The purpose of improvisational movement for young children is to connect their common experiences with the new movements they will adopt in dance class. It also allows them the “power of decision” in the classroom where the norm is to listen and obey.
Not all children and certainly, not most teachers are comfortable with improvisation. Having a prepared assignment and time frame always helps. Things are always smoother and more interesting when music is playing, and music will effect the quality of movement.
Improv assignments should always be within the realm of the child’s life experiences. We are trying to find concrete experiences to help with abstract movement and ideas.
Be aware of movements that will assist in what you are trying to teach in the classroom. (skipping promotes passé’, rolling on the floor mirror some of the movement necessary for chaine’)
Assignments can match the theme of the week (month) or can be chosen simply to burn off excess energy to allow the group to focus.
Fish in a Bowl
Spaghetti (cooked and uncooked)
Jell-o (liquid and gelled)
Ice Cream (Frozen and melted)
Balloons (flat, blown up, floating)
Popcorn Popping (slow, fast, slow)
Bubbles (floating and popping)
Puppets (strings and no strings)
Toys (wind up)
go to the following web pages for nice lists of emotions:
Riding a Bus
Playing in the snow
Swimming in the pool
the Bathtub or shower
Making cookies or a cake
Walking on Clouds
Falling Asleep and waking up
Playing with invisible Ball or Balloon
Invisible Jump Rope
Glue on your feet or hands
Springs on your feet
Walking on ice
Walking through mud
Flying a kite
Walking on a tight rope
A Birthday Party
Playing on the beach
Melting (candles, ice cream, ice, pop cycles)
Growing (flowers, grass, trees)
The floor is hot
Strong wind or tornado
Standing on a computer or keyboard (type a message)
Guess who I am! (job related moves: teacher, policeman, mail man)
GAMES OR PREPARED EVENTS:
An imaginary hike narrated by the teacher (climbing trees, over a bridge, cross a river, pick up litter, chase a bear, put up a tent…)
Act out a Fairy Tale; students can have roles or play any role they choose as a teacher tells a story (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Wizard of Oz, Pinnocchio, make up your own story) Teachers can also buy stories pre-recorded. Have fun with dress up opportunities!
Shared adventures; Go to the fair, Climb a mountain, Go Shopping, Go to the Beach, Dancer Recital
A Parade; the band, the floats, the pom-pon girls, the clowns, the big balloons, can give dancers instruments!
A Birthday Party: can be candles, balloons, games, surprise presents, birthday cards, ice cream, cake, piñatas
Musical chairs; during freeze section teacher can suggest movement ideas for the next musical section (crawling, jumping, hopping, turning, dance moves) Everyone has a chair!!!!
Zones on the floor: mark off sections and assign different activities for the zones (Zone 1 – icy, Zone 2 – sticky, Zone 3 – hot, Zone 4 – slow motion)
Move one body part at a time, move two, move three, move four!
Make a machine!
Mirror another student (works best with just the hands or the head)
Circle Games: “pass the pose” or “pass the face” or “pass the movement” or “pass the electricity”, can also “pass the tap step”
Follow the Leader with the teacher and the students taking turns.
Tempo recognition: teacher adjusts the speed of the music or plays a percussive instrument and students must adhere to the tempo. Can have different movements assigned for slow, medium and fast tempos
Tone recognition: prepared cd or instrument that can play high notes and low notes. during high notes; dancers work on releve’…during medium notes; students walk…during low notes; students use plie’ or crawl.
Obstacle Course; areas with assigned movements pretend to crawl under, pretend to jump over.
Body Sculpture; one child makes a pose, next child imitates that pose down the line until all are frozen…. one child makes a pose and others hook on one at a time to make a human sculpture. Assignments like “if one is up, then the next must be down”, “if they face the front, the next must face the back”, touch with only one body part, fill in the empty spaces (take pictures and show them so they don’t try to look into the mirror)
Red light, Green light (Yellow light); teacher either holds up a sign or says out loud
QUALITIES OF MOVEMENT (5&6’S):
MODERN QUALITIES OF MOVEMENT (EFFORTS)
1. TIME (slow v.s. fast)
2. WEIGHT (heavy v.s. light)
3. FLOW (free and bound) (smooth v.s. percussive)
4. DIRECTION (inward movement v.s. outward movement)
FIVE WAYS TO JUMP
1. HOP (one foot to the same foot)
2. JUMP (two feet to two feet)
3. LEAP (one foot to the other foot)
4. 1 TO 2 (from one foot, jump onto two)
5. 2 to 1 (from two feet, spring onto one)
have partners do opposites
combine with runs
do in patterns on the floor
create arm patterns for each movement