Thoughts on Teaching: How to make a story dance into a concept-based activity

This entry was prompted by a question from reader Kerry B., who is currently teaching at a ballet studio. She wants to know how to integrate the expectations of ballet for young students with the creative, concept-based approach.
Here’s the story dance exemplar she provided, and my response.

Example: “At the Castle”

For ages: 4-5

Story Outline:
Driving to the castle, skipping to castle stable, marching with soldiers to get horses, trotting and galloping with horses, marching to dungeon, creeping around dungeon, tip toe out, walking into garden, hopping on stepping stones.  Tip toe into room to prepare for ball, group and solo dances at ball, grande waltz, leaving ball

 

Music Suggestions:
Driving
– An American in Paris (Gershwin)

Skipping – Skipping Song from Songs for Dancing (instrumental only)

Trotting & Galloping
Galloping Song from Songs for Dancing (instrumental only)
The Magic Toy Shop: Tarantella, Shostakovich
Ballet Suite No. 1: Galop, Tchaikovsky
Swan Lake Suite, Op. 20A – 6 Act3: Spanish Dance

Marching – Firebird: Infernal Dance of King Kastchel’s Subjects, Stravinsky

Creeping – Op.46, In The Hall of Mountain King, Edvard Grieg

Tip toe – Walk – Hop – Tip Toe – Ballet Suite No. 1 – Music Box Waltz, Shostakovich

Waltz – From Coppelia

 

Concept Connections:

 

Driving to the castle… pathways and directions in space.

Skipping to castle stable, marching with soldiers to get horses…. light and strong weight (or can continue with previous concepts)
Trotting and galloping with horses….locomotor movement and speed. (Or can continue with previous concepts) Imagination – be the horses.
Marching to dungeon, creeping around dungeon…. levels in space.

Tip toe out, walking into garden, hopping on stepping stones…. structure a phrase with elements from each locomotor movement idea. Repeat it several times.  Can bring back the pathway and direction concepts.

Tip toe into room to prepare for ball…. This is a transition to reimagining the environment. Preplan with dancers for where they will end in the space for the next section. Potentially a large circle, so that in the next section, dancers will take turns in the middle.

Group and solo dances at ball…. opportunity for ¾ time lyrical improvisational dancing. Can tap dancers on the shoulder to indicate when they dance in. When you cue them to come out, they tap a dancer to take their place.

Grande waltz…everyone dances!
Leaving ball… end in a final body shape.

 

 

 

 

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January 23, 2016. Tags: , , , . Creative Dance Lesson Plans, Kate Kuper on Teaching Creative Dance, Studio Teaching, Teaching Skills, Teaching Tips, Thoughts on Teaching Series.

4 Comments

  1. Kerry replied:

    Hi Kate,

    This is wonderful! Thank you so much for providing the concepts AND the musical suggestions! I will keep you posted on how it goes next week! Many thanks!
    Kerry

  2. Kate Kuper replied:

    Glad you like it. Look forward to hearing how it turns out.

    • Kerry replied:

      Thank you! I’ll keep you posted for sure!

      Kerry

  3. Kellie Simmons replied:

    I love this! Sometimes teaching concepts can be hard and boring. Adding a game to it makes the whole room brighten up.

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