Thursday, October 25, 2012

October Blog Challenge: Fall Class Ideas

Happy Fall!

For me, fall means changing leaves, shorter days and Halloween!
Grab this baby for your blog!

What does fall mean to you and your dance classes?

October's Blog Challenge Mission: 

Last month's challenge was to share an inspiring video.

For October, your mission is to share an idea for a fall dance class.   

It can be about leaves, pumpkins, Halloween, apples - your choice!  If you're a student, tell us how or if your studio has any fall traditions that you enjoy.  If you're a teacher - how do you incorporate the changing season into your classes?

How to Participate: 

1) If you have a blog, share or link to your fall post (it doesn't have to be a new post, since I'm a little late in getting the challenge up this month).

2) Then make sure you leave a comment with a link to you post so we can all read it!

Don't have a blog? No problem! You can participate by leaving a comment below, tweeting @thedancebuzz or posting to our Facebook wall with your Fall dance class idea!

Can't wait to see all the good fall traditions :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dance Deals: Wooden Nutcracker Ornament

Spotted this deal and wanted to share (full disclosure: I'm not getting paid for this, just sharing the good deal!):
Cute little wooden Nutcrackers!

DollarTree - Nutcracker Ornaments, 2 for $1

You have to buy a case of 48 units (so 96 ornaments), but if anyone has lots of little ones, might make a good gift for a good price!

They are 5" tall, which is a pretty decent size.


In other news, yuck, I can't believe I posted about Christmas ornaments in October.  Shame on me!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Eric Hutchinson - The Basement

Obsessed with this song and there's a pretty great video that goes with it.

Happy Weekend!

Grab it on iTunes: The Basement by Eric Hutchinson The Basement - Moving Up Living Down

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pumpkin Creative Movement

PumpkinsI read Maria's great pumpkin patch creative movement idea and was inspired to try it in my classes this past week!  And check out this post at Maria's Movers for even more ideas.

I teach two ages of creative movement - 4's & 5's and an older group of pre-modern students (ages 8-11).  Both loved the new activity!

The 4's & 5's

Growing Pumpkins

First we had a quick discussion about pumpkins:

  • What shape and color are they? 
  • Where do they come from?
  • How they grow?
  • Can we eat them?  
  • What's inside a pumpkin?
We planted ourselves in the room and grew very, very slowly.  My assistants pretended to be farmers and people going pumpkin-picking and they inspected each pumpkin.

Our pumpkins rolled around the room for a bit and then we started over.  This time, the pumpkins were painted with happy, silly or scary faces.  They had fun making faces while they were pumpkins.

A Sea of Pumpkins...


Next we changed roles and went pumpkin picking.  My studio is in a suburban area surrounded by farms, so many of the students were familiar with the idea of pumpkin picking. Our movements:
  • Tip toe through the rows
  • Jumping over pumpkins
  • We picked out our favorite pumpkins and brought them to the middle of the room to make a pumpkin pile
  • We repeated to find the heaviest, the tiniest, the fattest and the roundest pumpkins and carried, lifted, rolled, and pushed them into our pile
I also asked them what else they might see in a pumpkin patch and we saw:
  • Crows that flew, perched and caw'ed
  • Grass and corn that stood tall and waved in the wind
  • Creepy crawly bugs and worms
  • Scarecrows that stood very still and had stiff arms and legs
  • hayride that we all got on together and rode around the room to finish our exercise!
Pumpkin Carving Party

Ages 8-11: Beginning Modern / Creative Movement

I used these exercises as a warm-up.  It was a nice change for them and they seemed to enjoy it:

Growing Pumpkins

Surprisingly enough, we started the same way, but with less instruction.
  • Slow growing from a seed to long twisty and stretch vines that covered the floor (focus on moving slowly and stretching our bodies)
  • Growing big leaves and even a few flowers (continue stretching)
  • Growing a pumpkin (making a round shape)
  • Rolling around as a pumpkin1
  • Being carved to have a funny, silly, happy or scary face (some used just their faces, others used their whole body)
  • Being left out on the porch too long and rotting!
1 We have been learning rolls where we hold our ankles in the butterfly position (my modern instructor at college called these "UFO's"... not sure of the 'correct term').


I tried to incorporate our modern dance vocabulary into our movements:

1) Prancing: We didn't want to get our shoes muddy, so we pranced through the rows (and hopped over pumpkins in our path).

2) Triplets:  We put boots on and squished the mud with our up-up-squish (down).

Pepitas (Toasted Pumpkin Seeds) 3of3We chose pumpkins and explored how it was like to move with our pumpkins (we are currently exploring weighted-movement, so this fit in perfectly).

We repeated this a few times with various sizes,  various ways to carry our pumpkins and then we found the Biggest Pumpkin Ever and tried to move it but it wouldn't budge.

Pumpkin Carving

We decided to carve the Biggest Pumpkin Ever right there!  We cut the top off and climbed inside (it truly was a big pumpkin!).  Other movement ideas:
  • Scooping out the seeds and "gross stuff", as my students put it
  • We had a little food fight by throwing the seed chunks as each other
  • We scraped around the inside, which was great spiraling movement
  • Climbing back out, we carved a large face in our pumpkin
  • Climbing back in, we pushed hard on the face parts to "pop" them out
  • Lighting a candle or light inside the pumpkin
Want even more pumpkin dance ideas? Check out Maria's latest post with three more pumpkin movement ideas.

Have you done any fall-inspired activites with your classes?

Share in the comments!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

SOBuzz: Employee or Independent Contractor?

If you're a Studio Owner (SO) or a teacher, there comes a time when you must decide: are you an employee or an independent contractor?

dance class

In most cases of studio owners I've encountered, your teachers are considered employees, not independent contractors.

However, the business of dance studios is a very diverse group when it comes to schedules and employee structures.  One studio could be run like a fitness club with changing instructors and schedules, another could run year-round.  Between these extremes exist a multitude of other possibilities.

And the consequence of choosing incorrectly can be costly.  If you pay your employee as an independent contractor when they should be an employee, you and your teacher could owe back taxes and employment taxes, complete with interest and penalties!

Quick aside:  The rules I will be discussing will apply to the United States.  If you're outside the U.S., consult with an accountant or lawyer for the laws governing your business.

Employee or Independent Contractor?

It all comes down to how much control the SO has over the employee.

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