This music I play as students enter the room and I engage the students with a movement and body percussion copycat game. Some of the movements prepare students for the Dandiya stick dance we will perform later in the class.
Then this video filmed just this spring during Covid times (April 2020) with Anoushka Shankar and several students of her father, Ravi Shankar, famed sitar player.
Then I share the refrain of this song, "Diwali" from Manju Durairaj. Manju was born and raised in India. She is an Orff educator, Seesaw guru, and loves to share her culture and music. I read the book Diwali, below, inserting the refrain every 2 pages.
Then it's time to show some excerpts of Indian Garba and Dandiya dances. These are some videos I have used before:
Level 1 Dandiya Dance
I have a very sweet Mom at school who has been an enormous help in teaching me and helping me develop Dandiya dances for students. So very fortunate to have a culture bearer who loves to help others learn! Thanks to Mrs. Shah for this lovely (and accessible) dance!
A Section (refrain of song): Half note pulse - Clap R, Clap L, Clap both, Clap both. In non-Covid times I would teach it first with clapping a partner but with social distancing we modify it to clap own hands on the right side of our bodies, clap own hands on the left side of our bodies, and clap our hands twice in the middle.
B Section: Half note pulse - Step one foot forward, tap sticks overhead at the same time. Step same foot backward, tap sticks behind backs at the same time. Repeat.
The Dandiya sticks are passed out (I have some a parent brought from India and they are amazing - the kids LOVE them) although I have made them in the past using ribbons and dowels and they work great- rhythm sticks also work well. We perform with the sticks and the "Diwali" song from Manju above.
Level 2 Dandiya Dance
A Section: Same as above but face partners and the Clap R and Clap L become tap R stick with partner, tap L stick with partner, tap own, tap own.
B Section: Same as above but turn in place at same time.
Level 3 Dandiya Dance
A Section: Same as Level 2 - tap R stick with partner, tap L stick with partner, both sticks "windshield wiper" to the R (tap partners sticks; this will make a # sign), both sticks "windshield wiper" to the L (tap partners sticks; this will make the opposite # sign).
B Section: Same as above, turn in place one direction for 1st phrase, opposite direction for 2nd phrase.
and we learn a very basic Dandiya dance!
You can also find a lesson from Teaching with Orff featuring a Diwali Dance from Manju here.
If you have time, students would love making these diyas from The Joy of Sharing.
Hope you enjoy!