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Feature Review

Toca Dance
Price: $2.99
Runs on: iPad, iPhone, Apple TV
Ages: 4-12
For grades: P, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Teaches: rhythm, music, creativity
Turn your iPad or iPhone into your personal Swedish disco with five songs and three dancers that you can control like a marionette puppet. The "coding" of the dance routines is made easy by way of an innovative control mechanic that lets you visualize time and "fill up" a time line with dance moves. This app lets you easily do something very complex. Because the characters look real, and their motions can be mirrored this is a title that would be easy to dance along with, say in a preschool or elementary classroom with a big screen, and rain in the forecast.

You start by picking your characters from a carefully balanced (in terms of gender and ethnicity) crew, before going in the costume closet to pick a uniform, hat and song. Next, you pick your music and design your dance, which is performed in an endless loop. Your dancers always move in perfect unison as a thumping beat drives them on. This is an outstanding movement and music activity that supports multi-touch.

The last step is the performance where you can adjust the backdrop, layer over sound effects, or toss a bit of confetti onto your dancers. Routines can be saved to your photo library as videos. You won't find any polkas or classical music in the song library, unfortunately. While this app is excellent, one can imagine a future version (e.g., Toca Dance Me) where you can map your real face onto the bodies of the dancers, in the spirit of Toca Hair Me. Now that would be fun.

This app has the highest ethical standards, with no commercial content and a careful presentation of gender and ethnic characteristics with the dancers. Translation: besides a few body noises, there's nothing controversial about this app.

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CTR Apr 16 Entered 02/25/2016 by Warren Buckleitner, Modified 12/13/2016 by SOM