Petite Feet: Ballet Adventures with Liz is Fabulous, Instructional Fun for Young Dancers
My friend, Michael Roderick, recently introduced me to an amazing woman, Liz Vacco. Liz is well versed, sweet, and has an evident passion for dance and dance education. From the moment we connected, I easily understood the success behind her dance classes and her products. Specifically, her inaugural DVD, Petite Feet: Ballet Adventures with Liz, is a brilliant resource for dance educators that work with young students.
The DVD is 26-minutes in length. targets students ages 2-5, and features the following segments: warm-up, ballet exercises, port de bras exercises, a freeze waltz game, and an interactive movement story entitled “The Dancing Dolls”. Liz leads the students through the exercises in song as her animated, costumed friend “Waldo the Walrus” plays the piano. The students are engaged, responsive, and curious, and her instructional methods are highly effective.
For stretching, Liz takes familiar stretching metaphors to a heightened level. She has created songs that instruct students through: a point and flex exercise based around “putting toast in the oven”, a butterfly stretching exercise based around “rainbow painting”, and a “pizza baking” center stretch that incorporates the elements of adagio and allegro. Her students also go on an airplane flying adventure and practice counting in English, Spanish, and French (an educational component that I love).
For center ballet exercises, Liz excitedly leads her students through plies in first and second position, a releve series, a pique series, and a saute series. She also has a fun way of teaching port de bras through singing the tunes of The Alphabet Song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
Before entering her interactive movement story, Liz allows her students to take a fun break and play “Freeze Waltz”. The students learn to count waltz time and identify the tempos of moderato, adagio, and allegro.
“The Dancing Dolls” interactive movement story is quite brilliant. Using the locomotor skills of walk, chasse, bourre, and sauté, Liz incorporates the skills of progressions and sequencing into a child-friendly story. As themed dolls appear in the story, students also work on marching, kicking, jumping, an allegro tiptoe, an adagio tiptoe, isolations, plie, pique, and releve.
At the end of class, the students sing a goodbye song and perform a reverence.
Liz clearly knows how to engage her young audience in an effective, educational way, and I would highly recommend that anyone working with younger students study and learn from her techniques.
Dance educators can purchase Petite Feet: Ballet Adventures with Liz DVD (an incredibly reasonably $20) or stream it via Amazon Instant here.
You can read more about Liz and her Petite Feet dancing adventures here. And, to read more about her classroom teaching style, check out her interview on Maria’s Movers (another fabulous blog for dance educators).
This DVD is such a treasure to the educational dance world. We can only hope for more Petite Feet DVDs in the future. To stay “in the know” of Petite Feet’s latest happenings, follow their Twitter!