Bringing Christmas into the Dance Studio
Nicole Decsey on bringing some Christmas joy to the dance studio this year.
Whether we are in the studio or on zoom, this year more than ever it’s important to bring some Holiday cheer to our students. I have been teaching dance for seven years now and I have found that there are many ways to bring a little Christmas spirit into your classroom. What I am about to share is not top secret but may help to lift a few spirits this holiday season. There are so many possibilities out there. Let’s get creative!
Holiday games are a great way to get students excited about the season! With COVID restrictions, some games may not be possible to play right now or may be too hard to adapt to the new studio environment. However, there are many games that can be done without winding up on the naughty list.
1. Bucket drumming charades: tapping or using your hands on your knees to beat out the rhythm of a Christmas song. The rest of the class has to guess that Christmas tune!
2. Elf on the shelf freeze game: I don’t know what else to call this one. Essentially you go through the entire class playing this game. At any random time during the class you as the teacher can yell or casually say: ELF ON THE SHELF! And every student has to hit an elf pose. The last student to hit a pose has to do a dance exercise. It can be anything you have been working on in class, for example: the splits, a retiré balance, a shoulder roll, the sky is the limit.
3. Christmas wax museum: This one is pretty self-explanatory, except I like to do it with a little twist. Give the students a scene that they are acting out like an exhibit in a gallery. For example, the student who is IT can be Santa and the rest of the students can be children the night before Christmas or reindeer or elves. For the entire game the students have to be those characters. You can even let your students come up with their own Christmas scenes!
It is never too early to start playing Christmas music! And adding some Michael Bublé to your playlist is the perfect way to start getting your students excited about Christmas without changing your class plan. You can even take requests. Here are a few of my top Christmas songs and albums:
1. Everyday is Christmas – Sia’s Christmas album
2. Holiday Wishes – Idina Menzel’s Christmas album (all of her Christmas songs are amazing!)
3. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas – Gayle Peevey
4. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! – Frank Sinatra (Frank Sinatra is a classic for all seasons)
5. All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey
… I could go on
In the past, I am sure every teacher has allowed their students to make up Christmas dances. This year it will be a little harder to allow students to work in groups while social distancing, so why not start creating your own Christmas combos? Once a week, teach a new Christmas dance to your students. They should be fun and maybe even a little silly, because let’s face it sometimes the best part about Christmas is being a little silly!
This year you might not be able to hand out candy canes or decorate your studios as festively as usual, but you can definitely decorate yourself! Instead of Halloween costumes it’s time to create some Christmas costumes! Here are just a few ideas, I am sure you can come up with more…
1. Christmas earrings: Last year, I had a different pair of Christmas earrings every week starting in December. And as we got closer and closer to Christmas break, the earrings became increasingly more extravagant. This had the students excited every week to see what earrings I would be wearing next. And there was a slight sense of anticipation for what I would be wearing for the final week.
2. Elf hats and Santa hats: accessories like this are always fun because they stand out, make a statement and are easy to do. If you choose to wear an elf hat, you can even get creative with elf on the shelf games and ideas. Christmas is moving with the times and we should too.
3. Wear Christmas colours: it is amazing what some bright red and green colours can do. Especially when your usual teaching attire is black on black.
Ugly Christmas Sweater Day
I could have easily added an ugly Christmas sweater to the accessory list, but wouldn’t it be so much better to select a day where all of your students come wearing their ugliest Christmas sweaters? You can even have a contest to see whose is the ugliest.
The great thing about ugly Christmas sweaters is they are easy to dance in and they work for any family budget. Let your students know that if they don’t have an ugly Christmas sweater, they can make one. Tell them to take one of their baggiest sweaters and tape paper snowflakes and snowmen all over it. This gives your students the opportunity to use their artistry outside of the studio.
Ballet Dancer Ugly Christmas Sweaters are available from Teespring – order here
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and we could all use a little Christmas magic.