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A Fun + Fanciful Approach to Teaching Ballet Terminology

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Ballet has a language of it’s own- with a dictionary of words and movements originating from the French Language, it can be difficult for baby ballerinas to learn all the movements let alone the meaning of each word. Equally challenging is a dance teacher’s attempt to teach ballet movements and terminology in a fascinating and fanciful way that captures the attention and imagination of their young, budding ballerinas.

That’s why the creators of the Dance to Learn® Curriculum sought to find a solution for Dance Teachers to ease the challenge of teaching first time dancers the ABC’s of Dance and beginning Ballet Terminology. Introducing Florrie Flamingo© Flash Cards a Whimsical and Fanciful approach to teaching Pre-Ballet.

Who is Florrie Flamingo© ?

Florrie Flamingo© is a hand illustrated Flittering Flamingo Character dancing among a background of bright and brilliant colors. She performs 26 Ballet and dance moves on oversized 4×6 Flash Cards with the associated Ballet Term written fluently on the front of each card. Florrie Flamingo© was created by Jessica Clayton, a Professional Ballet Dancer and Teacher when she had a goal to make learning ballet terminology not only more fun but also memorable for her preschool dancers.

How Can Florrie Flamingo© Enhance your Ballet Class?

Florrie Flamingo© Ballet Flash Cards is designed to teach 26 Dance Moves beginning with the letter “A” for Arabesque and ending with the letter “Z” for Zumba– designed to teach the ABC’s of Dance. Your blooming first time ballerinas will have a ball dancing with her while also learning their ballet terms and their meanings. Here are a few Fun and Fabulous activities you can play in your next ballet class with Florrie Flamingo©!

Pick a Card

After your ballerinas have learned all of the cards, the ballet movements on the cards, and the meanings; shuffle up all the cards and let each tiny dancer pick a card. The dancers should be asked to perform the move on the card, remember the ballet terminology associated with the movement, as well as the meaning of the word. Let all of the dancers pick a card as the class performs each move and recites the terminology and meaning from memory. There are some “Wild” Cards in the deck including – Nutcracker, Waltz, Xylophone, Variation and Zumba. If these cards are picked, have the dancers perform a game of Freeze Dance.

Nutcracker- Play a Nutcracker Song as the ballet dancers dance along. Waltz- Play a slow tempo song and have dancers partner up. Xylophone- Let dancers play musical instruments to create their own music. Variation- Play a song from a famous ballet ie: Swan Lake and have dancers move to the music. Zumba- Play a fast, upbeat song and let your ballet students dance around.

Memory Game

This activity requires two decks of Florrie Flamingo© Ballet Terminology Flash Cards. Choose a handful of cards with movements you would like the dancers to practice that day. In the ‘Dance to Learn!’® Curriculum classes, we choose 8 cards at a time going in alphabetical order. Lay the cards and their matches over on the floor. Let each dancer choose two cards at a time. When a matching pair is found, all the dancers practice those dance moves, discuss the term and remember the meaning of the term.

Obstacle Course

Enchaînement, in ballet, is a term used to describe the linking of multiple steps together. You can do this best by creating an “obstacle” course for dancers to complete. Using your Florrie Flamingo© Ballet Terminology Flash Cards choose an equal number of Locomotor (moving) and Non-Locomotor (stationary) movements for dancers to complete at different stages of the course. Lay the cards on the floor along with different props to assist the dancers in completing the course. We like using jump ropes, hula hoops and mats/spots.

An example obstacle course would include:

Laying two jump ropes parallel to each other to create a tunnel. The Florrie Flamingo© Card in front of the tunnel could be Glissade (to glide). The dancer would Glissade through the tunnel.

On a spot lay three Non-Locomotor cards for dancers to choose from – Plié, Passé or Relevé. The dancer would perform one of the three movements on the spot.

Use the Florrie Flamingo© Ballet Terminology Flash Cards as a helper to remind dancers what comes next. Eventually dancers should be able to perform the Obstacle Course without the cards from memory as a way to teach choreography.

Freeze Dance

In each Florrie Flamingo© Ballet Terminology Flashcard deck there are 8 Cards with Locomotor (traveling) movements, 13 cards with Non-Locomotor (stationary) movements and 5 Wild Cards.

You can play Freeze Dance with the Wild Cards (see suggestions under Pick a Card) or you can choose to combine Locomotor movements for the dancing and Non-Locomotor moves for the freezing.

If you choose the latter, you can choose a Locomotor movement such as Kick to perform while the music plays and when the music stops you can ask dancers to perform a Non-Locomotor movement such as a Coupé.

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how you can creatively teach Ballet Terminology using Florrie Flamingo© Flash Cards! Take photos of your dancers in class and share on your social media using hashtag #florrieflamingo #techniquewithflorrie and #dancingwithflorrie be sure to tag @florrieflamingo so we can celebrate in their awesomeness too!

Where can I find my Florrie Flamingo© Flash Cards?

In the meantime Keep this step by step guide to Creatively Teaching Ballet Terminology handy by Pinning It to your Pinterest account!

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