Watching the Dance Channel
Television not only revolutionized our world, but also revolutionized dance and brought different cultures into the living rooms of millions. Shows like American Bandstand, The Ed Sullivan Show, and Soul Train became whole-family activities that people around the world looked forward to each week. That trend has only continued today, as the internet and new sources of entertainment content like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon have made lesser-known dance styles and cultures easier than ever to access. Today, we'll take a look at how TV and the entertainment industry have both powered and shaped dance as we know it—and you'll get a chance to dream up your own dance show!
Ask About Today
What would your own TV dance show be like? What would be special about it?
Which current dance or dances do you think will be as memorable as the moonwalk someday? Why?
Skip the Ads
Unfortunately, online videos often start with short advertisements. Remind your campers to click the "Skip" button as soon as they can to move ahead to the video.
Jump on the Soul Train
One of the longest running nationally syndicated TV shows of all time was Soul Train. Young adults everywhere wanted to be on the show to show off their cool, coordinated outfits—but most important, to show off their dance moves. Take a look at some of the show's greatest performances and hear dancers reflect on their experiences in this video.
Remember: Online videos often start with advertisements. (Annoying, we agree!) Click the "Skip" button as soon as you can to move ahead to the video.
Teaching Michael Jackson to Moonwalk
One of the most iconic television dance moments of all time was when Micheal Jackson moonwalked his way into dance history. But many people don’t know that this legendary move was taught to him by a few teenagers who his manager had seen on Soul Train. Learn how they got a chance to be a teacher to this legend.
The Big Break
Elvis's performances helped pave the way for dancing of all styles to be accepted on television. That led to the creation of awesome movies and shows like Grease, Footloose, Fame, Flashdance and this iconic dance scene from Breakin’ that made break dancing more widely acceptable.
Small Screen, Big Stage
Televised dance competitions and shows like Got Talent have played a huge role in bringing dance culture to stages (and living rooms) all over the world. Here are some of the most memorable performances from America’s Best Dance Crew, the show that made the hip hop dance group Jabbawockeez world-famous.
Dancing Alone Together
With COVID-19 shutting down dance theaters and performance spaces worldwide, dance companies have responded by using online video to bring artists together virtually for new kinds of dance performances. Check out this one from the Birmingham Royal Ballet, featuring dancers and musicians performing from their homes.
When the Saints Go Dancing In
Here's the perfect way to end your week: Watch these 50+ talented kids from the National Dance Institute perform a virtual version of When the Saints Go Marching In... all from their homes.
Design Your Dance Show
The phone rings. It's the people at Disney+, and they have some big news! They want YOU to create a brand new dance show, just for kids. (They must have heard how much cool dance stuff you were learning about this week.)
So... what's your show going to be? Grab some paper and pencils or crayons, and get to work. You can print out this template to jot down your ideas, or just write on a blank sheet of paper. Think about these questions:
How will your dance show work? Will dancers compete with each other, like American Idol or The Voice? Or will it be more like a talent show? Or something else? What would make your show different and unusual? Does it focus on one kind of dance or many different kinds?
What would your show's tone and style be like? Is it a serious, artistic show focused on the dancers' talents? Or maybe a funny show where people have to try different types of dances they don't really know?
What should it be called? Give it a name that makes people say, "Whoa, I want to watch THAT!"
Are there any cool features? In shows like The Masked Singer, for example, you don't know who the performers are. In The Voice, the judges have those cool chairs that spin around. What features would your show include?
Other ideas? Is there a prize? Who's in the audience? What other things would make your dance show a hit?
Cha Cha Real Smooth
On our last day of dance, we're going to make sure you learn one of the greatest line dances of all time. That's right, it's time for the one and only Cha Cha Slide. Are you ready to move? Well, make some room because this one's going to activate all your dance muscles.