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Toca Dance app review

toca dance titleSo, you think you can dance? Bust a move with Toca Dance (March 2016; iOS only). Much like Siân’s fave Toca Band, this latest Toca Boca app is weird and wonderful, with an emphasis on creative, exploratory play. (I also love the quieter Toca Nature.)

First choose your performers, then outfit them with costumes and accessories. Then it’s off to rehearsal, where you create a phrase of up to six movements for choreographer Ebi to drill with your dancers. Just drag Ebi’s full body or specific body parts to indicate movement. Each part of your sequence can be as brief or lengthy as you like; you can easily redo an individual movement or reorder them. The movement possibilities are somewhat limited — head and arm movements, side-to-side traveling, and level changes such as squats and vertical jumps — so don’t expect much in the way of fancy footwork. But, given that these are two-dimensional dancers we’re talking about, you can still create a pretty sweet choreography (and Toca Boca promises they’re “gonna keep working” on the app for more options).

toca dance rehearsal

choreographing your piece: each colored dot represents one movement

Once you’re satisfied, put your dancers on the stage to perform your piece. They repeat your phrase until the end of the upbeat song, then take an elaborate curtain call. Participate as an audience member by applauding or booing, throwing roses or eggs throughout the performance. You can even add pyrotechnic or smoke machine effects. At the end, the app gives you the option to save a video of the show.

toca dance performance

The free version provides three performers (humans K-Boy and Märta, and bunny Sahar), eight costume pieces, and one song. That should be plenty to keep you dancing for a while…but if groove is in your heart, upgrade to the full version for many more, wackier options in each category (robot dancers! pizza costumes!) and additional staging effects. The locked parents’ section gives some usage tips, such as the suggestion to dance your brand-new choreography in real life.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 7.0 or later); free to try, $1.99 for full version. Recommended for primary users and up.

Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.

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