Dance lessons are a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. They encourage the body to produce feel-good endorphins and are a wonderful social outlet. Plus, they are fun and something to look forward to each week!
Students need a clear path to learn. This can be achieved with an effective class sequence that starts with an opening ritual, a warm-up, and the introduction of the day’s concepts and skills. Then, they need to practice these skills in various ways and be allowed to make mistakes in a safe environment. Some dance forms have codified class sequences built in – think ballet: barre, center practice, turns, allegro – but other teacher-created sequences are just as effective.
Some students will have difficulty with the physical demands of a dance lesson. For example, some students may not be able to physically adjust to a close embrace in partner dancing or sustained direct eye contact. Rather than ignoring these discomforts, it’s important to address them and help the student find another way to engage with the material. This could be as simple as assigning them to take notes during the class and presenting them to their peers at the end of the class.
In this video, physical education instructor Rick Carr and science teacher Shelby Ison from Woodford County’s Northside Elementary demonstrate a creative dance activity in which 4th graders create a movement sequence that illustrates the water cycle. They discuss the literary source for their dance; identify energy qualities in the varied animal characters; use the motion of those characters to explore locomotor and non-locomotor movements; and work in groups to create, perform, and share their sequences.