The holiday season is underway! With Halloween behind us, check these great activities, songs, dances, and fun costume ideas to celebrate Thanksgiving at your studio!
Ideally, activities for a dance class will have kids running and moving
If you’re looking for some fun games to play in the classroom, Dance Exploration put together a fun list of games like “Gobble Gobble Turkey Says,” and other activities that encourage sharing between kids.
For other ideas to get kids up and moving, Pre-K and K Sharing has a few ideas for songs you can sing to get kids dancing and flapping their turkey wings!
The Hokey Pokey is a classic for any time of the year, but this video has it themed for Thanksgiving!
Or, check out the easy-to-follow Turkey Dance Freeze! Great for the little ones!
Easy Hair Styles
The Turkey Bun
This super cute bun takes a simple braid and some colored pipe cleaners, and transforms your dancer’s bun into a Thanksgiving turkey! See the full tutorial for making the bun from our friends at Babes in Hairland.
The Turkey Ribbon Bow
Want something a little less complicated than the bun? With a little ribbon and a hot glue gun, you can have a classroom of little turkeys running around in no time! See the full instructions here.
Does your studio have any Thanksgiving traditions you’d like to share? Post a comment below! If you thought these ideas were helpful, don’t forget to share it with others on the TutuTix Facebook page!
With the Thanksgiving holidays coming to a close, the holiday countdown is ON! Here are some fun, culturally diverse holiday music tunes to incorporate into your classes for the remainder of the month.
How many times have you wondered, “What did that song just say?” or “What does this song really mean?” If you are unsure about the meaning of dance lyrics or the content of a song, it is likely that the song should not be played in your dance classes or used for a performance/competition routine (and, if something is questionable, research the answer).
Many popular songs that receive radio play are pushing the limits of appropriateness with insinuating, suggestive, or inappropriate dance lyrics that are not appropriate for children. In a similar vein, songs that are played in your high school classes may not be appropriate for six and seven year old dancers.
One resource we found was songmeanings.com, where you can search for songs and research what the content is actually talking about.
Take the time to find class music that is age appropriate for your class composition. Err on the side of caution and make choices that will positively influence your student base.
For years, I have watched an uncountable amount of dances performed at dance competitions. There have been amazing dances, passionate performances, and, unfortunately, routines that felt uncomfortable to watch because of inappropriate content, music selection, costuming, and/or choreography. When an inappropriate routine performs, it shakes the room, leaving parents, studio owners, instructors, and the competitive dance infrastructure unsettled.
While most competitions have statements of appropriateness, it is rare for a routine to receive a disqualification. The lack of reinforcement is frustrating, but the bigger issue is: how do these dances make it to the competitive dance stage? In order for the routine to make it to this phase, the routine has to pass through an instructor/choreographer,the studio owner, and the performers’ parents. At some point, prior to competition, accountability and integrity should prevail.
For this season, let’s commit to raising the standards of the competitive dance industry. Let’s take ownership of the routines we place on stage and recognize that every performance represents the values, culture, and brand of our studios, and as a by-product, each and every one of our studio families.
In preparing for competition, consider the following:
1. Lyrics: Listen to the Lyrics and know what they mean. Eliminate curse words, but also be aware of inappropriate and overly mature or suggestive content. If a song is from a show or a musical, know the context.
2. Themes: When you are conceiving a piece, it is important that themes are appropriate for your dancers’ ages and maturity levels. Could an audience member misinterpret your piece or perceive it as inappropriate? Is the piece too serious or too dark? How can your students relate to the story that is being told?
3. Costuming: Does your costuming match the theme of the routine? Will it be perceived as classy or trashy? We must take ownership and responsibility of how we costume our students. Sexy is not how we should describe our costuming choices. Dress your dancers appropriately.
4. Choreography: The choreography should fit the theme of the routine. Movement should be age appropriate and representative of the lyrics, costuming, and themes.
5. Your Dancers’ Ages: Make sure ALL of your choices are appropriate for your dancers’ ages. Having young dancers perform a mature song/routine may result in inappropriate costuming, choreography, and thematic choices.
Share your standards with your instructors and guest choreographers. Build parental trust that you will always have your dancers’ best interests at heart.
Set your standards high, and do not waiver or succumb to trends or peer pressure.
Via competitive dance, we have an opportunity to positively influence and motivate our dancers, but we need to safeguard our choices and commit to presenting classy material that is representative of the dancers’ age and maturity. That is something that everyone can appreciate, respect, and look forward to seeing on stage.
If you’re in the process of planning a big recital, your mind is probably filled with concerns about finances, marketing, instructors, routines and of course, music. With everything you have going on, make sure you prepare ahead of time for the tricky legal issues that surround the music you use in your performances. Here are some basics you need to know about music performance rights in the dance world.
Performing Rights Organizations
The bottom line is that any music played in public is subject to royalties by whoever owns it – and your dance studio qualifies as “public.”
This means that you need to be paying royalties on any music you play during class, in the changing rooms and at performances.
In the U.S., payments you make for music performance rights will be going to one or more of the three major performing rights organizations (PROs), including the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) or SESAC (originally the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers).
Many studio owners ask whether they can choose to pay a license to only one organization, but that’s typically very difficult to do. You’d need to examine the copyright information of each song you play to make sure it’s only licensed through that particular organization, and there’s no guarantee that songs with multiple songwriters will be licensed through only one organization.
Reference links for the three U.S. music licensing organizations can be found below:
ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers)
You may think you don’t need to pay royalties because you already paid for your music, but unfortunately that’s not the case. The Dance Buzz explained that even if you purchased music for private use, when you cross over into public use, you have to pay again.
If you use music without proper authorization, you’ll likely receive a letter from one of the performing rights organization, or you could be sued for copyright infringement. The blog noted that you can be subject to a fine of up to $150,000 per song.
If you’re concerned about how you could possibly pay to use every song in your iPhone, don’t worry. The Dance Buzz explained that most dance studios buy blanket licenses from the different associations, which allow you to use any of their songs as much as you’d like.
Studio owners who are members of various professional organizations sometimes get discounted rates that are based on average class size. However, you’ll need to contact ASCAP, BMI and SESAC for specific prices depending on the music performance rights you need.
We’ve even heard reports that studio owners have been able to negotiate lower blanket rates for blanket licenses, if they reach out to the PRO and ask.
It’s the right thing to do
As a business owners in the arts community, dance studio owners are in a similar position to those who make their living in the music industry. As such, they are in a position to understand that artists of all kinds should be paid for their work.
Just as a choreographer deserves to be paid for their choreography, so do songwriters and performers deserve to be paid for the use of their songs and recordings. And, as noted above, it’s illegal to use someone else’s music without paying the appropriate licenses.
It’s true that some music doesn’t require royalties, and there are several databases where you can sift through royalty-free songs. There are a number of potential reasons why music wouldn’t be subject to copyright, according to the Washington State University.
Copyrights can expire or an author can donate his piece to the public domain. However, most songs are subject to copyright laws up to 70 years after the owner dies.
However you choose to go about choosing music for your studio, keep in mind the associated legal requirements. Honor the legal rights of other creators, and protect yourself and your studio by making sure that all your music is properly licensed.
Note from the editor: This article was updated on 1/17/18 to address common questions from studio owners.