I love the freeze dance! In the DiscoverDance program, we start every class with this activity. Over the years, I have witnessed many benefits from starting class in this manner.
Here are a few:
1. Tactile Play- Tactile play is an important part of child development, especially for the tactile learners. By using different fabrics and colorful prop options, the children get to experience tactile play during each dance class.
2. Parent Separation- If children are hesitant to leave their grown-ups and enter the classroom independently, what better way to entice them than with a colorful ribbon ring or beautiful scarf? Once I moved this activity to the beginning of class, the number of criers dropped immensely. Side note-I do believe this happened from a combination of enticing props and a fun, developmentally appropriate curriculum.
3. Kids WANT to dance!- When they enter the studio, their little brains and bodies are ready to explode from the excitement of coming to dance class. So let them DANCE! Doing the freeze dance, at the start of class, gets their listening ears ready by working off that excited energy so they are prepared to focus on the concept of the day. In addition, it serves as a creative outlet and gets the dancers comfortable with improvisation (a skill they will need as they progress in dance).
4. Late Arrivals- Nothing is more disruptive than a little one bursting through the door AFTER class has already started. Beginning with the Freeze Dance, allows a buffer between the start of class and when we are ready to learn. BONUS- I have never seen kids take their shoes and jackets off so fast than I have when they arrive late and hear the freeze dance music playing. They don’t want to miss it!
In the past, I used the freeze dance as a reward for good behavior or IF we had time at the end of class. However, moving it to the beginning of class has made a huge difference in their independence, confidence, and focus. Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you and your classes!