Monday, April 26, 2010

That's What It's All About!

Have you ever done the Hokey Pokey with kids?  What about The Chicken Dance?  Electric Slide?
Kids love these dances and adults love them as well.  Whenever I go to a fancy party ( wedding, Bar Mitzah, etc.) I am always amazed that adults jump up to do these dances led by the MC. 

When I got married a pleaded with the band NOT do any silly party dances.  I wanted a romantic and classic feel.  They did it anyway.  The funny thing is the dance floor was packed with people in fancy outfits flapping their arms like chickens. I realized that party dances (dances that already have choreography or are led by someone) give people permission to be silly, to dance with abandon.

See if you can find a moment this week to have kids and adults of all ages dance together.  Lead the dance so your dancers don't have to think, they just have to follow.  Dancing together as a community is fun as well as creates bonds between generations.  Get silly, dance with abandon no matter what your attire is for the day. 

Some fun party dances:
  • Hokey Pokey
  • Chicken Dance
  • Electric Slide
  • Cha-cha slide
  • Limbo
  • Macarena
  • Cotton Eye Joe
  • The Twist
  • YMCA
See if you students/ kids can teach you a party dance.  Maybe you can create your own!
Keep dancing with the kids in your life, flap your arms, put your elbows in and shake 'em all around because that's what its all about!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Dancing In The Rain

Have you ever seen the movie Singing in The Rain?  One of my favorite scenes in the movie is Gene Kelly dancing, stomping, kicking, jumping, splashing, and twirling in the rain.  How many children can relate to this scene?   My guess is most every child can.

The thing about dance is that it is a kinesthetic connection to what you are experiencing. 
Gene Kelly didn't just stand still and sing about the rain, he explored it and everything he could possibly do in it.  For a child, this is how he or she learns.  How does it feel, sound, taste, smell?  How can I make it move?  What happens if I jump in it?  What if I splash really hard?

When I teach, I try to connect the lesson to what the children are learning in school or I try to connect to what they are experiencing around them.  This way they are able to connect what they are learning cognitively to what they are experiencing physically.

Well, since April showers bring May flowers, I thought about the wonder of rain and that iconic scene in Singing in The Rain.  For kids who are afraid of rain, thunder and lightning, exploring rain in a classroom or studio can be a safe way to become comfortable with all the elements of a thunder storm.

Dancing in The Rain Activity

1.  Come up with a the list of words that describe what you see and feel before a rain fall
  •  angry clouds, puffy clouds, air blowing, sun disappears, rumble...
2.  Come up with all the list of words that describe rain falling down
  • Splash, drip, drop, drizzle, plop...
3.  Come up with a list of words that describe what you see and feel after the rain
  • Drippy, quiet, puddles, rainbows, sticky mud...
4.  Now you ready to perform your "Dancing in the Rain" dance.  You have a beginning before the rain,  a middle the rain, and an end after the rain.

You can even video your dances and watch Gene Kelly's dancing in the rain section of Singing in The Rain and then watch your classes' rain dances.

Have fun dancing in the rain with the children in your life!


In continuing participation in the Why Dance Matters event, dance matters because dance is a learning tool.  For proof, just watch a child dance in the rain!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Why Dance Matters

This post is in honor of Arts Advocacy Day and the online event Dance Matters going on April 12 through May 3rd.

Dance can be...
a form of expression
a way to get the sillies out
a medium for physical fitness
a way to share common ground
a tool to interact with others.

Dance can...
 make time fly by
 make a moment more intimate
 make a moment more universal
push you to the limit.

Dance now...
with others
by yourself
in your room
in the grocery store
while waiting for a bus, the subway, a loved one.

Dance is...
a voice
loud and clear
a way to say what can not be said any other way.

next week
with emotion
with spirit
with a friend
with a stranger
with a relative
with a child

Dance matters...
to me.

Ask the children in your life:
  1. How does dance feel in their bodies and in their hearts?
  2. Why do they like to dance?
  3. Do they like to dance by themselves or with others?
  4. Where is there favoirite place to dance?
  5. What kind of music do they like to dance to?
  6. Can they make up a special dance and share it with you/the class?
For more information on the Dance Matters event check out:

Have fun exploring why dance matters to you and the children in your life!


Sunday, April 4, 2010


Here in the northeast we have been having beautiful spring weather. With "spring" in mind, action words are so much fun to explore with your kids/class. One of my favorite books to read in the spring is "Bugs, Bugs, Bugs" by Bob Barner. There are lots of action words to pick out and fun spring pictures.

"Butterflies that flutter in the sky,
spotted ladybugs that go creeping by..." 
Can you just visualize the children in action?

You can make an action word list with your class by picking action words out of books you are reading or come in with a premade list. You can even have an action list that you add to every week. Then take the words and get moving! Try taking the children's favorite action words, put them in a sequence and have them perfom their "action dance". Integrating vocabulary into the body helps with comprehension, literacy and story telling. It is also silly and fun!

Here are some of my favorites:



For an extensive list visit:

Have fun bending, melting and twisting with the children in your life!