Since before I can remember, I loved to choreograph. I would go over to my aunt’s house and spend hours making up dances in the basement with my cousin Haley. Our brothers always found other things to do until recital time, when they would beg to be included. Of course my mom made me work them in somehow and I got to practice not only my dance moves but my ability to get creative if things didn’t go my way. Dance has always been about more then movement in this way. I owe a lot to my dance teachers but I also owe a lot to being able to explore dance on my own, on my own terms, and I always encourage my students to go home and do the same. How do you get your child to be passionate about choreographing dances at home? Well, we all know we can’t make them do anything, but you can certainly use these tips below to encourage them.
It’s hard to make up a dance when you have no space to move how you want. This is where my aunt’s house came in handy; she had a huge basement. Move some chairs in the living room or some furniture in the basement to create a small “stage.” Make sure you have some sort of music player in the room so the dancing can commence! Bonus points for creating a “back drop” with a large roll of white paper and some crayons.
I really enjoyed choreographing the most when I had a goal in mind (halftime performance, talent show, etc.) or someone to push me to finish. Having my cousin around encouraged me to come up with a full dance, plus it was fun to create with her and see what kinds of movement we could come up with together. Invite some friends or family over that enjoy dancing too (perhaps a fellow Tiny Dancer alum?) and ask them to show you a dance they made up so they can practice for the upcoming recital!
Lets face it, the best part of a dance recital is getting to wear a sparkly costume. I always had a chest full of old dance recital costumes, thrift store finds and things my mom collected here and there. When I was a little older I would come up with full concepts and create costumes to go with the theme (who knew I was practicing for my job at Tiny Dancers?). If you don’t already have a dress up bin they are very easy to create. Old dresses and jewelry that you don’t wear, a stop to a local consignment shop or Goodwill, or simply picking up some scraps of fabric to tie around the body from a fabric store will work.