Why Use A Dance Daze Dance Board?

As you may know, when the world first began changing at the beginning of Covid-19 hitting, I immediately began creating something every day. Part of this creation included me regularly recording educational dance videos outdoors in my front yard, both for children and for adults.

This regular activity of creating outdoor dance videos of taking action in an unprecedented time helped me in the following ways:

  • Gave me regularity, stability, and a sense of control during a time when everything was spinning out of control;
  • Gave me a feeling of responsibility, which is highly motivating for me;
  • Provided me with a sacred time where I could tune out the rest of the world and focus only on what I was creating, whether that was Instagram Lives, short dance videos for content marketing, or longer instructional videos for my free classes for adults at online.dancedaze.org;
  • Allowed me to experiment, express, and re-discover myself as an artist and as a creative person.

With all of these positive benefits that I experienced, listed above, I am happy that my partner offered to build me my own dance board so that I could continue my practice, experimentation, play, and creation. The sprung dance floor he originally made for me quickly evolved (because, I am an entrepreneur after all) into the Dance Daze Dance Board™.

Here are some of the reasons I believe the Dance Daze Dance Board™ can be useful to you if you are an adult dancer practicing at home or the parent of a child who is studying dance:

  1. The Dance Daze Dance Board™ might be safer than the surface on which you/your child is currently dancing at home. Dance Daze Dance Boards™ are made by hand with solid wood and a thin rubber bottom, which makes it skid resistant. The wooden surface is also better for dancing on than a carpeted floor, no matter the style of dance.
  2. When paired with a portable ballet barre from Amazon (linked my influencer shop!) and perhaps some mirrors from Target, you can use the Dance Daze Dance Board™ to create a mini home dance studio for yourself or your child.
  3. The Dance Daze Dance Board™ gives great sound for tap dance and absorbs some shock in the way that it is semi-sprung (with a very thin rubber bottom layer).

If you’re interested in purchasing a Dance Daze Dance Board™ for yourself or for your child, you can grab one from DanceDazeDanceBoards.com!

Move Your Body — Indoors or Outdoors!

For the past several months, I have enjoyed dancing outside in various spaces! While my personal journey of dancing outdoors began because of COVID-19 and wanting to find new and safe ways to dance and to create dance education content for others, dancing outdoors is something I want to continue doing!

While dancing inside of a studio is great, I enjoy dancing outside because it makes me feel excited in a different way! I feel braver, less critical of my technique, and more aware of my breathing when I’m dancing outside.

What about you? Does dancing outside give you a different experience than dancing inside of a studio or other indoor dance space? Which do you prefer?

In the Dance Daze Fall Activity Book, children are invited to answer the above questions and more! This seasonal activity book includes some foundational information about the elements of dance, writing activities, and several coloring pages. This activity book is included in membership for members of the Dance Daze Online program, and it is also available for purchase for non-members! Check it out here: https://online.dancedaze.org/dance-daze-fall-activity-book

Happy dancing!

What Are Students Learning in a Dance Daze® Creative Movement Class?

Saumirah McWoodson, dance educator, researcher, podcaster, blogger, former classroom teacher, and the founder of Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze in Schools, has been developing the Dance Daze® Creative Movement curriculum for over 10 years. Often the most popular studio-based class that is offered by Dance Daze, Inc. in each seasonal session, this class is a great introduction to dance for children between the ages of 2 and 4 years who are ready for a structured, high-energy experience and to move and grove while their parents watch from the sidelines. (For children who prefer dancing with their parents, we recommend Dance Daze® Dance With Me.)

In this class, students are introduced to the basics of dance composition and movement analysis, expression through movement, identifying shared and personal space, and so much more. We use fun, colorful props in every single Dance Daze® Creative Movement class, which we believe ads to the understanding and gives a deeper opportunity for exploration during that portion of the class.

We are active in this class, and we try to keep students moving as much as possible with very little downtime, as we discover different rhythms and develop our love for movement while listening to music from different time periods and from various cultures and genres.

If you think your child would have a blast in a Dance Daze® Creative Movement, sign them up today at DanceDaze.org.

Dance Classroom Management: Be Seen Looking

Hey everyone!

It seems that I took an unplanned break from blogging to focus on some other areas of my dance business! But, now I’m back with new ideas and newly inspired, ready to start writing here again.

A little earlier this evening, I was reading about teaching preschool dance classes, and the author recommended that we dance teachers use some behavioral management methods that I will talk about in further detail later–positive behavioral narration and specific public praise.

Behavioral narration and public praise are two techniques I absolutely love using to help manage my dance classroom. However, as I was considering these two methods, I couldn’t help but backward mapping and considering what newer dance teachers might have to do before feeling comfortable enough to use either of those tools.

I know that finding one’s “teacher voice” (and yes, dance teachers have a “teacher voice” also) can be difficult and take years to understand and develop. This made me think about all of the non-verbal cues that I’ve learned to use in my dance classroom space over the years, whether I’m teaching dance for my studio-based dance classes or for my dance programs in schools.

One simple, effective strategies I use is called “Be Seen Looking.” It is one of the short phrases that was drilled into my head (thankfully) during my intensive classroom teacher residency program. It is a tool I continue to use today to manage my dance classroom.

In Teach Like A Champion 2.0, Be Seen Looking is listed as High Behavioral Expectation Technique #51. This technique is described as a way to, “prevent nonproductive behavior by developing your ability to see it when it happens and by subtly reminding students that you are looking” (p. 387).

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When I was taught this technique, I remember being encouraged to do it overtly and with a flair of drama (which is typically my student when teaching). For example, in the dance classroom, after giving a clear direction or explanation such as, “I’ll know everyone is ready when you are all standing with your feet in first position and your arms in low fifth position (or en bas),” I might lift my chin just a little and simply wait, while checking the position of each student’s feet and arms.

I think this is a powerful technique for many reasons:

  1. It is quiet and doesn’t distract from your lesson.
  2. It gives the dance teacher an opportunity to develop their teacher presence and non-verbal teacher “voice”.
  3. It reminds the students that you care about what they’re doing during class time.
  4. It lets students know that they should be vigilant about listening to directions during class.
  5. It’s easy to remember and simple to implement.

The Be Seen Looking technique is part of a cycle that works to get 100% of students’ attention 100% of the time. Page 387 of Teach Like A Champion 2.0 states:

“Great teachers ensure that they have 100 percent of students with them for the teaching and learning; their expectation is 100 percent of students, 100 percent of the time, 100 percent of the way. Great classroom managers generally step in to address distractions earlier than other teachers, allowing their interventions to be almost imperceptible. The recipe implicit in their success is simple and powerful: catch it early and fix it noninvasively, without breaking the thread of instruction.”

That is my Management Monday tip for today, folks!

What techniques are you using or encouraging teachers at your studio to use manage student behavior and maintain atmospheres that are focused on learning in an engaging and artistic environment? Let me know in the comments!

The Perfect Playlist

It is my personal belief that the music of a dance class can completely make or break the class. Anyone who has ever taught classes for me knows that I place a huge emphasis on choosing the best music for the class they’re teaching. I believe that the music chosen for a dance class should fit the style of the instructor, be chosen with the students in mind, have appropriate lyrics (or be instrumental or beats only!), fit with the actual moves/steps/combinations/technique that will be taught in class, be enjoyable for parents or any community observers, and generally aid in creating the desired atmosphere that the instructors wants to create for that specific class.

I have found that if I choose my music wisely, my lesson plan nearly writes itself. I will talk about that more soon in some projects that I am working on, but I really believe that’s true! (Anyone else choose the music before deciding what your students are actually going to do in class?)

With these thoughts in mind, I’ve decided to focus on music in The Happy Dance Blog this week! I’m kicking it off with my Perfect Playlist Formula, which you can remember with the letters H-A-P-P-Y!

Be sure to head over to DanceEdStartup.com and grab this week’s blog FREEBIE!