How to start a dance group or dance classes for kids

You can start a dance group or teach dance classes for young children aged 2-7 years using the Pirate Sessa’s dances – and you don’t need to be a professional dancer to do it. As long as you set expectations right initially – that it’s all about simple dance moves for kids and having fun together, and that you are the leader.
Are you a parent who wants to start a dance group for fun or a person working in school surrounded by children who love dance and movement to music?

Then you’ve come to the right place! Dance activities for kids are a fun activity and great exercise.

By using your will power and having the positive attitude all set, you will be able to learn the dances and learn how you can do to inspire young kids to dance together with you (and the Pirate Sessa).

You need one of the apps Kids Dance with the Pirate Sessa in the Castle or Kids Dance with the Pirate Sessa in the Dungeon so you get access to the dance videos and music. You can then use both choreography and music in your dance classes.

How to learn the dances and these easy dance moves for kids using the apps

Pick a few of the dances in one of the apps and learn them. Practice, practice, practice.

The moves don’t need to be perfect but it’s important that you learn them so well that you can do them the same way every time, otherwise the children will be confused.

Preparation and dance class outline

Children like to recognize and repeat things, to know what comes next from time to time. So you need to prepare a dance class outline, which is recommended to be the same every lesson.

Begin the dance lesson the same way each lesson, children like when there is a predetermined schedule. Use the same principle when you teach the dances, do it the same way every dance lesson and teach the dances in the same order every time.

Finish the dancing part with Freeze Dance towards the end and then gather the children, and read a greeting from the Pirate Sessa if you want to.

4-8 children is an suitable size per group of dancing children, divide by age and mix girls and boys. A class lenght of 30-40 minutes and 3-5 dances tend to be good for children ages 2-7 years.

Dance class outline
Start with a gathering and an introduction. It’s important to think this through in advance, how you are going to start strong, and then do the same each dance class (if it works well, otherwise change to something that works better).

  1. 1. Suggested gathering and introduction
    Gather and sit down in a circle for a short while and say ”now we are going to dance Pirate Sessa’s dances”, and then introduce Pirate Sessa shortly. Tell the short story – that her father is a pirate and her mother is a princess and that right now the Pirate Sessa is on the pirate boat, out on the big oceans, and that she likes to create fun dances for kids.

    Introduce yourself by saying your name and let the children say their names, if you do not already know each other of course.

    If there is a school group or a group of friends where children already know each other, you can skip the names and go directly to get everyone’s thoughts set to dance.

  2. 2. Transitioning from introduction to start dancing
    Before you start dancing, it’s good to get the group set to dance, so the thoughts and the focus are set on dance. A great way to do this is to talk about dance.

    Go the circle around, you start and say for example:
    ”I like to flap my arms like a butterfly when I dance, what do you like to do when you dance?”
    The children usually answer ”spins”, ”jumps”, and so on.

    Then you can move on by saying something like:
    ”Today we’re going to do both spinning and jumping – and flapping our arms like a butterfly, we’ll start with Pirate Sessa’s Butterfly Dance.”

    Stand up and tell the kids that it’s time to stand up and start dancing. You choose if you wanna dance in the circle or if you stand at the front facing the group and the children are in a group and looking at you. (The kids will mirror what you are doing because you face them.)

    It’s of course also an option to use Pirate Sessa’s apps by connecting the iPad to a smart board or via Apple TV, if there is an opportunity for it and that way let Pirate Sessa be dance teacher and show the dances if you prefer.

  3. 3. The dance lesson
    Turn on the music. Show the dance videos or teach the dances yourself – dance and let the kids watch and mimic, the kids will do their best to keep up. Repeat and repeat and repeat. Do the same dance over and over again.

    The most important thing is to feel the group, it’s better to keep the level low so that everyone feels successful – so the kids feel ”I can do this” and instead work with additional challenges if any child has extra dance experience. If a child also dance in a dance school or have older siblings who dance a lot, he or she can maybe get to play ”dance teacher” sometimes, or show some moments when the music is off, for example.

    Tips for dance groups of children 2-4 years
    Go for 3-5 dances if you have kids dance for children 2-4 years, do the dances over and over again, the same dances lesson after lesson. You might think that it will be monotonous, but the kids love repetition and to feel ”I can do this, I’m good at this”.

    There is usually enough with three dances for younger children (repeat, repeat) and four or five in a group with older children.

    Tips for dance groups of children 5-7 years
    If you have children who are 5-7 years, you can introduce more and more dances over time, start with 3-5 the first time and then you can add dances.

    Let the group set the pace, rather wait an extra time to add a dance than to do too much, then the children lose the love of dance.

  4. 4. Suggested finish
    If you want to, you can do a ”thing” every dance lesson and tell the kids that you have received a message in a bottle from Pirate Sessa, there are 10 short stories from Pirate Sessa’s treasure hunt trip in Costa Rica in Pirate Sessa’s World, starting with:
    Greetings to YOU from Pirate Sessa’s treasure hunting

    So, if you want to you can finish each dance class by reading a story (”a message in a bottle”) aloud. (Then at the bottom right, you can then scroll to the next story.)

    It is a good and exciting finish ”let’s sit in the circle, the Pirate Sessa has sent us a message in a bottle, now you will get to hear from hear again”…

How to teach the dances to the children

The teaching method is ”mirroring” – watch and mimic. Kids are used to learn through repetition and by watching and then trying to do about the same, children learn things like that naturally from birth.

Tips when teaching the dances to the kids:

  1. 1. Tell what dance it is
    First, start by telling what dance you are going to do next. Turn on the dance videos, or the music if you show the dances yourself – and do the moves. Let the kids mimic and do their best to keep up. Repeat the same dance five times (at least). Turn off the dance videos/music in between if you wanna go through one or more moves a bit slower.
  2. 2. Focus on main moves, skip the details
    Focus on the main moves, each dance has a few ”main moves” and it’s easy to understand which they are in each song.

    You can go through the moves a little extra between each run-through if you want, but avoid going into too many details (there are not many details, the dances consist mainly large moves).

  3. 3. Repeat again and again and again
    Children need and like repetition. If you notice that several in the dance group have difficulty doing any of the ”main moves” after several repetitions, switch off the music/dance videos and go through the moves a little extra together. Show, show, show. Practice, practice, practice.

    Do not correct individually, always talk to the whole group, even if it’s only one that has difficulties – show the whole group.

  4. 4. Practice – and remember that own versions are okay
    Switch on the music/dance videos again and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

    Let the kids do the moves ”their own way”, it’s okay to do own versions, the important thing is that everyone is dancing and having fun.

    After enough repetitions, most of the kids will do the moves more and more like the way you do them, or as Pirate Sessa do them the dance videos.

If you have the opportunity to play the dance videos on a screen, smart board or Apple TV, you can play a dance at a time, run the video and do the moves while watching.

Then try turning off the screen and only listen to the songs and let the kids dance their own versions of the dances.

Show eller dance party?

IF the kids and you want to – you can invite the parents to a dance show after you have been practicing for some time. Choose to do one or more dances.

If you want to, you can divide the group into smaller groups, by age, for example, and let 3-year-olds do their favorite dance, 4-year-olds their favorite and 5-year-olds theirs.

Let the other children in the dance group sit next to or in a circle support their dancing friends.

Plan and adjust any show by age. Some of the younger children usually prefer to sit in the parent’s knees when it’s show time and it’s okay. Those kids think it’s fun that the parents are there and might be active dancing another time, when the time is right.

Slightly older kids may want to rehearse some dances and perform at the local shopping center, and perhaps take the opportunity to make a collection for charity for example. If you are doing a show, do it in a way so both you and the kids are having fun. Some kids love to do dance shows, som don’t – both are as okay.

Making your own dance props or own dance clothes

You can do a lot of fun things around the dancing, pottering to fix props and stuff. For example, collect old T-shirts to cut and make dance tank tops of, or pieces of fabric to hold in each hand and flap with in the butterfly dance or to use as a pirate bandana on the head.

It’s also possible to make pirate eye patch with paper, rubber bands and sequins or other bling bling.

A great show outfit is jeans and t-shirt. A cool uniform and something that most children already have at home.

Or you can go for a color theme – everyone wear something red, for example, and all bring red clothes and they can maybe borrow from each other if not all have. Someone might have several red shirts or red caps, and are willing to lend it to other.

If you want to use the dance concept on a wider scale (commercial)

If you want to use the Pirate Sessa’s dances at a gym or dance school, commercial use, such as dance classes as a regular part of the schedule at a gym or gym chain or in dance schools, for example – contact me first.

Then you need extra instructor training from me and the gym or dance school will pay an annual fee for the right to use Pirate Sessa’s dance concept commercially.

Please write and tell

Please email Pirate Sessa and tell how you and your dance group are using the dances, if possible I love to see pictures too. Pirate Sessa loves to hear about and see how you are having fun with the dances (I do not publish photos without permission so no need to be worried about pictures or videos spread by me).

Good luck dancing and remember = having fun is the most important thing when dancing the Pirate Sessas kids dance. /Pirate Sessa