I was asked to bring my platform, Raise The Barre, to every elementary school in Rochester through School Age Child Care (SACC). Three weeks ago, I began teaching at Elton Hills Elementary & Pinewood Elementary for their first dance workshop!
“Each school I travel to, I ask the students, "Who has never taken a dance class before? Surprisingly, almost every hand raises.”
Learning Something New
The student's favorite dance activity was about water and ice. It's one of the first workshops I teach to a new group of students because it teaches them the basics of shapes and how your body can move in space. I give them a list of ways a dancer can move: wide, narrow, curved, angular, and twisted. For size we have big, medium and small.
For levels there's high, middle, and low. Directions can move forward, backward, up, or down. Pathways can be straight or a zig zag. Speed can be slow motion, slow, medium or fast. Weight can be heavy, or light, And finally your energy can be sharp, smooth, shaky, or swinging.
“How can you describe water through dance movements? How is that movement different from how you describe ice?"
I tell the students to form small groups of 2 or 3 to work together as a team and think of
words describing water, then pick 3 of the words to create into dance movements or poses. This at first is really challenging for some students, so I like to go around to each group to see their ideas and help them if needed.
Reflecting on What We Learned
After we were done with the activity, I asked the class to form a big circle to discuss the shapes and movements we saw. What I love most about this activity, and what I think each student loves most, is how not one group shows the same movement to describe water. Some of the words
they came up with were splash, trickle, wave, flow, freeze, and melt. Many groups picked the word, "wave," but none showed a wave the same way. By working in groups and having a discussion, the students are able to understand how to contribute responsibility in a one on one conversation or group setting. This activity, which involves water and ice allows the students to make connections among the arts and other content areas.
One of the first grade boys told me that he plays hockey and showed me some of his best hockey moves. He even connected some of the shapes to ice by describing them as sharp and angular. It's moments like these that touch my heart because I can see in each student how I am impacting them in a positive way.
If you would like to learn more about my Raise The Barre program, head over to www.michaelenekarlen.com/raise-the-barre or contact me to learn more about hosting a Raise The Barre workshop in your community!
Follow my journey to Miss Minnesota on Facebook @RaiseTheBarreMN