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U.S.A. Popcorn Adventure #26
September 26, 2007

So You Think You Can Dance

You Tube Dance Clips + Dance Around the U.S.A.

Your daughter loves to twirl in her tutu, and your son certainly makes enough noise stomping his feet during a tempter tantrum, but if they are too young to enjoy a full length ballet or hip hop show, we've got just the ticket: You Tube links. We've culled through hours of dance performances to come up with a collection of great dance experiences that your family can watch online -- most are less than three minutes long. There's something for everyone, from traditional ballet to an LA street dance called Krumping, from tap to a jazzy number from So You Think You Can Dance (the smash hit reality TV show). Admittedly, sitting behind a computer can't be compared to a live performance, but while paging through the clips, one of our kids was drawn to the gospel music that accompanies Revelations, Alvin Ailey's iconic masterpiece, and another flipped for the hip hop head spins. We all found something that moved us, and it was hard to beat the ticket price!

Dance Performances with the kids used to make us nervous -- particularly with young boys who couldn't tell a toe shoe from a tap shoe -- but this year, we decided to think beyond the Nutcracker, and expose the kids to at least one new style of dance. Now is a good time to scan the calendar section and order tickets for the upcoming season. After checking out the You Tube links, we realized that music made a difference, so chose a performance set to songs the kids would recognize. We took in a Joffrey ballet set to a Beach Boy's score (created by legendary Twyla Tharp), and score we did. Our kids loved the ballerinas' sassy interpretations of LA culture, all the while humming along to "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "Deuce Coupe." Our kids gave the evening a two thumbs up, so we're planning on pushing the envelope a bit farther this winter and booking tickets for Pilobolus, the East Coast dance troupe that wowed America at the Oscars last year. With their verve and athleticism, this is dance even the most tutu-phobic can relate to!

 
Film Title: You Tube Dance Clips
Directed By: Various Artists
2007, Rated U, 3-10 minutes


Our Buttery Bits of Wisdom about these You Tube Clips:


Our tips for talking with the kids about this film:

  • Cinema Savvy:  Take the time to familiarize yourself with the powerful new site, You Tube. Anyone can upload a piece of video and have it be seen by millions. We have friends whose kids post videos of themselves doing silly stuff (skateboarding, stuffing a basketball) and our kids love to search for sports bloopers and silly moments from old television shows. Be warned - your kids should be supervised when perusing this site (and any other site, for that matter!)
  • Dance Savvy:  Ask your kids to tell you which dance clip they like best, which music they like best, which costumes they like best, which lighting they like best, which dancer they like best ... they will begin to understand that dance is made up of lots of artistic pieces that work together.  Keep in mind that some dances tell stories, other convey themes, and still others are about movement.


 

Dance Performances With The Kids

Ages: Whenever your kids can sit quietly
Time Allotment: Usually, two hours plus intermission

 



Our Buttery Bits of Wisdom about this Popcorn Adventure:

  • What Works for Us: The You Tube clips really helped garner enthusiasm for something new. We also got our kids to buy in by giving them two choices (both of which we were excited about) and letting them pick. We purchased seats close up, but were prepared to exit early if necessary.
  • Local Universities Often Have Fantastic Touring Companies: If you live in a small town, it's not necessarily a dance vacuum. Many companies tour universities and smaller cities, so check our your local educational institutions for great performances.
  • Pilobolus is a Great First Experience: Click here for their 2007-08 tour schedule.
  • So You Think You Can Dance is touring the US this fall. Click here for a schedule of when the star-studded troupe will come to your city.
  • Before You Go: Remember to have kids use the rest room; if you leave during a performance, it is unlikely you will be able to sit down again until that portion of the program is over.

Our City Editors' tips for enjoying this Popcorn Adventure around the USA:
  • Anywhere: Google your city + name of the dance company you would like to see, or dance performances.  Add in 2007 -08 so you pull up this year's schedule.
  • Boston: The Boston Dance Alliance website includes a calendar of dance performances with choices from tango to modern dance.  At the Boston Ballet treat yourself to world class performances of La Sylphide or Swan Lake.
  • Chicago: See Chicago Dance.com is a great site allowing you to search for performances by dance company, type of dance, neighborhood or venue.  For a night of classic ballet,  The Joffrey Ballet performs Giselle beginning mid-October.
  • Houston:  The Dance Card website is a great source for finding a variety of dance performances around the area. Head to the Houston Ballet for Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, or Cinderella.
  • New York: The Joyce Theater, in Chelsea, is a great venue for more avante garde dance. There you'll find companies such as the Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, and Feld Ballet.  Symphony Space also has dance concerts, including ethnic dance companies like the Urban Bush Woman. The New Victory Theater specializes in kids and family entertainment. This season's dance performances include and Irish tap group, a classic and latino inspired ballet, and a troupe fusing skateboarding, basketball, music and dance.
  • San Francisco: You'll find it all at Bay Dance.com. This thorough website lists dance companies, and performance calendars for a large variety of dance styles.  For ballet, the San Francisco Ballet offers a diverse international repertory of powerful performances.
  • Washington, D.C.: This season at The Kennedy Center you'll find a variety of dance performances including, the American Ballet Theatre performing Sleeping Beauty, Mexican folk dancing from the Los Angeles based Pacifico Dance Company, and the high energy rhythms of DC based company, Step Afrika!  Join Max on a wild rumpus as the Washington Ballet performs Where The Wild Things Are. They will also be performing family favorites Cinderella, and Peter and the Wolf.

 
Want more? Here are KOTC's picks of films, books, music, and websites that connect your family to more culture.



Click here to visit the Kids Off the Couch store at Amazon.com.


Click here to visit the Kids Off the Couch store at Amazon.com.