Tag Archives: choreography

“8Counts” by Joe’s Apps

Price: Free with In-App Purchases for $0.99

App Overview: This app  creates 8-count sheets for choreographers to notate and organize their choreography on their mobile devices. It allows users to write out their choreography in eight-count sheets which are organized and easy to read. The app also gives choreographers the ability to email the sheets to their students and even add the music to the file through iTunes.

Pros: The app is easily accessible for choreographers/teachers without the need for paper and pen/pencil. It is also great that it can be sent to dancers for review.

Cons: There seem to be a few bugs in the app that cause various problems, making it inconsistently usable.

Overall: It seems pretty handy and has a cool purchase feature where Siri does the counting for you. It is a bit basic for anyone who wants a more detailed way to notate their dances. Since the app is limited to a basic 8 counts, those using different counts may not find this useful.

Lesson Plan Central – a Goldmine of FREE Lessons!

Name of the website: Lesson Plan Central

Cost: Free, no sign-up needed!

About the website: Okay… I just found me a goldmine! This website has a mountain of basic lesson plans, which can be adapted to match the needs of your students. Some lesson plans are just a thought, but others are quite extensive and include video elements and assessments.

Possible classroom applications: This website prepares you to be a champion educator. Some lesson plan links include assessments, video, and other materials that one could use during learning segments. It’s a goldmine for novice teachers that have to build their curriculum in a short amount of time, but also offers inspiration for seasoned dance teachers.

Pros: Nothing but pros… There are so many ways to pick up new lesson ideas. And all for FREE! The lessons have everything you need, including being aligned to learning standards. What else could one need. Did I mention it’s FREE!

Cons: Truly… I couldn’t find any!

Rating: 5 out of 5

Dance Me Lite

Name of the app: Dance Me Lite

Cost: Free, but only 10 games can be played before having to pay for the $0.99 full version.

About the app: the app is pretty basic reaction game in which the player has to press 4 directional buttons to stay in the game.

Possible classroom applications:The app builds on eye-hand coordination, but can be adapted for the classroom if used with a smart-board and having elementary student-dancers match the directions with their feet. I haven’t tried this yet, but it might work using polyspots for the group, asking one student to press the buttons. Perhaps a fun introduction-to-tap lesson?

Pros: Children are obsessed with technology, and this might be a great way to reel in unmotivated students.

Cons: The app is designed for the iPhone platform, so it looks grainy when using on larger devices for students with gross motor skill challenges. It also looks grainy when using on a smart-board. The avatar of the app is a triangular looking character that does not look dynamic at ALL.

Rating: 1 out of 5; not really worth the download…

Browsec – a site that unblocks YouTube at schools

Name of the website: Browsec

Cost: Free!

About the website: the website enables you to surf the web freely bypassing blocked websites like YouTube by hiding your IP address. It allows you to visit sites blocked by your ISP or corporate firewall.

Possible classroom applications: The site offers a platform that enables teachers to access certain internet websites that are blocked on conventional servers. Teachers can offer videos and articles that are normally not available in educational institutions. Surf to the

Pros: Ever been in a bind, and discovered that you have missing instructional materials? Browsec is your friend during these times. It works on practically any computer and any browser.

Cons: Many high school students have learned to avoid blocked web content, but it would be best to not share this resource with students that are not “in the know.” There is a solid reason why certain websites are blocked, and it would be in the students’ best interest to keep it this way.  I have encountered the site to be down on two occasions, so it’s not a back-up system that one can count on 100%.

Rating: 4 out of 5

“Dances for an iPhone” – a gem of an app…

Name of the app: Dances for an iPhone 3 (a.k.a. iDances 3)

Cost: Free!

About the app: the app is a collection of choreographic works created especially for iPhones and iPads. This is the third episode of the app, and previous renditions are currently unavailable. Recently iDances 4 came out, which is dedicated to Stephen Sondheim. More info can be found at dancesforaniphone.com.

Possible classroom applications: The app offers a salient alternative for performance reviews. Students can select one of the dances and write about the work in their journal or answer a prompt for an essay. Since many of the dances are performed by NYC dance icons, it’s also a valuable addition to biographies of them. Some of these icons are Carmen de Lavallade, Risa Steinberg, Deborah Jowitt, and Janis Brenner.

Pros: These days youth is obsessed with mobile devices and technology. This is a terrific way to build on their interests! iDances 3 is a worthy alternative to live performances, and can be used as the basis of dialogic conversation, written essays, and comp study classes.

Cons: Dance-for-film is a terrific medium that can integrate everyday-life and the performing arts. It baffles me that the videos all have been filmed in dance studios. What’s stopping the makers of this app (Riachard Daniels a.o.) to venture out to the streets and perform the dances on interesting NYC locations? Last but not least, these dances expire after a while. iDances 1 is currently unavailable, and iDances 2 will disappear soon as well!

Rating: 3 out of 5

Choreoloop

Name of the application: Choreoloop

Cost: Free!

About the app: the app is created for dance makers and is the perfect tool to loop music excerpts. Choreographers can custom-create a loop anywhere in a song, and practice their movement sequence. The app is also perfect for musicians that wish to practice a song excerpt.

Possible classroom applications: the app is perfect for rehearsing freshly taught movement phrases. Young dancers often learn through repetition and Choreoloop is a great way to practice a sequence without having to find a starting point in the track time and time again.

Pros: The app is easy to use and helps public school dance educators save valuable time during sessions. It’s the ultimate set-it-and-forget-it during any type of movement rehearsals.

Cons: The app works seamlessly with your iTunes library, but unfortunately can’t be used with other music apps like Spotify. Also, the iTunes search engine cannot be used through this app. Graphics look grainy when used on larger iPad screens.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

“QDancer” by QuaverMusic.com

Cost: $1.99

Description: QDancer allows you to pick from a set of dance styles. Within each style, you can select movements to create choreography.

Pros: It is fun to use and is a great visual tool when wanting to test out choreography before teaching it.

Cons: The amount of movements available is limited; it would be nice if the list became a bit more extensive.

Conclusion: Overall, this app is really fun and helpful. If this app were to become more advanced and extensive, I think it would be genius!

Stars: ****

Dot Dot Dot, an app by 2wice…

Name of the application: Dot Dot Dot

About the app:
Dot Dot Dot is an app that offers a maze of video dances filmed from various perspectives (i.e., bird’s-eye view, eye level). The user can switch perspectives by swiping the screen. This digital tablet platform features one male dancer that performs in a white world covered in red and black dots and pillars. Choreography is by NYC-based Tom Gold, who’s work is classical ballet based.

Dot Dot Dot is $0.99 and is worth every penny! It combines dance, music and interaction. When seeing the dance from above the app is interactive, and great fun for younger students. It was launched in 2013 by 2wice Arts Foundation.

Possible classroom applications:
The red and black dots seen on certain screens are reminiscent to spot markers often used for younger children. This offers a great opportunity for kids to connect to the dance on-screen. I plan on using this as a culminating event to an elementary school unit that plays with these dots, kinesphere, and general space. Students can compare and contrast their dances to the one offered in the video in a classroom discussion.

Pros:
The app offers countless screens that guarantees hours of classroom fun. It’s effective for younger students, and offers soothing and playful choreography and music. The app can be the basis of movement explorations, but also can offer a culminating event to a unit.

Cons:
I have so far not found any glitches or problems with this app, but will report if I do in the future.

Rating:
5 out of 5!! (Gold star, A++!!)

Passe-Partout, a NYCB app

Name of the application: Passe-Partout

About the app:
Passe-Partout is a pretty straight-forward app designed specifically for iPads. Five complementing dance solo’s and duets are layered with one another by the user, building on the notion of choreographing a dance. The choreography is by Justin Peck, who many people know as a soloist and Resident Choreographer of New York City Ballet. The app is $0.99, and is designed by 2wice Arts Foundation.

Possible classroom applications:
The Passe-Partout app is great to use as part of units that focus on contemporary ballet, male ballet dancers, New York City Ballet, or elementary choreographic devices like unison, canon, or mirroring movement. The app can also be used in a unit based on the work of Justin Peck. This is a hot-topic since he just had his theatrical release of his dance documentary film Ballet 422.

Pros:
The app is a wonderful tool that highlights men-in-dance. In modern-day society this is rather important, especially in low-income areas like Hunts Point where I currently teach. Passe-Partout is perfect to use to illustrate choreographic devices on the smart-board, but make sure to only tap one of the colored tabs to make sure only one layer of the dance is showing.

Cons:
I initially had high hopes for this application, but was rather disappointed with the product. Besides the beautiful dancing, and choreography by Justin Peck, there’s not much to it. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many layers the app offers, and can make students feel overwhelmed. It’s also not usable on smaller devices. The buttons are too close to one another, even for small children’s fingers.  Additionally, while creating the 2-dimensional dance, the user can’t pause the composition. Worst of all, the top bar that generally indicates time and battery power is invisible while in the app. When on older iPad models, the app also crashes and freezes. Not good when you’re in the middle of a 40-minute lesson!

Rating:
1 out of 5 (A two thumbs down… A rotten tomato… A Vaudeville hook yanking Peck off the stage!)

Fifth Wall: an App With a Myriad of Applications

Name of the application: Fifth Wall

About the app:
Fifth Wall is an app designed specifically for iPads that explores possible connections between choreography and technology. The app is a platform in which four to five squares, that feature a “trapped dancer,” can be mixed. There are three basic ways to combine the screens from which users then can rearrange new compositions. Fifth Wall was produced by 2wice Arts Foundation in 2012, and costs $0.99 .

Possible classroom applications:
I used Fifth Wall during a unit that focus on Laban concepts of space. Many students found the app fun! That said, Fifth Wall will hopefully draw the class into the academically drier concepts of Laban Movement Analysis. The app can also be applied to introduce movement devising. I have used this app, asking students to create a movement phrase on the floor based on the dance offered in the app. The assignment was successful, but feel this mainly happened because students were proficient in devising movement.

Pros:
The app fun to use, and will easily pull in your students. It’s a great way to trick your class into devising movement, even when they’re new to this.

Cons:
Fifth Wall is hard to use on smaller devices, and in order for assignments to stay student-centered, you need a few devices to make it work. Since the app is $0.99, it’s difficult to ask students to download the app, and spend their money. Not to mention, if they have smart phones, their parents or caretakers will most likely will have to pay. Moreover, creating compositions is extremely difficult on smaller devices, since you have to tap outside of the boxes to see the menu bar. This also has proven to be problematic on the iPad for elementary school students with small motor skill challenges.

Rating:
2.5 out of 5