Virtual dance class blurs lines between virtual performance, educational TV, & traditional dance class.
The Dance Connection of New jersey uses costumes, virtual backgrounds, and stories to teach dance to preschoolers online… and parents love it!
Hillsborough, NJ – Date here – The Dance Connection of Hillsborough, NJ has launched a virtual dance class called Dancing Outside the Box for children ages 3-5 years old. The class combines elements of an educational TV series, a dance class and a virtual performance.
The virtual dance class fills a need for many parents of younger children who are looking for an engaging, and educational, activity to keep their kids moving from home. Each class has a limit of only 10 children. Classes meet weekly, just like a normal dance class and each week class there’s a different theme. Young dancers journey to outer space, the north pole, or to a pirate ship. There are dozens of themes.
David Kieffer is the owner of The Dance Connection and the creator of the Dancing Outside the Boxclasses. “When creating the class, we knew that, if we wanted to keep the kids engaged and learning, that we had to spark their imaginations” During the class teachers use multiple virtual backgrounds for each theme giving children the feeling of being part of a movie. “Each background is related to a new step, a short dance or a movement game. The teacher interacts with the backgrounds in fun, and sometimes silly, ways.” says Kieffer. “The children love it!”
The class teaches ballet and hip-hop steps and engages children in developmentally appropriate games and exercises. In addition to teaching dance steps children learn about the world along the way. “The class is educational too.” Says Kieffer. “If our theme is snow… of course we’ll do the penguin dance, but in the process, kids learn that penguins live in the south pole and polar bears live in the north pole.”
Parents of children in Dancing Outside the Boxwill love the perks that come along with registration for the class. Busy parents can opt in for regular text reminders before class. Families also have access to recordings of past classes so they can re-do the class as many times as they want. Plus, The Dance Connection has a highly available office staff. “We pride ourselves on getting back to our dance families quickly” says Bridget Macdonell, The Dance Connection’s office manager. “We want everyone to feel like they are part of our dance family, even if they are only taking class virtually.”
Dancing Outside the Boxwas launched in November of 2020 and started opening up to the wide world in December. Already, the program has students from all over NJ. Families from Connecticut, Washington DC and New York state have also started to join. Students from anywhere in the country, even the world, can take the class.
Located in Hillsborough NJ, The Dance Connection was started in 2007. In addition to providing its virtual Dancing Outside the Boxclasses, The Dance Connection offers in-person dance classes to children ages 3 through high school. Before the pandemic The Dance Connection also taught on-site dance classes at preschools throughout central NJ. David Kieffer, the owner of the studio, is a former professional dancer who has experience teaching dance to children from age 2 up through to the university level.