This winter, the Children’s Museum is delighted to offer a pair of dance classes—Let’s Dance and Danceability—taught by Adam Baranello and Gail Baranello of A&G Dance Company. We recently caught up with Gail and chatted about her background in performance, why learning to dance is so valuable for younger children, and the importance of willingness. She was also kind enough to share a few of her picks for the perfect dance party playlist!
How did you get started with dance?
I started taking dance when I was 3 years old and never stopped! I studied all the way through college and started my company with Adam Baranello in 2005. Since then I have been performing nationally, choreographing for live performance and film and teaching dance education.
When did you begin teaching?
I started teaching as a teen as an assistant to my director and I also earned credit as a teacher’s assistant at my university in the dance department. I started my own dance education program in 2003.
Why is learning to dance particularly valuable for young children?
Dance is a great way to learn gross motor skills, musicality, and socialization simultaneously. It also instills a joy of music and movement and teaches language. Dance is universal so children can express their wants and individualism through dance vocabulary either verbally or through the body.
You’ll be teaching two classes, Let’s Dance and Danceability…how do they differ? What can kids expect from each?
The structure of both classes, in essence, will be the same. We will have an introduction that gives each child a moment to establish a sense of self within the group. We then go into group warm-ups, technique, patterns across the floor and throughout the class we throw in creative games which include using manipulatives. What will differ is the attention, pacing, and strategy depending on the needs of the students. It’s my job to adapt to their needs.
What would you say to someone who says that she/he just can’t dance?
It’s all about willingness. I don’t think kids as young as 3 and 4 know whether or not they can dance. I have yet to have a child resist my methods. It’s still about having fun! As kids get older and we move into adulthood there tends to be more resistance due to past experiences. I say just trust the process, don’t expect to be any good overnight, and have fun!
Name five songs that are a must for a dance party playlist.
- Rocketship from Adam Baranello (duh!)
- Can’t Stop the Feeling from Trolls
- Uptown Funk from Bruno Mars
- Crazy In Love from Beyoncé
- Hot in Herre from Nelly (Not at all appropriate for children, though!)
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