• The month of March is an exciting time for Dance Exploration students as we explore children’s literature through dance and movement! This is part of our Read Across America celebrations and the Dance Me a Story Program™.  Dance Me a Story™ (formerly the Terpsichore Literacy Program) is an aspect of the Dance to Learn® Curriculum that focuses on reading comprehension by retelling a story and exploring the characters through dance activities and choreographic principles. Each month in our Toddler and Preschool Dance Exploration Programs, we read, dance and explore a new story; but in the month of March – each week is devoted to a new story! So what are our favorite Dance books? Here’s our list of the Top 5 Dance and Movement books for kids! 

  • Florrie Flamingo's ABC's of Dance

    Creative Dance
  • One of our favorite books to read to our Creative Dance classes during the month of March is Florrie Flamingo’s ABC’s of Dance! This fun book introduces dancers to ballet and dance terminology from A to Z! Each letter features an adorable, bright, flittering flamingo named Florrie who is illustrated performing the movement. Each page includes a short, one lined rhyme which helps students remember the dance moves and the meanings. One example could be the word coupé: “Find your Ankle for Coupé! It may be called baby Passé!” 

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    Why we love this book: 

    1. Bright, Colorful Illustrations!
      Florrie Flamingo’s ABC’s of Dance contains bright, colorful images showing Florrie Flamingo performing each movement in correct ballet technique. 
    2. Teaching Dance Concepts Creatively!
      We love this book because of all the dance activities we can play that also incorporate dance concepts. For example we could discuss which movements in the book are locomotor moves (moves that travel) vs non-locomotor moves (moves that stay stationary) we can turn this into a fun game of freeze dance. We can also combine multiple movements together in an obstacle course where dancers perform a locomotor movement through the course, then pause to perform a non-locomotor movement from the book.
    3. Easy to Remember Ballet Phrases! 
      We love the short, easy to remember verses that describe each movement. We use these year long when teaching to help students remember their terminology as well as memorize a short dance phrase. 
    4. Our Director is the Author! 
      Yes, we may be slightly biased since our founder and owner, Jessica Clayton, wrote the Florrie Flamingo Books for Ballet Class Series. However, she created Florrie Flamingo specifically for the Dance Me a Story™ Program and is so excited to see our students grow and bond with a character! Students always shout “Miss Jessica I see Florrie Flamingo!” She’s such a lovely addition for our Creative Dance Classes! 

    Florrie Flamingo's First Ballet Class

    Florrie Flamingo Ballet
  • Our Second book in our Top 5 Picks for Dance books to read during Read Across America month, is also from the Florrie Flamingo Books for Ballet Class Series. In Florrie Flamingo’s First Ballet Class, Florrie Flamingo joins Bella Bear at her very first ballet class. Florrie meets friends in class who have been dancing ballet for a while, including Swanhilda Swan and Oscar Ostrich. Although Florrie loves ballet she has a difficult time mastering all the moves in this first ballet class, but Bella Bear sees potential in her. With a little hard work, practice and determination she thinks Florrie Flamingo can be a ballerina yet!

  • We could not have a list of top 5 Dance and Movement books for Read Across America month and not include a Dr Seuss story! The Cat in the Hat is such a fun children’s book filled with so many action words and characters which makes it so simple to incorporate into our Teddy Bear Hip Hop Dance Classes! Our students love it because of the fun movement adventures they get to go on as well as the silly games they get to play! “Up up up with the Fish!” is probably one of their favorite games as they practice crab walks, bear crawls and get to dance with a friend like “Thing 1” and “Thing 2!”

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    Why we love this book: 

    1. Fun and Silly Dance Games!
      Dr Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat” is filled with so many fun adventures it makes it incredibly easy to incorporate the adventures right into our Teddy Bear Hip Hop classes. One fun game is the “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” obstacle course where two dancers have to bear crawl and crab walk through an obstacle course while trying to balance a fish on their tummies and backs (a game we like to call ‘Up Up Up with a Fish). Then they have to try to fly their kite down the hall without bumping into any thing by performing some high tutting moves while dancing in a zig zag pathway! 
    2. Teaching Dance Concepts Creatively!
      We also love this book because we can teach Dance Concepts creatively. We can learn the concept of Anatomy by balancing our ‘Fish’ on different parts of our bodies. Such as balancing the fish on our knee during a chair pose. We can also learn different body shapes such as straight, angular or twisted as we attempt to keep the fish balanced as we contort our bodies into different hip hop freezes. 
    3. Dr Seuss is an Icon! 
      Dr Seuss is such a beloved icon that it’s important we introduce his stories during the month of March to celebrate the author’s work! 

    Ballerina Rosie

    PreBallet
  • “Ballerina Rosie” by Sarah Ferguson is such an uplifting story for first time ballerinas entering our PreBallet classes. The story is about Rosie who takes her first ballet class but struggles with all the moves. She loves dancing at home but finds ballet class to be hard, and she always feels really awkward compared to the other girls. This makes her feel discouraged. At the end of the story Rosie’s instructor, Madame Natalie, gives her a special pair of shoes. The shoes belonged to Madame Natalie when she was a young girl. In the new shoes Rosie feels unstoppable and loves wearing them to ballet class. Madame Natalie reminds Rosie that her love and desire to dance comes from within and not from the shoes. 

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    Why we love this book: 

    1. Reminds Students to never give Up!
      We love that the moral of Ballerina Rosie, is that no one should ever give up or discouraged. Everything takes practice to improve and get better, this is such a great lesson for dancers entering our PreBallet program
    2. Interactive Story that Integrates into Class!
      Ballerina Rosie has many moments throughout that can integrate right into PreBallet classes. From warm up activities such as pointing and flexing to put on her ballet slippers to practicing the movements such as arabesque, pirouette and tendu! 
    3. Includes Ballet Terminology and Illustrated Pictures! 
      Ballerina Rosie includes beautiful watercolor illustrations that show Rosie and the ballerinas in her class performing the correct technical ballet movements as well as the ballet terminology associated with those moves. 
    4. Fun Props!  
      Our favorite aspect of this book is the fact that each dancer in our PreBallet classes get their very own ribbon to dance with to signify the special ballerina shoes that Madame Natalie gives to Rosie. Dancers get to twirl, leap and free dance with their ribbons as they please building their own self-confidence. 

    Yertle the Turtle

    Ballet/Tap Combo
  • Our last book in our list is another story by Dr Seuss “Yertle the Turtle!” We incorporate Yertle the Turtle into our Ballet/Tap combo classes. Normally Ballet/Tap combo is made up of 30 minutes of ballet and 30 minutes of tap. For Read Across America Month we focus on Ballet for a full hour one week and tap for a full hour the next to allow plenty of time for us to read our story, dance our story and explore our story! We loved introducing this fun story to our Ballet/Tap classes because of all the fun ‘follow the leader’ type games we could play! 

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    Why we love this book: 

    1. Dance Games about Leadership!
      Dr Seuss’s “Yertle the Turtle” allows dancers in our Ballet/Tap combo class to be a leader and lead the rest of the class through traveling tap moves that travel through different pathways. Whether the pathway be straight, zig zag or circular teaching students about the dance concept of pathways with the help of a fun and silly story. 
    2. Balancing Games!
      Yertle the Turtle attempts to balance as many turtles in a pile as he can so he can be the tallest creature around. We own a Yertle the Turtle stuffed animal which students in our Ballet/Tap combo classes love to try and balance on their heads as they perform tap moves like shuffle step and then make it harder by trying to balance Yertle as they shuffle hop step! 
    3. Dr Seuss is an Icon! 
      Dr Seuss is such a beloved icon that it’s important we introduce his stories during the month of March to celebrate the author’s work! 

    Feedback!

    Thanks for reading and learning about our Top 5 Book Picks for Dance classes during Read Across America month! Do you own any of these books? Have you tried incorporating dancing or movement games with your child at home? Perhaps you’re a dance teacher looking to add literacy into your classes! Which books or ideas will you try next? Leave us a comment! 

    You can purchase any of the Florrie Flamingo books or products here!

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