Monday, February 8, 2010

Celebrate Valentine's Day with a Dynamic Friendship Dance!

What does it mean to be a friend?  Ask a child this question and you will get some wonderful answers!  Around Valentine's Day I always ask this question to my students.  And through our discussion we wind up talking about feelings and sharing our feeling with another person.  Which leads to my next question.

When you listen to another person do you talk when he or she talks?
No, you are quiet and you have eye contact.  In movement we can show this by staying very still when our partner is moving.

How do we know when we are happy, sad, surprised or mad?
We feel it inside our bodies.  We have to pay attention to how our body feels because it tells us amazing things. Our body can be light, heavy, quick, slow (sustained), bound or free. 

Happy can feel light and free.
Sad can feel heavy and slow.
Surprised can feel quick.
Mad or angry can feel bound or tight.

Dynamic Friendship Dance
When we clue in to how our body feels (mind-body connection) we learn a lot about how we feel.  We can share how we feel with others and our friends can share with us how they feel.
  1. Explore the dynamics of each emotion with your class or children.  Move around the space light and free like a helium balloon, carefree and at ease. Feel like balloon is deflated, slowly sinking to the ground.  Everything gets heavy; arms, legs, shoulders, back.  Next, clap your hands or beat a drum.  When the class hears the sound see how fast the can jump into a new shape. And finally, see how tense and tight they can make that shape squeezing every muscle in their body (knees, toes, neck, tummy shoulders,etc.)
  2. Depending on the age of the kids you can do the partner dance in a few different ways.  If they are able to work in partners great. Otherwise you can pick one child at a time to partner with the class. Ask the first partner to choose a quality of movement (or you can say an emotion as long as they know they are not acting out the emotion but showing how the emotion makes their body move.)  The other partner (or class) stays very still then repeats the movement as best as they can to show they were listening.  Repeat this with the other partner picking a different quality or emotion. 
  3. Share your friendship dances with the class. Sometimes I have kids share with the class one at a time or I have a few partners up and moving.  Ask the audience what they saw, and what they liked.  It is never to early to develop good audience manners!
Keep moving up, down and all around with the ones you love!  Happy Valentine's Day!



  1. Hi Stacey! Great partner exercise. I am including a link to this from my recent Valentine's Day post.

  2. Thanks Nichelle! It is a really fun lesson and the kids really get into it. I love finding ways for children to connect to their bodies and this activity not only works on the mind- body connection but also relating to others. Great dance and life skills.