How to Teach Your Child Creative Dance at Home
© 2012 Katina Davenport
Before my little girl embarked on her journey to her first dance class without me, I wanted her to know the basics. I taught her how to plié and arabesque, point and turn. She is such a natural dancer that it came with ease. One day I walked into the living room to find her doing a heel stretch, a move involving one leg in the air while holding the bottom of the heel. I was amazed at her ability. After seeing her ability, the next step was to send her off to a dance studio, but I realized that she could experience creative dance education at home. After all, I have taught her before. This time I didn’t worry about dance vocabulary, I let her move freely.
If you are a homeschool mom or want to provide a physical outlet for your children then, why not start a creative dance for children study at home. Here are some things you can do to teach your child expression that will get them moving and motivated.
Start with a good warm up
Every dance class should start with a warm up. It is to prepare the body for the main part of the physical activity. Start with rolling the head; looking to the left and to the right. Roll the shoulders back and forth. Have your children touch their toes and roll up slowly and repeat a couple of times. Now, let them reach for the sky.
You can have your children repeat these movements as often as you like, and in whatever order you wish.
Time, Space, and Energy
Time, space, and energy are all basic elements of dance. Time is the measurement of beats in the song. Timing is so important in dance. You always want to be with the correct timing of music, otherwise you can miss a step. Space is the use of your dance area. Making proper use of the space can either make dancing easy or difficult. Energy is the emphasis of movements. Some require lots of emphasis others require a small movement.
To incorporate all of these things into a lesson all you have to do is turn on the music they enjoy; have them walk in a circle to the beat of the music. If they get off the beat, you can guide them by clapping your hands and counting. Or, if you like you can have them skip to their favorite music. Make it interesting; add turns or have your children hop on one foot. Let them explore how much emphasis to put into their movements. They can make them soft or sharp as they like.
Teaching children how to interpret movements is a fun way to get them to understand self-expression. Improvisation is simply interpreting an action, character, or movement in the way that you see it. For example, you can have your child dance like a lion or ask them to dance like a butterfly. You can get them to use their abstract thinking by asking them to dance like the wind. Since they have never seen the wind they know the effects of the wind by how it sounds or how the tress blow.
Play a Dance Game
Here is a different spin on Simon Says. I call it freeze dance. I used this in a dance class of 5 year old girls. They found it enjoyable. Turn on some really good music. It can be fast or slow. Allow them to dance as they interpret the song. Next, pause the song and have them freeze in whatever pose they were in. Then, press play and continue. If you are doing this with more than one child it can become a game of elimination (if you want) to announce the winner.
If you have a daughter that likes to play dress up, like I do, then allow her to wear her favorite dress or make up a costume for the dance study. My daughter likes to wear her Cinderella dress during dance because she likes the way it moves when she turns.
You can buy ribbons, streamers, hula hoops, and pom poms for your children. My daughter loves to twirl the ribbons to her favorite song.