed their turn, they can take flight off the frozen pond and fly back to the end of the line by doing a grand jete over the outlining of the pond (boas, tape or anything you have on hand to jump over).
Swan Improv: While they are skating throughout the icy pond, you can call out different swan actions for them to demonstrate. For example: How would you dance if you were a swan gliding on ice? Floating on water? Fluttering your feathers? Flying through the sky? Laying down to sleep? You’ll be amazed at what the little ones will do when you give them simple guidelines and fun analogies.
BONUS FUN: Find a swan stuffed animal or better yet, a large swan float. Accessorize it with a winter scarf and crown for a super fun photo opportunity for your classes. The dancers and parents will love it!
P.S. You can use this same concept for Jazz, Hip-Hop, Tap, etc.!
For an added boost of festive fun, stay tuned here and on our social feeds for #iceiceconfetti and #slaybellsonthedancefloor combos to use in class!
We hope these wondrous wintry dance activities add a spark of warmth into the upcoming cold months and bring you that much closer to a looooong winter’s nap that we’re certain you deserve!
Stay Warm ~ Cheers!
p.s. Are you in the Confetti Circle yet? Well, you should be! Once you’re IN the Confetti Circle, you’ll be the FIRST to hear exciting new announcements, see our latest blog posts AND… (coming soon!) get fun + fancy free stuff! Just sign up for our fun e-mail list here, and you’ll be in. It’s that easy!