Today we have a guest post from Tricia Gomez, the lady behind “Dance in a Box”…
1. How did the idea for Dance in a Box come about, and what is it?
In 2004 I got diagnosed with Lupus and I was teaching 21 classes a week. I had to cut back and was having trouble finding teachers that could teach hip hop to kids as young as 3. I had a very specific method and terminology that I used and I kept saying “I wish I had something with the steps on it that I could just give to the teachers and say ‘Here, teach these steps and make up a routine with them'”. That’s how the idea of the hip hop choreography cards came about.
I started cataloging 10 years worth of material and, with the help of a student’s mom who was a graphic artist, we designed 100 cards. Each card has it’s own hip hop step on it, complete with pictures, a verbal description and modifications! Hip Hop In a Box was the first choreography kit that we mass produced. It had the 100 mix-and-match hip hop cards, a DVD showing how to do each step, an Instrumental music CD and the “Teaching Tips Workbook”. It became so popular that teachers were asking for more steps.
We recently released 1-2-3 Dance, a 50 card kit! At www.danceinabox.com, we also offer original music CD’s that help a teacher’s teach rhythm and explain how to count 8-counts and find the “1” beat.
The mission of Dance – In a Box is to create products that make teaching easy. Hip Hop – In a Box and 1-2-3 Dance are so easy to use that teachers who are not hip hop “experts” are able to teach it to young children with confidence!
2. Can you talk a bit about how a teacher could use this?
I have to admit that when I created our first kit, Hip Hop In a Box, I never imagined how useful it could be. I made it for selfish reasons…I needed a way to easily train teachers who already worked with kids to teach hip hop. When I started testing the product with students, I found out that THEY loved to use the cards just as much as the teachers.
Here a few ways that Hip Hop – In a Box and 1-2-3 Dance can be used in class:
1. Teachers pull out the cards they want to use, put them in a straight line, link them together, fit it to the music and that’s your choreography! It’s great for those times when you need material on short notice (like if you are subbing) or if you just need a little inspiration.
2. It’s great on the days when you don’t feel well but still have to go in to teach. Use it as a choreography exercise with your students. For young kids (age 3-7), spread the cards out in the front of the room then have 1 kid at a time pick a card and teach it to the class. As more cards are picked, add them to the previous cards to create a group routine. For older kids (age 8 and up), separate them into small groups and have them choose their own cards to create small group routines. The more advanced they are, the more I encourage them to modify the steps and get creative.
3. The cards are great to play educational games with. I like to use them for musical hip hop chairs (instead of just walking around the circle, pick a card each time and the kids do that step in forward motion around the circle.) I also use them for hip hop obstacle courses, memory games, Simon says, red light/green light and much more!
3. Who should consider using this resource?
Currently, we have about 1500 dance studio teachers, school teachers, PE teachers, Rec. Centers and Special Needs Physical therapists using Hip Hop – In a Box, 1-2-3 Dance and other Dance – In a Box products! If you currently teach young children and want to add hip hop to your repertoire, our products make it easy to do so!
4. How much material is included?
In Hip Hop In a Box, you get 100 hip hop cards, an Instructional DVD, a music CD and the “Teaching Tips Workbook.” It retails for $69.95. 1-2-3 Dance includes 50 new hip hop cards plus a secret code to access a secret website that has over 250 instructional videos, 5 downloadable original instrumental hip hop songs, and a really cool video that shows you how to teach rhythm and counting to students (or maybe even yourself if you need brushing up!). 1-2-3 Dance retails for $35. Both kits, as well as supplemental music downloads are available at www.danceinabox.com!
5. What is unique about Dance in a Box?
The cool thing about Hip Hop In a Box and 1-2-3 Dance is that they give structure to a style of dance that is often thought of as willy-nilly-do-what-you-want and inappropriate for young children. The kits name each step and gives them specific techniques and placements. The steps are representative of things you already know how to do (Put Your Pants On, Pick Up Buckets, Crack a Stick) so it takes the intimidation our of hip hop. I like to call it “Disney-ish” hip hop. All of the steps are clean and appropriate (no booty popping).
If you do the steps in their basic for and repeat them for an 8-count, it’s perfect for 3-5 year olds. As kids get older, I like to shorten the repetition and add complexity to the steps…pretty much like ballet. We don’t ever stop doing the ballet steps that we learn when we are 3, we just layer and transition them in more complicated ways. The Dance – In a Box method is the same way!