Monday, April 18, 2016

Ribbon/Scarf/Fan Choreography Made Simple

*Updated 3.9.217

I came across a blog post about using fans and scarves recently and it inspired me to look again at a previous post I had about using Movement Cards I created a couple years ago.  The original post is here.
I have many different kinds of ribbon streamers but all were homemade.  My favorite are made out of dowels and have fishing bobber atttachments (they twirl!) so don't get wrapped around students arms! I have also attached ribbons onto new elastic hairbands, and these work well for going around the wrist, although I prefer the ones on sticks as students have more control "drawing" with them in the air. 
Here is how mine are made:  6 - 7 feet of ribbon works perfectly and will not get tangled!  The silver stick is a yard stick (spray painted silver for the North Skelton Sword Dance).

And here is how the fisher bobber attachments look once placed:

Lots of music can be made into a fan/ribbon/scarf dance, from traditional instrumental folk recordings to classical pieces, from Indian folk to Spanish flamenco music. 

Here is one idea for using a piece with the movement cards:

Tale of Two Villages                                                                             
Source: Music for Creative Dance by Eric Chappelle, Contrast & Continuum, Volume 1,     available from itunes


Formation: Individuals scattered around room

Prepare for movement:

Move only arms to the beat for 8 beats, teacher plays drum for 8 beats

Move only one leg, etc., experiencing various levels of movement (high, middle, low), shapes created with body (circle, triangle, etc.), and ways of moving  (twist, leap, jump, walk, bend, slither, sway, melt,etc.)

A Section:  Non-locomotor movement (stay in place, move body to the beat)

B Section:  Locomotor movement (travel and move body to the beat)

“Notice what your neighbors are doing, try something you see someone else doing”

Discuss words to describe movement, discuss the activity; lead to discovery/labeling of same/different, “A” and “B” sections of music.

Another day use ribbon wands and UPP; half the class has ribbon wands, half the class has UPP.

Ribbon wands will watch as teacher changes shape cards below * on A section (mbira/kalimba playing on recording)

UPP players will improvise on B section (drumming)


Movement Cards:  Right click to save, import into powerpoint or other graphics-friendly program, enlarge, print onto cardstock, laminate and cut apart!


  1. I'm wondering if you could explain how you constructed your favourite ribbon + dowel + fishing bobber combo. (You lost me at fishing bobber, but I'm sure this is the secret!) With our spring break coming up, I'm planning to make our school's first set - and would love to get it right the first time around :)

  2. I am adding a few pictures to show how to make them - you will LOVE them!! Adding them right now!

  3. Brilliant application of the ribbons on dowel sticks in my preschool music programmes - with the covid 19 situation of keeping students 'in one spot / isolated '- this has proven so much fun - thank you , love your blogs and posts.Greetings from Johannesburg, South Africa


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