Open Class or Informance “To Do” List

We just had our Informance – ‘informal performance’ – which we also call ‘Stay Day’ or ‘Open Class.’  We invite parents, family members, and friends to come, watch, take pictures or video, and best of all – PARTICIPATE!  This is the only class where parents can see what a typical class looks like. Otherwise, we are closed to observation.

In the fall, Creative Dance is a mentoring program for college students learning to teach, so we have several people sharing leadership during the lesson. My role is to narrate the rationale behind each section and to lead the final closure activities.  In the spring, I teach with one assistant only, and we trade leadership throughout. I continue to narrate before each lesson component.

I asked my students to come up with a “To Do” list that would help them plan future open classes.



Informance/Open Class “To Do” List

At the beginning of the semester, include information about the Open Class. Two weeks before, remind parents about the upcoming informance/open class. The week before, post signs and send out an email reminder.

Print out business cards or flier promoting the class for the next semester and for referrals.

Throughout the semester, track favorites activities from the lesson for Exploring the Concept, Developing Skills, and Creating.

Select from among those favorites to write lesson plans, keeping in mind the possibility of parent participation. Make sure the lesson plan is very complete. Divide up lesson sections among teachers and assistants. Practice parts thoroughly so as to be competent and relaxed in front of the parents.

Have a prepared introduction. This includes introducing all teachers and assistants and a brief summary of the concepts that we’ve worked on during the semester.

Have a prepared short description of the whole lesson structure, with specifics presented before each activity (including the rationale for each component). Integrate remarks into the lesson plan so all teachers and assistants know what’s coming, to help with class flow and a sense of community.


Set up seating for “audience.”

Have a sign when the parents walk in saying “Welcome Dancers and Families” as one last reminder, and to welcome them into our classroom.

Clean/sweep the floor.

Have props and materials all ready set to the side, easy to find.

Have the concept on the board written clear and large so all can see.

Have music on a playlist, organized, easy to find.


Keep the before class-activity really simple, so anyone can join in. (We put out scarves)

Watch the clock or have a timekeeper to keep us on track.

Keep inviting parents and family members to participate throughout the class.

Make closing remarks, at which time you can get promo into parents’ hands.

Follow that with a fun, communal closing activity that includes everyone, and ends with the children and teachers organized for a group photo.

Be prepared for ‘hugs, hand shakes and high fives.”

Have parents help clean up.

Thank Everyone!

Note: A few activities (from Kate’ material) that work well for parent/child involvement in an open class:

Explore: Stick Together Game from Step on the Beat

Developing Skills (or Creating) for All: Apples and Oranges from Step on the Beat

Resting: Resting from Songs for Dancing

Creating (or Explore): Shape Maker/Shape Explorer from Step on the Beat

Closure: The Goodbye Song from Songs for Dancing





November 19, 2015. Tags: , , , , , , , . Recitals, Studio Teaching, Teaching Tips, Working with Kate's Material. Leave a comment.

Teaching the Developmental Movement Pattern Sequence (Braindance) through the lens of technique

If you are already doing the Developmental Movement Pattern Sequence found on my CD Brain Bop (also called the “Braindance” developed by Anne Green Gilbert), you might enjoy using these same 8 patterns to develop a technical warm up for your students ages 7 or 8 and up.

I suggest working with one or more colleagues to brainstorm ideas that work for ballet, modern, jazz or hip-hop. Start with one technique only, and develop a progressive warm up that follows the sequence while also teaching elements and principles of the technique.

Then, film or otherwise document the different sequences and keep them handy. They can be used on a rotating basis.

In my Creative Dance for Children seminar, college students divided into groups and created. I videoed and posted, so that whoever was lead-teaching had a point of departure.  The warm up was refined and improved upon from one week to the next.

In our ages 8-10 class, we divided our semester into 4 weeks each of modern, ballet and hip hop just for the warm up. The rest of the lesson followed a concept-based approach for technique, improvisation and composition. We did refer back to the  “technique of the week” in the across the floor phrases, layering on new technique ideas as they were introduced through the warm up over the course of the semester.

In preparation for our “Informance” (informal, open class), students decided ahead of time which of the three different warm ups they wanted to share. That became the warm up for the demonstration class, shared with parents and friends.

May 16, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Kate Kuper on Teaching Creative Dance, Studio Teaching, Teaching Tips, Warm Ups, Working with Kate's Material. Leave a comment.

Informance versus Recital

With our Fall semester closure coming up on Saturday, we’ve been talking about the difference between an informance and a recital (based on Anne Green Gilbert’s description in her book Creative Dance for All Ages (pp. 53 -55).  Here’s what my college students observed:

Why choose an informance over a recital?

1) An informance allows all the students to always be participating and to learn and watch each other. It is also a way to share information and all that the children have learned throughout the semester to the parents and guests attending. It is a chance to educate the community about the program and the benefits of creative dance. At a recital there is a lot of down time and emphasis on the performance instead of constant engagement and learning together.

2) In an informance we are able to explain concepts and interact with parents. They are able to see and experience the learning process as it occurs in the classroom versus just watching as in a recital. It is at this time that we are also able to explain the value of and benefits of creative dance.

3) An informance allows for the children to show and tell and their family can take part in the activities as well. A recital is all show and it is easy for the children to get nervous and shy. So the informance adds more value to the performance and everyone can experience what each other has learned.

4) An informance is much less pressure on the kids, allowing them to show what they’ve learned in a supportive and welcoming atmosphere. Informances are also more productive than recitals for the kids because the learning involved for a recital is very static (kids perfect the teacher’s choreography for many weeks), whereas when preparing for an informance, kids explore all dance concepts, practice movement combinations, collaborate with others, and create dances themselves. This is a much more enriching process.

5) With a recital you’re pushed to spend your class time “rehearsing” to prepare for it. Where as in an informance you’re still having the students explore even as they’re showing off to the audience. This way you’re sharing your progress and development with the viewer, instead of having them dress up and show off something that was laid out for them.

6)  I love the duality of an informance: informational and informal. What a great way to capture two aspects of this class and it’s purpose! Choosing an informance makes sense because it’s really showcasing the active involvement of the creative process. It isn’t just performing, it’s allowing for understanding and processing of why the dancers are doing what they are doing, and why the teachers are assigning the ‘assignments’ they assign. It allows for an opportunity to explain the benefits of creative dance and provides an opportunity to educate not only your students, but the community as well.

November 17, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Kate Kuper on Teaching Creative Dance, Recitals. Leave a comment.