Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Movement Modifications Makes Dance Accessible

I always say movement is for everyone - every age, ability and experience.  What I should also say is movement is for everyone regardless of  any limitations you might be experiencing.  I hear a lot of "I can't because" and usually it has to do with a body ailment ( bad knee, hip, back, etc.)  Believe me, I know what it is like to have a bad back and I also know how good it feels to move.  The trick is not to let the physical issue turn into a creative one!

I bring this up especially for teachers and parents.  If you can't get on the floor with your students, or you can't run you still can _____________________ (finish this sentence!)  

I have limitations due to a back injury but this does not stop my imagination.   Movement starts in the heart and works its way through the body.  If something hurts don't do it but do something else.

Here are some ideas:
  1. Play fisherman - Have the children move around the space and pretend to catch one on your hook or in your net.  When your "fish is caught" then the fish becomes the fisherman.  The fisherman can't move her lower body (or she will rock the boat) so she must use her upper body to reel in the fish.  This exercise is great for someone who can't run or jump.  If it is hard to stand then sit and pretend you are sitting at the edge of a dock.
  2. Create a hand dance.  Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and have your hands do the dance.  First a little caterpillar munches on some leaves.  Then a big full caterpillar moves slowly because he is so full.  Create a cocoon with your hands and then slowly open up and explore the movements (flapping, open/close, soaring, etc.) of a butterfly.
  3. Explore movement sitting down. Sit on a chair and move your trunk (torso.)  Have all the kids sit in chairs and create a chair dance.  How many ways can you bend and stretch in a chair?  How high and low can you reach?  How far side?  How far down? Can you roll your shoulders? Can you bend your knees and arms at the same time? 
The possibilities are endless once you modify movement to fit your specific needs.  You don't need feet to stand on/walk on / jump on to move and dance with little ones in your life.  Explore these possibilities and share the possibilities with the little ones in your life (and everyone in your life as well!)


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