Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Apples and Bananas - A Circle Dance

I love circle dances.  I have written about them before but there is so much to say!  Circle dances are a great way to work on eye contact, spatial awareness, dancing in unison, and it is great when you have limited space. 

In order to do a circle dance successfully:
Practice.  Stand in a circle with your class. Ask the children to put their arms out.  Make sure they are close enough to each other that they are not pulling to reach each other's hands.  Have them hold hands for three seconds and then let go.  Then challenge them to do it for five seconds.  Then for ten.  Let them know that the only way they can learn the dance is if they do not pull.  I have done circle dances with three, four and five year olds very successfully.  It is about setting expectations and practicing.  After your class can hold hands without pulling have them walk, march and/or tip toe in a circle.  When they have that down you are ready to do a circle dance!

Apples and Bananas
  1. Have your class stand in a circle.  Tap every other child on the head and say apple.  These are the "apples" in the dance.  The children you did not tap are the "bananas." 
  2. Have the class walk, march or chasse in a circle for 8 counts.  Have them march in place with their hands on their hips for 8 counts.  (Then the "bananas" jump down and sit criss cross on the floor on count 8.)
  3. The "bananas" clap to the beat while the "apples" skip into the circle for 4 counts.  Then the "apples" jump in place 4 times.  On the 4th jump they turn to face the "bananas."
  4. The "apples" skip back 4 times.  They jump 4 times again.  On the 4th jump they sit down and the "bananas" jump up.
  5. Now it is the "bananas" turn.
  6. When the "bananas" skip back to the apples they don't jump down but turn to face the inside of the circle and the "apples" jump up.  Everyone holds hands.
  7. The dance starts again.  When it is time to go in and out of the circle the "bananas" start.
Use music that has a slow beat at first.  Then you can experiment with different tempos.  Feel free to change the counts and modify the dance so it works for your class.  I created the Apples and Bananas dance when I was teaching  a 5 year old ballet class in a very small space.  This circle dance made it easy for the class to dance together safely.  Everyone was involved and each child did not need to sit and wait his or her turn while another dancer skipped across the floor.  (Which took literally 2 seconds because the space was so small.) 

Make up your own circle dances!  And if you have a fun one I would love to hear about it!

Have fun dancing in a circle with the little ones in your life!!



  1. Cute post :) I have recently learned some Israeli folk dancing, and there are lots of circle dances in it. I love circle dances!

  2. Hi Kerry,
    I love Israeli folk dancing too. The circle is also a reminder that we are a community working together. You can see everyone when you dance in a circle! Thanks for your imput.

  3. Stacey, I tried this dance this morning. Success. They loved it. I love it because it teaches them to count! Thanks for the idea :)

  4. Yay! Glad you liked it. I didn't even think about it but it is great for counting. Enjoy!