Friday, July 26, 2013

Peter Pan - Dance lesson

I know this has taken forever. I was sick, then we went on vacation. And now our landlord has decided to sell our house.  None of this fits into my "Mommy School" summer plans, but that's life and I'm just gonna roll with it.

I planned this lesson to follow the soundtrack of the musical "Peter Pan".  We warmed up our bodies by doing a wide variety of exercises, including chasing and jumping for our shadows during "I've Got to Crow."

We used the song "Tender Shepherd" for our port de bras, and today we worked on first port de bras.

For the most part, ballet moves are the same everywhere. But within each method you will find little differences.  I will be teaching my daughters classical ballet as founded by Vaganova, but along with this I will be teaching them that in other methods the arm positions are labeled differently.  This way if they ever decide to go to a studio, they won't look like a deer in headlights if someone mentions 4th and 5th position.

warning: Pictured positions are not perfect!  You try taking pictures while teaching.  I much prefer being hands on!

Today when working with arm positions we used

preparatory position

 first position

second position

third position

Placing numbers in a line, we practiced connecting the number with the position.  For preparatory position we used a circle.

I then switched the sequence of the positions and numbers giving them first port de bras.

We then moved into the second act of the musical with an exercise I called "The Peter Pan Races."

"The Peter Pan Races" is an exercise for use of plié.  Peter Pan tells us in order to fly, all it will take is faith, trust and pixie dust, but without a plie, how is he to leave the ground?  The use of plié is essential for both taking off and landing a jump. For this exercise we discovered how important it is in making our jumps big.  

We started by sitting in front of a wall with straight legs.  If we pushed off the wall just using our toes, we didn't go very far. But when we started from a plié, we were able to soar.

The goal of the game was to see who could spring the farthest from the wall.

  Later in the afternoon, as one of our afternoon thunderstorms began, the girls used these scooter boards to make believe they were flying over the roofs of London and around Big Ben, all the way to Neverland.

Once in Neverland, we took a trip to "Mermaid Lagoon".

I had told the girls the day before that we would be doing mermaid exercises during their dance lesson. Estee asked if they would get mermaid costumes.  My answer was no. The more I thought about it though, I decided it would make a great prop. So we headed to the fabric store and stayed up late as the girls help me sew mermaid fins.

For mermaid exercises we used a small bouncy ball as our very own Marooners' Rock.

The ball was placed underneath their hips and their legs were extended in the air.  In order to remain on the ball they have to fully engage the core.  Once they learned to properly activate the core and could remain on the ball, we added little circles with the legs, both clock and counter clockwise.  The fitted fin costume/prop helped them to hold their legs together as they found their balance. Once they understood for themselves the correct way to activate these muscles, we took the fin off, adding the challenge of holding their legs tightly together. 

For cross floor exercises we were inspired by the pirates and used Hooks different tempo to not only dance but work together.

Hook's Tango - we used walking steps to match the rhythm
slow, quick, quick, slow, quick, quick, slow ...

Hook's Tarantella - prance

Hook's Waltz - we used our waltz exercises from last summer's Cinderella lesson.

Our final Peter Pan inspired dance exercise was taken from the song and scene "Ugh-a-Wug".  Starting at 2:40 you will see how they use the drum and rhythm sticks as their choreography.  

With this as our inspiration, we took it outside (after the rainstorm) for our tapping portion of class.

We used a mix of the drum beat, rhythm stick taps and shoes to create a simple choreography.  

Hope you enjoyed this lesson. Let me know if you try any of these activities at home!


  1. You are amazing Hannah, I don't post it enough but everything you do is inspiring and amazing!

  2. How fun! We have to try this!


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