A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dance! is a short movie (68 minutes) that contains animated characters and objects (e.g., a squirrel, a hot dog) singing and dancing. A frog and horse narrate as the film moves from one musical set piece to another, 19 in all. Each song lasts from one minute to five minutes, and shows one or more characters dancing either to a familiar kids' song with words (e.g., "I've Been Working on the Railroad") or a rhythmic instrumental. Animation is simple, at best. Each of the characters has about 10 seconds' worth of dance moves in the center of the frame and those moves are repeated over and over again until the song is complete. The backgrounds vary only occasionally. Music is synthesized, and the beat is nearly the same in each of the songs, though the style varies (Latin rhythm, rock sound, country flavor).
What's the story?
Kibit the frog (KJ Shrock) takes little kids on a journey looking for the best dancers on the planet in DANCE! Along the way he introduces assorted animals and objects that perform kid-friendly songs, either with vocals or instrumental. No story here. Buckeye Beaver dances to a song with an Elvis beat. Susie Squirrel stomps her feet to a guitar instrumental. Other characters include: Bun Burger, Mandy Mandarin, Frannie Frankfurter, Peter Pizza (who dances to "The Pepperoni"), and Nutty Nutcracker. A children's chorus is heard singing familiar tunes like "Old MacDonald," "Sing a Song of Sixpence," and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."
Is it any good?
There's simply nothing to recommend about this by-the-numbers, poorly animated, repetitive, and unoriginal effort. The dull, canned music is just the right accompaniment for the abysmal animation, the monotonous dance moves (10 seconds of motion, repeat and repeat again for up to five minutes). When such inventive children's music is available on CD, online, and elsewhere, opportunities abound for family-friendly, interactive song and dance. Dance! is not one of them. What a way to separate the parent-consumer from his or her hard-earned dollar!
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how singing and dancing are a toddler's first introduction to the musical arts. How does your family encourage musical participation for kids? How do you develop listening skills as well as interactive play?
Who are your favorite artists or groups that make music especially for kids? If you're in a middle grade or older, which songs have stayed with you? How do you feel when you hear them again and again?
What kinds of music do you like best? Try to make some music of your own. What household items can you use as instruments?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love to dance
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