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Magic Tricks For Dance Teacher
Magic Tricks
There are powerful tools or “Magic Tricks” you can employ to help a child learn to understand and integrate new concepts. Their “no boundaries” imagination is a dance teacher’s best friend and ally. Talk about being able to think outside the box! These little, brilliant minds have almost no limits. Use this knowledge to your and your students best advantage by gathering as many “tools” and “tricks of the trade” as you can to reach the divide between adult mind and child mind.

You have to REACH their minds to TEACH their minds. One of the best places to reach their minds is in their imagination. The following are some useful tricks I have used over the years. Some of these have been used by dance instructors for decades, some I developed along the way. I hope you find them useful in your classes.

Magic Dance Teacher Tricks
Using magic, invisible, pretend backpack which contains their magic ballet , tap, jazz, modern glue, their magic wand, and their royal (princess, prince) crown.
The invisible, pretend, magical glue can be used in many ways. On floor exercises, my students glued the bottom of their knees to the floor to help keep their legs straight for point & flex, etc. To unglue their knees? No problem! They just pulled out their invisible, pretend magic wand and they were good to go. They glued their heels on the floor for toe drops and their toes to the floor for heel drops in tap class. They glued their heels to the floor for demi plié in 2nd position. Wherever you need something to stay put, have them whip out their magic glue. We glued hands to hips, fingers to shoulders, hands to knees. One very bright child, asked quite seriously: “But, Miss Pat, our hands are glued to our knees, how do we get our magic wand out to unglue them?” I told them they could say: “Magic Wand, I need you, help my hands to now unglue.” :)
The invisible, pretend, magic wand can help in many ways. It unglues that which is glued, and can quickly glue that which is unglued. It can help remind tiny feet to stretch in tendu. Hold the Magic Wand in their right hand and follow the wand to bourrée to the R, reverse for left turn. Place the wand on the floor in front, to leap over.
Their magic backpack will help remind them to keep their back straight and tall and their shoulders pressed down.
The Magic Royal Crown: This crown is big and beautiful with shiny jewels inlaid in pure gold. But, it is very wobbly. To wear this crown you must keep your chin up and your head very straight.
Teaching Alignment: Dots method: Use sticky dots from an office supply store. have , help or ask the moms to help the students apply the same color dot on the top, center of the thigh, the middle of the knee and the middle of the top of the foot. When the dots form a perfect line, their alignment is correct. Tell them to turn out the top dot as far as is comfortable, THEN line up the knee and foot dot. They also learn to keep their dots in line on a plié. When they learn tendu devant, I put a different color dot or a bright sticker on the inside ankle. When they slide their foot forward they have to line up their thigh,
knee, and top of foot dots first and then show me their ankle dot or sticker. This really helps them to understand this lesson. (my students always wore tights, so I had no problem with the dots staying in place.) One dance teacher has adopted my dot method using body paint. She places a dot of color on all the above places. She explains the purpose to the moms, and makes it a fun event. She says it just takes a few minutes at the beginning of the first class. After that, the moms apply the dots before class. They put the same color dot on 3 spots on the front of the leg, and draw a smiley face on the inside ankle.

An exercise using all of the above: Open and close the book: Sitting with your legs out in front with your feet flexed.Use your Magic Wand to unglue your knees. Now with tall backs and shoulders pressed down, keep your legs stretched and straight. Can you pretend your feet are a book? We are going to open and close the book. When our book opens our legs should turn out from the top, keeping our knees and feet in the same line.