I came across this Exchange Everyday post and wanted to share it as I continue to invest in dance with children. Since I have been using my ipad in the class to access music from my (commercial free) spotify account I am able to choose so much variety of music to fit the children's wants, interests and moods. While fast-paced music is in demand, the hard rockers also show grace and sweet imaginitive interpretations to slower tunes as well. Faces calm, heads lift toward the sky, fingers detail, and partnerships form as children choreograph their idiosyncratic moves : "Relaxation movements are not the only way to unwind the body. Dancing does wonders." This is the observation of Alice Honig in her book, Little Kids, Big Worries.
"Choose slow skating waltzes and other dancing music for toddlers to relax, twirling dreamily to slow tunes. Some preschoolers love lively and stomping music. They jump and leap as they dance to those strong beats. Watch the children dance. Tensions flow out of their bodies as they move to the music."
Dancing is a long term interest at Steppers and can be viewed in many forms throughout the day in formal contexts like "Acrobatic Shows" where children strut their stuff in partnerships incorporating gymnastic feats with sentences of signature moves like "The Nolan Beckert" and "Crazy Legs Cora" to the less formal settings of Dance Party Clean Up and spontaneous Kitchen Dancing. Additionally, particular children seem to have expressed enthusiastic interest in dance for as long as we've known them, Anya Carr, Cora Lea and Innis Sullivan, Nolan and Miles Beckert, Ayush, Cal, Keldon and Henry can all be observed on a regular basis shaking their groove thing to some sort of rhythm, song, or sound throughout the day. Having said that you will see in Dawn's documentation that follows, that everyone enjoys a good DANCE! I (The baby dolls were our audience and special guests). If you click on "Full screen" you will be able to see the photos larger and even sort them or download them for your own files.
The long time interests in dance have Dawn and I thinking about how we can bring music and dance to the center of our emergent curriculum practices. The day documented below flexed several boundaries at school starting with bringing dance to our pretend studio in the formerly known 'sensory play' area. I had been making fabric and tape shoes with the children over the course of several days. Annie reminded me in the early morning that it was her turn today. Once the shoes were fitted for all, well of course we needed to give them purpose and multiple renditions of The Nutcracker pulled off Spotify set the tone. (Having a laptop in the classroom has enabled diversity of music in a way I have not had access to before).
As we danced within the plexi-walls, the space swelled to capacity with interpretive stylings moving me to stretch out and around the school. We danced everywhere imaginable in somewhat conga line form, learning plie' and releve' from Siobhan in the kitchen, practicing balance moves on one foot in the library and twirling in the Art Studio.
As Dawn and I risked possible mayhem with our whole-school dance contagion, we noticed that it stayed focused and joyful--with little effort needed to reign in over-exuberance. The experience of partnering together, me taking awkward steps into graceful dancing and Dawn yielding a camera while voicing lots of encouraging words has us excited for more. Particularly, with the notion of composing our own music, designing studio tutus and sewing shoes that might last a little longer than the taped prototypes. Learning dance terminology, how to read music and experiment with writing and dancing phrases. We will just have to see what the days bring.
Thank you Dawn for your partnership in this investigation!