Sway: Magic Dance

App review by
Ana Beltran, Common Sense Media
Sway: Magic Dance App Poster Image
Fun motion filters transform kids into dance pros.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Created for entertainment and not recommended for learning.

Ease of Play

Includes step-by-step audio and video instructions. Overall, instructions are easy to follow and navigating the app is intuitive. 

Violence
Sex

Includes song options that may include sexy lyrics and suggestive dance moves. 

Language

Includes song options that may include profanity or mature language. 

Consumerism

App is entirely free, but it promotes certain dancers who share their work via Instagram. Users can click on the person's Instagram handle to access their page directly and have option to follow, like, comment. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sway: Magic Dance is an entertainment app that allows kids to transform everyday movement into popular choreographed dances. The app includes step-by-step instructions and a recording checklist to accurately capture movement. It'll prompt kids to make certain common moves, like stepping side to side or crouching down. Once kids record their avatar, they can choose from a list of songs and dance moves to work with. The app's motion filters automatically create a short video of users doing professional dance moves. Kids can then personalize their videos using the app's editing tools to swap backgrounds, change speed, and add stickers or previously created avatars. Adding avatars allows kids to create videos of more than one person dancing. Through the Discover feed, kids can browse videos that members of the Sway: Magic Dance community shared. Kids may come across suggestive or sexy dance moves and song lyrics that include mature language. Since the app incorporates dance inspiration from people that share performances on Instagram, kids can tap on a person's handle to connect to their Instagram page. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change. 

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What's it about?

SWAY: MAGIC DANCE uses motion filters to transform everyday movement into professional dance moves. Kids can create video clips of themselves or friends re-creating popular dance moves like the "Yummy," "Wild, Wild Whoa," "Flossing," and "Shuffling." Essentially, kids record themselves following a set of prompts in order to create an avatar that they can then assign to dances. They can scroll through the week's collection of dances or choose from ones created by professionals who post their moves on Instagram.

Once the app creates the video, kids can use the editing tools to "remix" it. They can swap out the background, draw directly onto the video, add stickers, text, filters, music, and they'll be able to trim and change the speed. All previously created avatars appear as sticker options to add onto future videos. Even though the original recording is limited to one person, this feature allows kids to create clips that include more than once person dancing. Kids will be able to share their videos to the app's feed or directly to other social media apps, including Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. They can also save it to their device's album. Kids can scroll through the Discover feed to browse user submissions and even have the option to "remix" those using the editing tools. 

Is it any good?

Hilariously fun motion filters allow even the most rhythmically challenged to see themselves perform popular dance moves that mirror those of a professional dancer. Sway: Magic Dance is a riot. Get ready to laugh! The app is extremely user-friendly and easy to navigate. The tutorial is helpful, and the checklist provides a quick little reminder of steps to follow for a successful recording. The recording prompts are consistently the same, but also permit for freedom of expression. Kids are prompted to crouch, swivel their head, or do a touchdown dance, and those movements are used by the app to produce incredibly funny dances that could pass for professional choreography. The quality of the videos does depend on the range of movement recorded for the avatar and overall quality of the original recording. In addition to dance moves to popular songs, kids can also use the avatar to make videos of themselves dancing ballet and doing karate moves. Families should be aware that although the app doesn’t have a messaging feature, it does provide a direct link to pro dancers' Instagram accounts, where they'll be able to like and comment freely. Also, there's no way to filter out mature lyrics. The app can run a bit slowly and sometimes freezes or closes on its own. It also limits the number of saved avatars to two. If you want to add additional avatars, previous ones need to be deleted. Although it's slightly inconvenient, this doesn't impact the overall fun experience. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can brainstorm different ways to use the editing tools to make unique videos when using Sway: Magic Dance. Although the motion filters create a predetermined dance, kids can personalize it. They can swap the background to an image from their camera roll. They can change the speed, trim the clip, or add stickers to make the video one of a kind. 

  • Since the app lends itself to social networking and includes links to Instagram, families can discuss expectations and guidelines for engaging with others via social media in a responsible manner.

  • Talk about song lyrics and dance moves. Are there any songs or lyrics that aren't OK to listen to? Why?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music and dancing

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