Saturday, July 28, 2012

Creating a Dance is as Simple as 1, 2, 3, 4

Creating movement can be daunting - especially if you don't know where to start.  So start at the beginning!!

  1. Create a beginning shape:
    • Choose a level (high, middle or low)
    • Choose to make straight lines, angles or curves with your body
  2. Choose a way to move from here to there:
    • walk, run, jump, skip, hop, glide, gallop, roll, turn
  3. Choose a pathway:
    • You can hop in a straight line across the room, in a circle, or make zigzags across the floor
  4. Create an end shape:
    • It can be the same as the opening shape or a different one.

It's that simple.  If you are comfortable with these 4 steps, here are other elements you can think about:
  1. Tempo: slow, medium or fast.  (Play different music and see how your body reponds differently to the melody, tempo and energy of the songs.)
  2. Add a feeling state: sleepy, alert, confused, happy, dreamy, etc
  3. Add a story:  Take words out of a story or poem and let that be your inspiration.
Here is one of my favorites by Shel Silverstein from the book Where the Sidewalk Ends:

Dancing Pants

And  now for the Dancing Pants
Doing their fabulous dance.
From the seat to the pleat
They will bounce to the beat,
With no legs inside them
And no feet beneath.
They'll whirl, and twirl, and jiggle and prance,
So just start the music,
And give them a chance-
Let's have a big hand for the wonderful, marvelous,
Super sensational, utterly fabulous,
Talented Dancing Pants!

Most importantly have fun exploring movement.  There is no right and wrong.  Creating a dance is like taking a paintbrush to canvas except your body is the brush and the space around you is the canvas.  The best part is you can take the canvas anywhere and you change the colors anytime you want!!

Have fun creating movement with the children in your life!


For more information on the elements of movement check on our website:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Best Yoga DVD I Never Watched

Whenever I practice yoga at home I always encourage my daughter to practice with me.  The answer I get is "no!"  So yesterday when I wanted to watch Yoga Unveiled I was surprised that my daughter wanted to watch it with me.  (Ok, if I am going to be honest, she wanted to stay up past her bedtime.) 

Five minutes into the DVD she started asking me tons of questions.  I was afraid it was over her head.  Soon she ran out of the room.  I thought she lost interest.  Then she ran back into the room with a yoga mat.  She set it up by the TV and imitated poses she was observing on the screen.  "Look at me!" she kept yelling.  "How does this look?"  "Look at my flow."

Well, I did not get to see much of the DVD because my attention shifted to what was happening right in front of me. 

My daughter is resistant to me teaching her specific dance or yoga movements.  She doesn't want to be taught how to move; she wants to create the movements herself.  I smiled and nodded as she showed me each pose.  She asked me the Sanskrit names of the postures and was a serious yogi practicing her tree pose (Vriksasana.)

It dawned on me that I am teaching her by giving her exposure to dance and yoga.  I am teaching her by example and by showing enthusiasm for something I love.  This gives her permission to explore on her own terms, in her own time and in her own way.

And yesterday she taught me!

Share your enthusiasm for movement with the children in your life and watch how their curiosity will ulitmately lead them to movement explorations.


Monday, July 2, 2012

The Thuderstorm Jitterbug!

Summer is here and with summer heat comes summer thunderstorms.  Some children can find thunder and lightning very scary.  A lot of the fear has to do with the unpredicatable nature of the sound and light.  Some people can even jump sky high when startled by thunder sending their nerves all a jitter!  So how do you combat jitters in your bones and belly - dance of course!!

The Thunderstorm Jitterbug!

What you will need:
  • Grab some tambourines, egg shakers, or pots and pans 
  • Find a big sheet, tablecloth or blanket
  • Pull out a flashlight
  • Grab some scarves, streamers or a water spritz bottles
Here we go:
  1. Drape the sheet over you and your little ones .*
  2. Have each child hold a percussion instrument and slowly move up and down as if you were a raincloud filling up with moisture ready to pour down on your neighborhood.
  3. When the excitiment builds say "I see lightning" and flash the flashlight up to the ceiling. 
  4. Then ask the kids "what happens after lightning?"  Thunder of course!  Have them bang away at their instruments.
  5. Count and see how long before the lightning strikes again!
  6. Repeat this as many times as you like.  You can start with 10 seconds between each "lighting strike" and have the thunder and lightning get closer and closer until....
  7. After the thunder and lightning comes the rain. Throw off the sheet and dance around with scarves, streamers or even water spritz bottles.  You are the raindrops dancing down from the clouds.
*If you have extra adults handy, you can also hold the blanket up and have the little ones stand on one side of the blanket.  They can push on the sheet to expand the cloud as well as move up and down.  The children can come out from under the sheet when it is time for the rain to dance.

We learn through our experiences.  If you do a Thunderstorm Jitterbug with your kids then maybe the next time there is a big storm instead of hiding under the bed they will run for their tambourines instead!

Have fun making storm clouds with the kids in your life,