This term I’ve been working with Year 4 at Byron Primary School. First, our inspiration came from the Disney films, Zombies 1, 2 and 3. Next we explored a wintery theme and, finally, we spent a couple of weeks choreographing a Christmas surprise for their adults. It all culminated in a magnificent show. We surprised the audience with 3 dances and, though very nervous, the dancers were brilliant. It really was a creative dance extravaganza. I’ll tell you more about what we’ve been up to and then the videos are at the bottom of this blog post.
At first we explored the theme and introduced a different character type each week. We had humans, zombies, werewolves and aliens. We looked at the different movement characteristics and each character type ended up with a still shape (stillness), gesture, turn, jump and travelling movements either choreographed by me or the dancers. These are the ‘Five Basic Actions’ in dance and the dancers used them to make their motifs (little sections of movement) interesting and fun to watch.
Every week we had a warm up. I’d planned a few different warm ups for the term, but they absolutely loved Snakes and Ladders, Zombies style, and we ended up doing it every week! I think this is the bit they will miss most about dance club!
We enjoyed a few other games during the term. One was Follow the leader and we used this to learn and remember the character type’s travelling movements. The dancers loved this game and discovered it was fun to try the movements backwards as well as forwards.
Something new for the dancers was cheer dance. This was for the humans character type. Some loved it, some weren’t so sure, but by the end they had all learnt their motions (high V, T and low V) and formations really well.
As the dance developed, it was clear to me that this group of dancers was very creative and, now that we’d got into it, really wanted to contribute their movement ideas. For our next theme, winter, I decided I’d facilitate only and let them direct every aspect of the dance. They began by choosing the music with a vote. Then we did a speedy brain storm using the ‘Countdown’ clock music to challenge them to think of wintery ideas really quickly. Wintery ideas included drinking hot chocolate, reading by the fire, penguins and arctic foxes. All of these things can be spotted in their dance!
To challenge them further, I made some icicles and put the 5 basic actions on them. To inspire interesting movements, they chose an item from the brain storm, chose an icicle and thought of a movement to link the two. Together they also decided on things like position in the room, formations and number of repetitions. They also learnt the keyword for cannon when someone thought it would be a great idea to do the arctic fox movement into reading by the fire one by one! So creative!!
On the second to last week, I surprised them with festive head gear and we choreographed a joyful dance to surprise their adults. They chose Rocking Around The Christmas Tree and I’m sure you’ll agree they did a wonderful job!
We have three, very contrasting dances to share with you from our Creative Dance Extravaganza. The dancers are very proud of their contributions to them and I’m very proud of them for stepping up and performing so well at the end of term. They were a great team and made my job very joyful and unexpected. Enjoy the videos…