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First Steps in Teaching Creative Dance to Children

Book Review:
Movement is crucial in excellent music education. It is the foundation of the Dalcroze Eurithmics method, an essential step in the preparation of Kodaly concepts, and one of the visual components that makes Orff Schulwerk performances engaging.
Ballet classes require a rehearsal pianist, lots of jargon, and a highly trained teacher. I don’t know Jazz and tap. I’m not as flexible or thin as I once was, so showing complex moves is not a great possibility in my classroom. I don’t want my physical limitations to limit 8-year-olds from bending themselves into pretzels.
Great news! First Steps in Teaching Creative Dance to Children by Mary Joyce is a great resource for teachers. The book that lays out a curriculum based on child development, the thinking behind the curriculum, 33 lessons, and ways to extend the lessons. Each lesson even gives the teacher language that would produce the best results in students.
I have felt the connection to music and my classmates as a student when my teacher used these techniques in my Orff level courses. I have used lessons from the book in my classroom with great success. With new lessons, I have been known to read out of the book to get the language just right. The results are wonderful.

When I find a piece of music that fits well with a movement activity, I make a note in the margins of the lesson. I suggest that once you do an activity with a cohort of students, you keep the same music when you revisit that lesson. Each lesson needs to be mastered before you apply that concept to a future dance.
These activities are perfect for
· Loosening up actors in chorus or
crowd scenes in musicals
· Allowing students to self-block scenes in drama and musicals
· Improving creativity in folk games which require students to make a movement
· Encourage critiquing skills by providing criteria for each dance activity
· Raising the level of trust among members of the class
· Providing transitional movements between pieces on a concert program
· Inspiring children to perform through an increased sense of fun and imagination
· Taking the stuffiness out of dance instruction

My copy was $10 plus shipping because I bought it used. I had the cover laminated and spiral bound for about $10 more. Now the book opens flat and is more sturdy than new. The book is listed on for $48. As I write this article, this site has used copies for as little as $4. Keep your eye out for a copy. Have it spiral bound and use it. You won't regret it.
Budgets close this month. This is also the time when summer plans are being made firm. Get the book.


Innesa said…
thank you for the interesting post.

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