Space-Capades Across the Stage
If you’re like us, you’ve recently shifted focus in dance class (and outside class) to recital prep. Choreography, staging, props, tickets, schedules, and so (so!) much more…the list is nearly endless! It’s hard to believe we only have a little over 3 months until our studio’s year-end show 😳!
One important thing we emphasize even more in class this time of year is stage directions. Dancers of all ages need to know the difference between up stage/down stage and stage left/stage right, so we like to start early! Every little thing that can build confidence for less experienced dancers once they are dancing in front of an audience rather than a mirror makes a big difference, especially knowing which side of the stage to enter and exit from.
And of course, since we like to #makedancefun, we also have a fun, simple way of helping drill stage directions to our preschool and early elementary school-aged dancers with a fun activity we call Space-Capades Across the Stage! It’s an outer space theme that has your dancers zooming across the stage in all directions!
We start by telling the dancers they are astronauts guiding their spaceship across the stage. Center stage is their launch pad. If you want to be extra fancy, you can mark it off with tape, a hula hoop or even use a fun spaceship if you have one handy!
As the teacher, you explain to the dancers that you are “ground control” and will call out orders to navigate the directions the “astronauts” will travel. Before blast off, you can quickly review the four stage directions. Once you yell “blast off!,” you can then begin calling out a dance step with a stage direction. To keep the dancers on their toes, they will only have 4 counts for each action before you change to the next action (you can add more time for your youngest classes when needed, or start with more time at the beginning then make it go faster as you move through the activity).
For example, you would yell “Skip down stage!” (4 counts), “Scoot up stage!” (4 counts), “Bourrée toward stage left!” (4 counts), “Chassé toward stage right!” (4 counts), “Leap to center stage!” (rest at the launch pad).
You can mix up the order and change up the traveling steps each time. You can even do a super speed round to challenge their reflexes and coordination later in the activity. By the end of this exercise, they will be giggling and having lots of fun, but they also will have their stage directions committed to memory!
There are lots of fun space-related songs you can use during this activity (played at a lower volume so dancers can hear your instructions). Here are just a few suggestions of songs we like: Cosmic Thing by B-52s, Space Unicorn by Parry Gripp, Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys, the Jetsons theme song, Space Jam theme song and anything Star Wars!
Have fun with this simple dance drill! You might just make life a little easier for some dancers when they debut on the stage later this year!
And if you love the outer space element of this activity, check out Camp Confetti Summer Dance FunPacks: #dancecampREMIX Out of This World!