What to do with… Step On the Beat (title track)

This is the second in a series of posts offering suggestions for working with specific material in the context of a full lesson plan or as an individual activity.

Step on the Beat is not available for individual download; it is designed to be a complete curriculum package and professional development tool unto itself.

By watching the instructional DVD and looking at the book that comes with the set, you’ll have a very good idea of how to apply my teaching strategies as I demonstrate activities on unrehearsed students, as would be the case in your own teaching environments.

What to do with….

 Step on the Beat (title track: voice-prompted and instrumental-only)

  • Use this as a way to introduce creative movement and dance to children ages 8 and up. Make this your Day 1 activity in the unit. It teaches so many basic elements of dance.

    Before you get children up and moving, talk about self and general space, and the importance of moving through the space as though you were  strangers in a city.  Instead of walking with your friends, imagine that you are ‘a rhythm instrument’ whose job it is to show the pulse (beat) of the music rather than just a person strolling through the room.

      Self space is the space around you.  General space is the space we share.  Optional: Use the image of a  ‘kinesphere’ of space around as you move.  This invisible sphere, with you inside, can expand or contract depending on how close or far you are from other people.

    Get students up and moving to walk on the pulse.
    Remember: Bodies Move, Mouths Don’t!

  • Start the music at this point.
  • Observe your students…. If they are clearly not aware of one another,  teach ‘soft focus.’

      Soft Focus: We also have to be aware of others by using our peripheral vision. Stop and stand in one spot.  How many people can you see if you let your eyes relax? Hold your arms apart and move your fingers.  Can you see your fingers without turning your head?  We see in stereo.  Use your stereoscopic vision as you move through the space.  That way everyone is free and safe in the space.

  • Start the music again, or continue the music at this point.
  •  Form a circle as the music concludes, for Reflection.  Sitting Ready Position or standing, go around the circle and ask about all the contrasting pairs.
    See the Step on the Beat book for many details on this.
    Then ask about the sequence of events, starting with the special musical cues.
    Chain together the sequence and practice it in place, from the circle.
  • Use the Step on the Beat instrumental-only track to repeat the sequence with the special music cues, this time traveling through the space, challenging your students to recall what comes next with little or no prompting from you.
  • Closure: What is a sequence?  How did you know when to start and stop? How did you use Space?  Time? Energy?  Show me a high shape.  Move your high shape to line up……

  • Use this as a treat, after other more challenging tasks have been performed.
    I save certain fun things for “dessert.”  This is one.
  • Choreograph it as a dance with your dance club.  My friend Cissy Whipp, who teaches in Lafayette, LA, does this as a dance with her 5th graders.  Small groups choreograph some of the sections, other sections are danced as whole group activities.
  • Use it as a parent-child activity during an Open House.

  • Share it with a sub (especially if the children already know it).






November 12, 2013. Tags: , , , , . Elements of Creative Dance, Kate Kuper on Teaching Creative Dance, What to do with...., Working with Kate's Material.

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