Children

Cultivating Creativity at Home: How to Incorporate Dance at Home

It can be so easy to get sucked into a routine of school, family or work that we sometimes forget to step into the outside world and see the breath of life that stands before us. One of the many beauties of the arts is that it interweaves throughout all aspects of life, and whether or not it’s obvious, it is always there. Creativity is such an important part of being human, it allows us to communicate and express ourselves in a way that is truly authentic.

Aside from engaging in hobbies, sports, tutoring and recreational activities, there should always be time set aside for cultivating creativity. Bringing creativity into the home is great for nurturing young artists and shaping innovative personalities. It also gets us to disconnect from social media, and connect to the people in front of us, bringing life into our humble abodes. We are sharing some of our favourite ways of bringing dance and the arts into your home.

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 It can be hard to juggle textbook subjects while pursuing creative activities and the arts. Even though most school curriculums do incorporate the arts, there’s no reason that we can’t make homework more flavourful. Why not create a dance routine, some doodling illustrations, a beat boxin’ rap, or a song as a study tool. Spend a weekend afternoon personalising a journal or a notebook with some sharpie markers and stickers. Language courses with novels and storybooks provide the perfect scripts for creating an at home theatre play or a living room dance production. For those busy bees studying the day away, there are plenty of ways to work hard, play hard, and create art!

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Every young dancer knows what it takes to achieve their dreams of starring on stage, and it requires them to practice at home. There are plenty of opportunities in which parents can let their children become the teacher. Turn the living room into a dance studio by clearing up some space. One of the best ways to fully understand the physicality and artistry of dance is by allowing your young dancers to teach you what they’ve learned. Whether these young dancers are teaching their siblings, parents, or grandparents, there is so much we can learn from one another simply through our body language.

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 Living in the age of technology and with access to instant communication through our mobile phones, there are so many ways to get creative. The cameras on our mobile phones are a simple and quick way to capture the intersection of life and art. Children can create a storyboard of a music video or a fairytale dance video, and then recruit their friends and siblings as their film crew. Build a team of actors, dancers, videographers, and directors, but don’t forget to pick a location, costumes, and music. There are lots of choices when it comes to easy and accessible film editing software such as iMovie. Once the film is ready for the big screen (or the medium sized at-home screen), roll out the red carpet as these Oscar winners in-the-making premiere their masterpiece. Don’t forget that these creative projects will also build the beginnings of an artist’s most treasured memories.

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Family game night is all about creativity, not to mention it’s a great way to bring the family together and enjoy each other’s company. Drop by your local game shop and pick up a couple of board games. You can also check out our list of fun dance games in our article, Family Game Night: Dance Edition.

Creativity is infinite, and remember that your options for bringing a spark of innovation and artistry into the house are endless.

Photo Credits: Nuno Alberto, Rachel, IIONA VIRGIN, Tanaphong Toochinda, and Robert Collins on Unsplash

Discipline and Dance: The Ultimate Guide to Dance Etiquette

If there’s one thing about dance that my parents are ever grateful for, it’s the values of discipline, determination and hard work that dance has instilled in me. To many, the word ‘etiquette’ may sound daunting or pretentious, but this isn’t about identifying the salad fork or lifting your pinky when you drink…oops I meant sip your tea. In fact, dance etiquette comes down to the basic foundations of functioning in the real world, especially when it comes to understanding working culture and effective communication.

 

Rise and Shine! Be on Time!

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 The first rule of dance etiquette is to be on time, and by that I mean be at least 10 -15 minutes early at the studio so that you have time to warm-up your body. This allows you to prepare your mind and body to focus and move beyond your limits. Tardiness is never tolerated in the studio or on the stage, so be sure that time is on your side. It may seem annoying to have to wake up at 6:00am every day to get to your morning dance class, but it’s a routine that will set you up for the demands of the real world.

 

In a Manner of Speaking

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Prince Charming was onto something, because the art of charm can take you far in life. It goes without saying that it is important to use your manners in addressing and communicating with your teachers and peers in dance class. Dance examinations are the ultimate test to whether you’ve been practicing your curtsies, greetings and manners. As old school as it may seem, it’s all about reciprocating respect. Sing it Aretha! Eh-hem! Oh right…Sing it Mrs. Franklin! R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

 

The Studio is Your Second Home

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A dance studio is like every flawless MUJI inspired home…shoes off at the front door! Dance studio floors can put a dent in the bank accounts, so don’t dent the studio floors with your stilettos. Dance styles that require footwear like ballroom, tap, or hip hop either have floors that can handle the impact or they require you to bring ‘indoor only’ dance shoes. So play by the rules and keep those studio floors flawless!

 

Come Prepared

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Make sure you pack your bag with all your necessary dance accessories, and if you’re a ‘Forgetful Freddy’, then make a list or set a reminder on your phone. Dance teachers are not too fond of students who forget their dance slippers or tights. “My dog ate my wrap skirt” will not work here. At a certain point, every dancer is responsible for themselves, from doing their own buns, to packing their own bags, or getting to class on their own. Dance instils team work in a dance routine, but it’s all about responsibility and independence when you are managing your own dance career.

 

Dance Because You Love To

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The last and final rule is to dance because you love to. The only way to be successful at dancing is to enjoy it. If you master this first, all the rules, etiquette, hard work and determination will fall into place naturally.


Photo Credits: Beto Franklin from Pexels, The Center Berlin, and The Dancewear Centre

 

Dance Away the Summer Slump

Keeping Up Your Dance Training Over the Summer Holidays

  

The school year can build up a lot of stress, so it’s only natural that we use our summer holiday to relax and recharge. But beware of the summer slump! As dancers, the skills we trained so hard for during the year can deteriorate if we don’t do any supplementary body training over the summer.

It is possible to take a break from dancing while still exercising the mind and body to maintain your skills. Here, we’ve worked up a list of ideas to help incorporate some basic training to target your body coordination, endurance, balance, flexibility and last but not least, your creativity and artistry.

 

Body Coordination

Firstly, raise your right hand, and now your left. You still got it! Jokes aside, here are a couple of ways to incorporate some body coordination exercises into your summer holiday.

  • The Classic Catch: Whether you have a dog, or happen to be outdoors with your family, there’s always time for a classic throw and catch with a ball. If this is too easy, challenge yourself by training your non-dominant hand. The classic catch doesn’t always have to be with a ball, you can always spice up your beach outings with a frisbee!

  • Hula-Hoop: Bring a little island breeze of Hawaii into your summer by picking up the hula-hoop! This childhood pastime is truly beneficial for all ages. What may have seemed “easy” as a child, is actually harder than you think! The hula-hoop involves the entire body, and there is a lot of micromanaging that goes on to keep that hula-hoop circling around. Plus, you can experiment with all the ways of playing with a hula-hoop; around your ankle, your wrist, the possibilities are endless!

 

Endurance

The portion of training that most of us dread is endurance, because it implies time, sweat and effort. Endurance is important for dancers, as it allows us to perform our best over long periods of time. Check out these ways of keeping the blood flowing, and the lungs happy!

  • Splash!: Who doesn’t love to jump into the pool, ocean or lake during the summer? Have a pool party, and swim with your friends. Of course, it may require a couple of races or playing games like water frisbee or badminton to really get your heart rate up.

  • Skipping Rope: Work on your double dutch skills by skipping rope. Not only is this good for your coordination and balance, it is also great for your endurance.

  • Trampoline: Feeling weightless for a millisecond is indescribably fun. Plus nowadays, you can go to an indoor trampoline gym that offers dodgeball amongst many other activities.

 

Balance

We all love to prove that we have good balance. I’m not talking about work-life balance, though that’s important too. We’re talking about working on ankle stability, the core and proprioception.

  • What’s SUP?: Stand-up paddle boarding is a summertime favourite. And the ultimate reward for your good balance is not getting your hair wet! Paddle your way to new views, whilst working on your core, legs, arms, and of course your balance.

  • Standing in Sand: Find your way to the beach, and try out some balancing Yoga poses on the sand. The uneven and soft surface is a great way to work on your ankle stability. And if that’s too easy, try closing your eyes while you balance and enjoy the sounds of the waves!

 

Flexibility

There are some obvious contenders for working on your flexibility over the summer, like yoga, or well…yoga. But here are some other ways to incorporate a little stretch into your routine!

  • Massage: Summer is for relaxing, so rejuvenate those muscle fibres by treating yourself to a massage. Whether visiting a registered massage therapist, or investing in some at-home massage equipment (foam rollers, foot massagers, etc.), a massage allows the body to open up, creating space so that we can start stretching and moving more effectively.

  • Aqua Stretch: Stretching in the pool can be a lot of fun, as we take away the strain of gravity on our joints. The ledge makes for a wonderful ballet barre or wall to help you create resistance in your stretches.

Creativity and Artistry

There’s plenty of summertime activities that can boost your creative eye. Here’s just a few suggestions.

  • Snap that!: We live in a society obsessed with photography, so why not snap some fun summer shots? Underwater cameras like the GoPro are great for capturing some captivating photos of sea creatures, or even your friends doing fun and fancy poses under the sea! Work towards creating a summer album, of all your most memorable adventures.

  • Outdoor Doodles: Whether you are going to the beach, forest, or park bring along a sketchbook and some pencils, or watercolour paints. Let nature inspire you, and start creating your masterpiece! If this sounds like too much work, then find a nice tarmac or sidewalk and start creating some chalk art.

 

There’s no excuse now to fall into a summer slump, because we are always surrounded by plenty of options and things to do! By experiencing new forms of physical activity and summer adventures, we are enhancing both our versatility in dance as well as our artistic thinking. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and don’t forget to add a little spark!

Photo Credit: Dancewear Centre Canada

Family Game Night: Dance Edition

Fun Dance Games for Everyone!

The dice have been rolled, and nothing but anticipation and suspense fills the air, and… woohoo! You win!

Some of our favourite childhood memories are stowed away in a storage unit, closet or attic. Those were the days, when the whole family sat around the dining room table or on the living room rug and played boardgames.

Spice up your next Family Game Night with these dance inspired games!

 

Get Silly with Strictly Come Dancing: The Board Game!

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Because being serious, is seriously overrated, get ready to giggle and groove with this Cha Chamazing boardgame. Based on the hit Ballroom and Latin Dance Competition TV series, Strictly Come Dancing, this game combines trivia, dance moves, and pure family fun! Get up on your feet and start shaking those Habanera hips, because Strictly Come Dancing will get you performing dance-offs and taking on histarically hilarious challenges.

 

Can you remember…? Test your Memory with Top Dance! Just Dance

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Lost your keys again? Train your memory with Top Dance! Just DanceJust Dance is known for its fancy choreography, pumped up moves, and catchy tunes! Top Dance! Just Dance takes elements of our favourite dance video game and brings it to the board. This game is basically a series of flash cards, except that instead of flashing words or math equations, these cards have dance moves on them. While a key player performs different movement combinations from the cards they’ve drawn, other players must test their ability to recognize and observe, as they try to match the movement cards to the key player’s dance combo. Who doesn’t love a game that’s fun and trains the brain. Dancers are known to have impeccable memorization skills. So start studying those dance moves!

 

Take a Throwback Thursday with Twister

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Getting tangled between other people’s hands and feet, and holding shapes for long periods of time may not sound like dancing, but Twister is a great way of moving the body and training your balance, problem solving… and even a bit of flexibility. Though this game is for both young and old, it is fantastic way of teaching little ones about the body and colours. The ultimate icebreaker to any party, Twister will have everybody smiling and laughing in no time!

 

Bump to the beat with Bop it! Game

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All the millennials out there can remember this game, as it was a 90’s sensation. Hasbro has bopped out the old, and bopped in the new with Bop it! Game! Adding a couple of new moves, such as “selfie it”, “golf it” and “comb it”, Bop it! Game now uses motion technology to test out whether these youngsters can keep up with the original Bop it! masters. Make your next family game night a Bop it! dance battle, and have loads of fun with this multigenerational game!

 

Start creating those memories that will last a lifetime! The ones that get us away from the television screen, or our mobile phones and allow us to see the laughter and smiles on our loved ones’ faces. Stir up that competitive spirit, and start your next family game night with a little shake, twist, or bop!



Photo Credits: Dancewear Centre, John Adams Leisure LTD, Buzzy Games, and Hasbro

Hop till you Drop!

An Overview of Hong Kong Dance Moms’ Summer Dance Intensive: Studio Hopping 2019 

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From Sha Tin to Central, our Studio Hopping 2019 event reached near and far, covering all sorts of dance styles across this great city of Hong Kong! Geared towards children, our week long Summer Dance Intensive gave students the opportunity to explore various dance forms and exposed them to different ways of teaching and learning. Not only did this event give young aspiring dancers a chance to learn some new moves, but it also opened up new possibilities for our local dance studios and schools across Hong Kong to share their wealth of knowledge, experience, and skills in dance education.

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Connecting our local dance community, Hong Kong Dance Moms partnered with ten different dance studios to offer a variety of dance classes for children between the ages of 3-10. Making sure our event was accessible for all, we offered students the chance to select 5 different dance classes for a nominal fee. Bringing the world of dance to our very own backyard, students didn’t even need to go away on summer holiday to experience new cultures, as they learned Ballet, K-Pop, Jazz, Hip Hop, Kathak(Indian Classical Dance), Tahitian Dance, Belly Dance, Street Jazz, Urban Dance, and Musical Jazz.

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Though these new encounters between dance teachers and students were brief, it was fantastic to see that this event created a bridge for dance studios and aspiring young dancers to meet and explore the possibilities in dance! Part of the journey of dance is in discovering new challenges, both the highs and lows. Though a child’s first step in dance may seem plain and simple, there is actually so much complexity to what they are experiencing. It’s not just about the dance steps they are learning, it’s also about the interaction between the student and their teachers, peers, parents, and their exposure to the body, different languages, vocabulary and space. Studio Hopping 2019 was one small step for dance and one giant leap for our participants!

We couldn’t help but break into a happy dance when we received so much buzz and interest in our event, we truly thank you all for your support! A big thank you to our partnering dance studios; Academy of Dance, BE Dance Academy, Dream Dimension, Ellumination Dance Studio, G-Kids Dance Academy, SGM Dance Production, Studio Assemblé, Trio Spin Studio, Twinkle Dance Company, and Yaya Kids Dance!