The holiday festivities are in the air, and we are excited to ‘deck our halls’ today with a Magical Monday with the Magical Kingdom of Dance! Today’s focus is on an incredible product the company has created, the Alphamat, which is intended to guide, direct, and support your classes for young dancers.

Last month, you were introduced to the Dance Encyclopedia, Twinkletoes and the Magical Kingdom of Dance!  The other main component to this wonderful instructional program is the Alphamat.  The Alphamat is utilized to mentally and physically develop the preschooler and young beginner.  It encourages physical activity, develops muscular skills & coordination, and promotes and stimulates imagination,which also provides for dramatic play.  The familiar, illustrated characters from the book are drawn in one of the eight circles that serve a dual purpose of telling a story and explaining the movements of dance. The Alphamat is a wonderful educational tool for teachers and instructors to use as a curriculum base with the dance encyclopedia.

Research has shown that “One Picture is worth a thousand words.”  This is the premise that inspired Mary Alpha, a dance educator, to design and implement the “Magic Alphamat.”  The dance mat is designed like a stage with the proper Cechetti stage directions on the corners and numbered sides.  Each corner has a cast full of characters that associate a French term with a particular step.

The visual cues are helpful in directing students in a particular direction.  With the Alphamat, you can instruct your  young students to walk in a circle around their house, down the diagonal from the Rainbow (Corner 3) to the Apple Tree (Corner 1)and jump in front or in back of their house. The Alphamat can also be helpful for  students with learning disabilities and special needs since the visual cues can stimulate their learning process.

Some other magical elements of the mat are the spatial awareness and ease of discipline it provides each student. Each ballerina is given their own house and they learn that there is only one classroom rule, “You must stay in your house.”  This alleviates having six or more rules to enforce.  The mat prevents students from hanging on the barre, touching other classmates, pushing on the mirrors, and getting underfoot.  A quick reminder to get back in “your house” is an easy and quick rule to enforce that children will understand. Students love having their own personal “house” defined by a red square border.

In addition to the above benefits, the Alphamat is exceptionally beneficial when you introduce the eight body positions, as the dancer’s square and diagonals are visually drawn on the mat.  Therefore, proper hip placement and body alignment is easier to attain.  Any step, for any age can benefit from seeing exactly where to place the feet.

The Alphamats are sold in singles and in connected rows up to eight. This allows for each studio to choose the best arrangement for their classroom.  The mats will last for up to fifteen years with great care. They are a wonderful investment that can make your life easier and more fun!

The MKOD company offers a starter package which includes a teacher’s manual, instructional DVD, 12 righty red and lefty blue bracelets and footwraps,Twinkletoes and the Magical Kingdom of Dance Encyclopedia, Coloring Book, Flashcards, a Single Alphamat, and your choice of Alphamat rows. The starter package is an additional 15% off the already discounted price (use code ‘MKODChristmas’ at checkout through 12/24).

This is a great way to incorporate some variety and fun into your younger ballet classes! To see a video of the Alphamat in action, click here.

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 Attend the Dance Exec Seminar!