Written by Georgie, Level Three TRS Teacher and Educating Dance Teacher
This was my first term at Singlewell Primary. I had heard lots of wonderful things from previous teachers and was excited to go, even more so when I found out the two themes for this term; Egyptian and Charleston! What a great way to rekindle my Educating Dance sessions than with two of my favourites!
Year 3 were doing Ancient Egypt in their lessons so they went for some Egyptian dance. I chose not to focus on ‘up-to-date’ Egyptian dancing, as this is mainly belly dancing and not my forte. However, I was very excited to introduce them to Ancient Egyptian dancing.
Firstly we discussed Egyptian Gods, I gave each corner a God, explained key parts and together we came up for movements. We had Ra; the God of the Sun, and we created a huge sunshine movement. Then we had Horus; God of the sky, who looked like a bird, so we did huge wings. We also had Hathor; the Goddess of love, we gave ourselves a hug. Finally Bastet; a feline creature, where we acted like cats, very proud showing off our coat. I loved seeing the ideas they created. Each week I would test them on names and meanings and the class got better and better each time!
We then worked in groups, I asked a student from each group to close their eyes and pick out a God. We had; Osiris, Ra, Hathor, Seth, Nut and Bastet. The groups each came up with a starting pose to do with their Gods, either with they way the looked or their God traits. Each group was so different it created a wonderful scene for the start of our dance.
The next task was done individually. I gave them the alphabet in Hieroglyphics and asked them to dance out their names. Some of them found this quite difficult as they had longer names! I also did it myself which was fun.
For the starter for this group we created a giant Pyramid (not all climbing on top of one another though!) We used different levels in lines and finished with tiptoes and points to make the top. Each week I challenged them to come into the classroom and make their pyramid before the music ran out.
We then learnt our dance to ‘walk like an Egyptian’. The class really liked this and they had so much focus when learning it. I also included a bit of ‘tutting’ as they use Egyptian like moves in this. The class enjoyed the modern spin that I put on that. The final part of the dance was done in pairs, they had to create strong Egyptian moves using ‘opposites’ as the theme. The class grasped this very well.
The last couple of weeks we put it altogether. Starting with our Gods, then creating a wall of Hieroglyphics at the back of the room. They then came forward and performed their names. Finishing with the walk like an Egyptian dance.
The last week I split them into two groups as we performed them to one another. It was great to see the progression and how much they had developed. It was a lovely start to my time at Singlewell!
Year 2 had Charleston for their subject, I was very excited about this. To start with I went over some very basic steps, as the full Charleston is a difficult one! We started with diagonal jumps, twists, flick kicks and crazy knees. This was their warm up, they would walk around in ‘Jazzy’ ways and when I tapped the tambourine they would go to the nearest corner and perform that move. This was a great way to introduce the style to them and they picked these movements up so quickly I was very impressed!
We then came to the centre and worked on the moves a bit more thoroughly, repeating move after move and then finishing with a simple Charleston. I started saying ‘step forward, step back’ and by the end of the 6 weeks they were all saying it too!
For the next few weeks I wanted them to create a ‘Speakeasy’ as their starter so, they would come into the classroom and, as quickly as they could, get into the position to hold it. We have the band, performers, audience and bar workers. They all created their own position, but it worked so well when you put it altogether. I couldn’t believe how well they remembered it the first week and by week 6 they managed to do this in just 15 seconds! I think that’s the best yet!
We then started our routine, which included all of the other steps as well as some partner work. It was great to see the development over the weeks, of how well they could remember the dance, as well as all of the moves. By the end they were facing their partners and going back and forth doing the Charleston. Definitely a proud teacher moment right there!
To finish the dance I had them get into smaller groups and put their own ‘mini’ dance together. However, the class did this so quickly, I had to give them a range of developments on the spot! Firstly, I asked them to create different patterns and positions to dance in. Some used triangles, others used lines and swapped through each other too. I then gave them the idea of using different levels, we had groups holding hands and turning on the floor! It opened up my imagination seeing all these wonderful moves.
By week 6 the class were complete professionals. I split them in half so we could do a show. It was lovely to see the support for one another and I really enjoyed seeing the outcome. They were all so focused and worked so hard that I gave everyone a sticker at the end!