I love folk dancing and movement although with this crazy school year and social distancing protocols, we haven't been able to move in our normal way.
Movement is so very important in what we do in music education. There are a veritable plethora of reasons "why" - this is not that post.
Judith Thompson-Barthwell wrote a wonderful article here about creative movement in the music classroom. This is a MUST read!
As a teacher who uses the Orff Approach, experiencing beat, rhythm, melody, form, and expression happens first in the body with movement. From the beginning, with youngest ages, we move, experiencing non-locomotor (in place) and locomotor (traveling) movement. Reaction training games are elemental, basic games - playing a beat on a drum, students move. When drum stops, students freeze. Subdivided beats (eighth notes) played on temple blocks indicate running. This is such a playful beginning exercise in responding to music, awareness of physical space, pathway, and personal space. Adding a wind chime and asking students what to do (float, turn in place, wiggle), and alternating between walking, stopping, running, stopping, and wiggling/floating/turning allows students to playfully experience responding to musical cues and signals.
Once students experience basic movements (walk, hop, turn, skip, freeze, jump, etc.) we add direction (forward/backward, sideways, etc.), and levels of high, medium, and low, we are ready for more complicated and sophisticated movements but we never stop working on the basic concepts- they simply spiral. Dalcroze movement stories are IDEAL experiences to help students growth and they are easy to implement. My students love this one!
Once we have experienced structured (this is what we do here) and unstructured movement (what should we do here?), we are ready to continue adding on with formal "folk dances."
This is one of my favorite first experiences with "folk dancing". The song gives the directions: Go all around the circle (walking clockwise), go up and down the ladder (moving in and out of a circle), kneel and face a partner, and swing and swing your partner (right elbow swing). It is a wonderfully playful dance and students gain rich experiences in moving, changing partners, all while singing! It is a fast favorite and a fabulous opener if you have a family folk dance night or experience with a multi-age community of children and adults.
Another fast favorite, this song is a changing partners "game" and dance in one!
Working with partners, "peeling the banana", etc. - a favorite!!
This one is a good "Four Walls Dance" - students perform the dance individually, then do a quarter turn to face a new wall, dance again, quarter turn again, etc.
The Sweets of May
Such a fun dance from the New England Dancing Masters!
This previous post has many of my favorite dances including the
- Broom Dance
- Chimes of Dunkirk
- Yesh Lanu Tayish
EVERYTHING by the New England Dancing Masters! Click on the picture to be taken to their shop - I would HIGHLY recommend this bundle!
Teaching Movement and Dance by Phyllis Weikart - this is THE RESOURCE everyone needs. Yes, it is $55.00 but oh so worth it. The way in which Weikart breaks down dance and movement steps is simply amazing. Forward, 2, 3, 4, side close, in, 2, 3, 4 - this is the language students learn to speak to make dances accessible and attainable in a VERY short amount of time.
Creative Dance for All Ages by Anne Greene Gilbert - a sequential curriculum, 40 lesson plans, instructional strategies, assessments, etc.