RA Dance Blog, Teaching Tips

General Dance Class Games

We’re back for another teaching tip. Recently I’ve been trying to have a little bit more fun during my dance classes. Between exams and performances, it can be hard to remember that the students love being in an environment with less pressure. In order to do this I’ve been trying to find/rediscover some dance based games. I’ve collated a few below for you to browse through, if you know any more leave them below so we can all share your knowledge.

Guess The Move Game
There are lots of street dance moves with descriptive names. For this game you want to print off little card with the names of different moves written on them. Then get your group of dancers into small groups. Hand out a few of the printed cards to each group and ask them to come up with what they think the moves are. After about 5 minutes, ask each group to show everyone their moves. Then find videos of each of the moves and show the students what each move actually is. This is a great little activity for students newer to the genre.
Extension: If you’ve done this with the students before, want to switch it up, or have high ability students, challenge them to make little sequences including all the moves given out to their groups.

Acting Games
One of my new obsessions to get into my younger students is that dance is about expression. In order to express they need to act out certain emotions. We’ve tried this many ways and they seem to love it. Get a number of different cards with emotions written on them, you may also want to give suggestions about how to act this emotion. Everyone takes a different card and then has to act out the emotion without any words, while other dancers try to guess what it is. I’ve also made us change up simple moves to show off different emotions, walking can be a great one as you can adapt it so much, very easily.
Extension: First teach the students a short amalgamation and then hand out the emotion cards. Get the students to rework the piece to showoff the feeling they’ve been given.

Gesture Exaggeration
This is a new game that I’ve not tried within a dance setting but I think would be great to help students creative ability. Get students to name an activity where they do several different actions, ie, being at school, playing rounders, or playing in the park. Then recreate the gestures that you do during one of these activities. Come up with a few different gestures, then play with them getting the students to do them on a scale, where one is super small, and ten is the biggest they could make the action. Experimenting with size can also help them with their range of motion.
Extension: Get the students to create small sequences using the gestures and have them use a mixture of different gesture sizes.

Patterning Exercises
Give the students a set of moves and label them, ABCD, etc., then get them to do them in different orders to create new sequences. Ask them to show you the sequence CDAB, for example, to change the order. You can also ask them to reverse the actions completely, not give the order, so really think about how you would rewind the moves.
Extension: Use travelling moves and ask the students to draw a little pattern on some paper. Then get them to do the sequences in the same arial pattern as what they’ve drawn.

Treasure Island
This is one I’ve learnt from the kids. Whenever I get a mat out to practice a move they ask “can we play treasure island?”. In essence this game is really just an obstacle course. You put out as much equipment as you can and get them to crawl over and under, or jump around and balance at certain points to get to the treasure. I would definitely pop this game in the 5-8 age range, as I think any younger the props become overwhelming and then any older that might feel it’s too ‘babyish’.
Extension: To work on team work you could blindfold one student as ask the rest of the group to guide them round. This will build trust within their companions.

That’s 5 games that I’ve been looking forward to playing during lessons that are a little bit slower, ie, when there isn’t a show, competition, or exam upcoming. These are games that should work for all different genres of dance, be sure to subscribe to my blog or follow me on all my social channels.

Are there any more games that you love to play during dance class? If so, I’d love to hear what they are.

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