• Teaching Toddlers To Dance

    Teaching toddlers to dance is fun, challenging, amazing and exhausting all wrapped into one. I have taught toddlers in various classes. Whether it’s called creative movement, baby ballet or tutu-time, there are key factors in adjusting to various personalities.

    I’m overly and excessively picky when it comes to picking the right class and teacher for my workouts. Therefore, I structure my student’s class the way I would want my own class to be. At certain studios, toddlers usually start taking dance classes as young as 2. I have always taught toddlers ages 3-5 and I keep no more than 8 students in a class. Believe me, it’s best to keep it small.

    When choosing a class for your child, keep these tips in mind. First off, make sure the instructor LOVES kids. You can pretty much tell if they don’t.  Again, this is what I do and what I’ve done over 15 years and have learned from other instructors who are very conscious on not only teaching a toddler but leave them wanting to dance even more!  This post can be directed to moms looking to enroll his or her child into a ballet class. And this post can be for someone thinking of teaching little ones in the dance world. These are tips on what you should look for.

    1. Start the students in a circle and engage in conversation. What’s your name? What’s your favorite color? Why do you like dancing?

    2. Music should be played softly so they can hear instruction.

    3. Be mindful of what they can or can’t do. Always use praise. Never yell. Whispering to them can actually have them turn down the noise level.

    4. Encourage them to do shapes with their arms. This is a great way to teach them circles, triangles, or squares.

    5. Pretend land. Give them a scenario such as being in a forest, castle or an island. What do they see? This will spark their creativity.

    Little girl touching her head with her toes.

    6. Across the floor. Have 2-3 dancers go at a time. They can pretend to be butterflies and walk across the floor on their tippy toes or walk like flamingos. This will increase flexibility in their legs.

    7. Barre work. Give them exercises such as tendu, passe, arabesque, and chaine turns. Even if it’s not perfect, always compliment their hard work.

    8. Almost to the end of class, sit them down and test them. Ask, “Who can show me butterflies?” This is a good way to know if they’re retaining information and if you’re teaching methods are done correctly.

    9. Closing the class. Play their favorite song and have them free dance! Let them dance however their little heart pleases. It helps to be confident and simply have fun.

    10. Award every child with a sticker, smile and lots of praise. They will leave feeling incredible and that’s the most important goal of the class.

     

     

  • 3 Ballet Moves For All Levels

    Last night while the watching Victoria’s Secret Fashion show, I was glad to see a small segment on ballet’s inspiration for Karlie Kloss. It’s known that some of the models such as Doutzen Kroes, Alessandra Ambroiso, and Candice Swanepoel turned to ballet to get runway ready for the show.

    As a dance instructor, I always feel that any form of dance is really the best form of fitness. Of course, I’m being biased as I’ve been a dance enthusiast all my life!

    Dancing for me has never been an outlet for looking good.  When I step into a dance studio and switch on the music and feel the vibrations; I’m in another world.

    The movement section of this blog is to help others choose a form of exercise that leaves you feeling amazing! It’s not about looking good.

    Now, you’re probably wondering, umm, but I want to LOOK like good!

    I want you to focus on feeling good in terms of balance, strength and posture. As a result, your physical looks will come. I promise!

    I teach the following techniques to my students ranging 10 – adult. These ballet sequences can be done at a bar in a studio or with a chair at home. These variations work your core (if you engage) and the legs. Keep in mind to breathe in and out, push shoulders down, and hold chest up to maintain posture. 

    Dancer facing a ballet barre doing an exercise. Dancer facing a ballet barre doing an exercise.
    Variation 1: Coupé, relevé, attitude.
    Place right leg to the ankle (coupé) then lift same leg to the an attitude position. Feel free to keep the left foot flat or to challenge yourself, relevé, or rise, on the left foot. Repeat 10 sets on each leg.

     

    Image-1 (9Dancer facing a ballet barre doing a demi plie. Dancer facing a ballet barre doing a releve.

    Variation 2: Plié, relevés.
    Start in first position and rise as if you’re wearing high heels (think Victoria’s Secret high pumps). Repeat 20 sets.

     

    Dancer facing a ballet barre doing a plie in second position. Dancer facing the ballet barre doing a passe in releve.

    Variation 3: Plié, passé.
    Start in second position, keeping in mind to push the knees back. Push the right leg to a passé position. The foot should press lightly in front of the left knee. Repeat 10 sets on each leg.

     

    Remember that you’re perfect just the way you are.

    Choose a fitness that leaves you euphoric.

     

    Which variation leaves you with feel-good-burning thighs?

  • Back In The Blog Groove

    It’s a rarity that I post a picture of myself, although feeling silly about it, there’s a point. Why did I go M.I.A? Here’s the thing. I put myself in creative rehab. And dance is exactly what I needed. I’ve been a dance instructor for over 18 years! Yup you read that right.

    Dance has been a hobby, a passion which has taught me to relate with others while inspiring them the best way possible. For me, dance has been a life-long journey. I will never stop. If I’m lucky enough to dance with my cane when I’m old and grey—so be it.

    Dance is all about transitions. From a chaine turn to a grand jete, the process is tideuos and takes a lot of hard work–a few aches and pains come along with it! I’ve been known to pose here and there on Instagram.

    Finding the right look, voice, and overall content completely took over me with Little Giant Life.

    Así que pare todo. (At times, I’ll switch to Español to emphasize my thought!)

    Are we as creatives ever happy with what we have? Probably not. However, it pushes me to the point of inspiration to strive for more and more.

    Blogging or running your own business is a lot like dancing. There are  many ‘transitions’ to get where you want to be. As I continue learning the blogging business, my intention is to make this a two-way conversation. Don’t worry I won’t make you kick your leg up like that…maybe!

    My transition also led me to land a new freelance gig! I’m the new contributor for Latina Bloggers Connect. ¡Estoy emocionada!

    In celebration of this re-launch, download a FREE digital media kit on the side bar. Not only will it help with your small business but you’ll subscribe to Little Giant Life. Promise not to overload your inbox!

    There will be new and fun ways to make our off-screen lives more meaningful.

    What do you think of the new look? What steps do you take for your next transition? Tweet, share!