As a preschool dance instructor, have you ever referenced butterflies in your imagery in class? The classic “butterfly stretch” with the bottoms of their feet together is a much-loved trick often implemented in baby ballet. However, there are so many more ways to tie in this ethereal, beautiful creature into your dance class! Being that spring is right around the corner (here in the States) thoughts of birds, flowers, butterflies and sunshine are keeping me sane!
Before we delve into wing classroom ideas, here is a little gem that we found online. The ballerinas in my class audibly gasped when I pulled this set of pretty butterfly wings out of my bag for the first time. They are available in a multitude of color options, but just keep in mind that little ones tend to covet certain colors when they are being passed out. Speaking from experience, it may be wise to select one color for your whole classroom set! These particular wings stretch the whole length of the child’s arms, and being made of chiffon they have a gorgeous “flow.” Check out our affiliate link by clicking here for purchasing info, or simply click on the image below!
- Traveling Wing Dance
This one is simple! Allowing the kids to travel around the dance space with these wings is a great release activity for their attention spans. Provide the kids with traveling steps like tip toe walks, chassé, or skipping and you will be amazed at the quality of movement the wings produce in the kids. There is something magical about mimicking a graceful butterfly in flight!
- Themed Dance
Create a quick and simple ballet dance to a song like “Wings” (by Saga Rosen) or “Touch the Sky” (on the Brave Soundtrack). Presenting your easy dance week after week is a great option because children thrive off repetition. Throw in the fancy wings and your kids will be begging for your “butterfly dance” year-round!
- Growing Butterfly Game
Teach your dancers about the metamorphosis of a growing butterfly! Suzanne Ciani has a beautiful song called “Butterflies” that is the perfect backdrop for this activity. Have them stand in a circle facing in. Start as an egg. They can balance on their bum with no feet or hands touching the floor – ab work! They can CRACK out of their shell into a Pilates V. Do this several times for more ab work, torso strengthening, balance, and control. Take them through the caterpillar inching into the circle and back out. Then they become a chrysalis, ball up, and sit very still. Next, out comes the beautiful butterfly that dances around the room! You can either let them perform a freestyle dance for the rest of the song, or you can take them through a circle dance to reinforce this formation and maintain focus.
- Any Steps that require long arms
Students struggling with lengthening their arms in arabesque? High fifth arms looking squatty and lifeless? Here’s your solution! With these wings as a prop, they will have a new visual cue when you ask them to stretch their wings. Encourage them to be the biggest, boldest butterfly in the garden!
We would love to see your kids in action as butterflies at ballet, whether you decide to purchase the wings mentioned above or not! If you are not interested in purchasing them, rhythm scarves can make a fabulous set of wings if you tuck them into the back of the leotard neckline, or under the spaghetti straps. Snap a picture and tag us (Studio To Go) on Facebook. Also, use #studiotogodance #stretchingourwings on Instagram. Have fun, use your own imagination, and the students will have a magical time!