Everybody Do This from Songs for Dancing is something I usually use for teaching sequence and recall and as part of a warm up.
This week, one of my college students decided to use it for a Creating activity on the concept of Body Parts. We used the Instrumental only tracks, Everybody Do This Part 1 and Part 3 that played 4 sets of 16 beats. You could use Part 2 and Part 4 for shorter versions that play 4 sets of 8 beats.
We introduced the activity as a dance using body parts. Brainstorming included asking one child to name a favorite part. To another child: How can we move that part? After a short moment with that, asking another child: How else can we move that part? Each idea, shaped in the framework of time (pulse, pattern), was sequenced and repeated. Likely we’d do one movement idea for 4 beats, and the other for 4, and repeat. Or 8 and 8 and repeated, depending on the interest and complexity of the movement ideas.
Add another body part sequence: Ask a different student for favorite part, another student for Idea 1 (with brief explore) , and a third for Idea 2 (with brief explore). Last, shape the two movement ideas into a phrase and repeat the phrase.
Final step, sequence body part 1 with two moves and body part 2 with two moves into a longer phrase. Do with the music.
As you explore and shape the ideas, include other concept lenses, such as direction. Example: can we travel this forward and back in the circle as we move our head? Around the circle as we lift our knees?
Other concepts to use as the viewing lens could be speed, level or size.
Reflection: What body parts did you use?
Once you’ve got your sequence down, try it to Galloping Song (Instrumental Only) for a different musical feel.
Extensions: Sequence more than two body parts into the phrase. Break into smaller groups and create your own dances that follow this structure. Show and share.
Reflection: What body parts did you see the dancers use? What body parts did you use?
In this week’s seminar class, we were talking about what the novice teachers are noticing about their own teaching.
One realization was the importance of being a good boundary-setter, kind but firm, not concerned about being a child’s friend but rather focused on creating an emotionally, physically and socially safe environment. Without a firm hand, certain students strive to take control, diminishing the experience for others. It’s our job to keep that from happening in the first place, and nip it in the bud when it shows up.
Another was being skilled enough in the ‘script’ so as to be able to teach to what’s happening in front of you, rather than adhering to your intention with slavish devotion. Awareness dawns for the teacher when she can begin to shift the focus from simply delivering the instructions for the activity to recognizing the IMPACT on the students and teaching to that.
The example we discussed was based on moving across the floor. The novice teacher failed to recognize an underlying weakness in some of the students, which was that they did not feel the pulse of the music. Without a sense of phrase, they could not accomplish the movement. We seek to identify the most glaring issues first, then refine in further passes, addressing performance quality, relating to other dancers, etc.
Another realization was the importance of repetition once you’ve built up a sequence. After you’ve gone to all the effort to teach the component parts, it’s time to deepen in the experience. In this case, the novice teacher had taught the four separate phrases of Walking Song (Songs for Dancing). Ready to put the activity aside and move to reflection questions, she didn’t realize the importance of repetition for the satisfaction of enjoying and demonstrating the new skills. We lay the path….now let’s walk on it!