Dance Notes 9th February 2018

Dance Notes 9th February 2018

Chinese New Year celebrations are around the corner!

Students in grade three spent this week explored more about different cultural dances, finding similarities and differences between these and dances from genre that transcend culture (such as the line dance). They are also using dance moves from the line dance genre to create their own routines.

Grade one explored free and bound movements (to use Laban terminology), and looked at how many different ways they could show any action. For example children explored “jump” by seeing how many different ways they could show that word.

Prep students are getting closer to their Spotlight and are rehearsing several songs and dances. Ms Salvador is being assisted by me and the students as she starts to piece together the different parts of each Spotlight.

Children working on pieces for Chinese New Year are showing a growing confidence in demonstrating their moves and can be very proud of their commitment.

Coming up after Chinese New Year: Ms Benusa and I are working together on PA lessons for Grade One. Ms Butler and I are working similarly towards our shared time with Grades 4 and 5. Finally, a shameless plug for Seussical! Rehearsals have been outstanding and the children are putting in a lot of hours practicing song lines and dance steps. I hope all of you plan on getting tickets when they go on sale! Stay tuned!

EDIT: Since writing the above, the EDB took the precaution of closing the schools. It shows how much is packed into the school week that there was still so much to write about 🙂 I encourage students to check out the photos and clips – and they are welcome to play with dance and music over the next few days. For Grade Three students, we have looked at the following dances on Youtube that they may wish to look at further:

Jasmine Dance from China, Peach Blossom Dance from China, Haka from New Zealand, Saman (1000 hands) Dance from Indonesia, Folk Dance from Peru, African dances from Kenya and South Africa, Line dances from the US. Grade One students have looked at Laban movements and there are examples of this on Youtube as well.

Please ensure that you are present if your child visits Youtube as it is not well regulated for content.

Gong Xi Fa Chai! Gong He Fat Choy! Happy New Year!

Dance Notes 2nd February 2018

Dance Notes 2nd February 2018

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul” ― Martha Graham

This week there was a lot going on!

Prep Spotlight preparations are bustling along with the children taking their investigations and explorations and finding out what a good product looks like. The featured Prep class performing in Lunar New Year are having the added bonus of using another language as they perform their choralography.

Grade 1 students have been exploring improvisation, playing Change My Shape, Glued and warming up with a partner. They have also been putting together small hip hop sequences and looking at the different ways in which Laban’s qualities of movement affects how they use their bodies. Check under their photos/videos for clips showing vibratory, percussive, sustained and swinging movements. These are also on the school’s Twitter account.

Grade 3 students have been also investigating improvisation, using the game Glued alone and with a partner to explore space. They have built on partner warmups and are warming up with a group. They have also continued looking at dances from different cultures and dances that transcend cultures, such as  hip hop and line dancing, and experimenting with some of the steps in that latter genre.

Grade six girls involved in Lunar New Year have completed their choreography and are now reflecting critically on their own contributions, looking to see how well they blended with their team. They said today that they enjoyed the time spent rehearsing and wanted to continue! Look for them when the 3-6 Lunar New Year concert is live streamed. They are approximately mid-way in the programme.

Two more weeks until the holidays!



Dance Notes 26th January 2018

Dance Notes 26th January 2018

This is a week where you hit the ground running.

Grade one students who missed class due to Friday’s 3WLR were experimenting with movement across the floor, finding the most interesting way to move backwards, or like water, or in a round way. All grade one students have started looking at how their bodies fill a space and how movement falls into different categories of effort (Laban).

Grade three students have been looking at different kinds of dances from different countries in line with their UOI on cultural expression. While figuring out that dances in different countries can be symbols of pride, education, and celebration, they also looked at how Hip Hop started as a cultural reaction in one part of the world, later becoming a world wide phenomenon. To supplement this, they learned some Hip Hop movements. My favourite (overheard) statements? “That’s like those parties where they dress up like the olden days!” and “My grandma has that song!”

Grade six Lunar New Year dancers have nearly completed their piece, about which they are very excited. They continue to attend practices in their recess and lunch breaks, concentrating on fixing rough patches and thinking about the bigger picture (ie what will it look like from the audience?)

The US students have also been preparing for the Lunar New Year shows, turning up afternoons and sometimes working quite late on their pieces. This is something the LS students can look forward to seeing!

Also in Lunar New Year, we are showcasing one Prep class to perform to a Chinese song. They are very excited about their opportunity!

The Preps also have an upcoming Spotlight and both Ms Salvador and myself are helping the children learn song and dance to prepare for those shows.

It’s all happening!

Please note that I have updated the photo page on this blog. Go ahead and have a look!




Dance Notes 19 January 2018

Dance Notes 19 January 2018

New classes started this week! Grades one and three came to lessons, spending their first class considering what came into their heads when they thought of the word dance. Grade one students capped their first day watching cultural dances from China and Canada – the Dragon dance and then an opening gathering for a large pow wow from the west coast of Canada. Through this viewing they started thinking about how dance is in every culture and can be used to demonstrate cultural pride and to show the watcher something about their country. Grade three students watched a short clip showing different genre styles while they listened to a short history of where these styles originated. A few students were surprised to hear that ballet started in Italy roughly 600 years ago and break dance started in the US in the mid twentieth century.

In Grade one, the second lesson was spent investigating movement – the students were encouraged to move across the room in different ways, being as creative as they possibly could, as well as exploring how quickly they could “strike a pose.” Grade three looked at how a warm up could cover all the muscles in their bodies, experimented with improvisation, and, thanks to a request made by one of the classes, the students learned a few Hip Hop moves. These moves will go into a “repertoire” for later use.

The group of grade six students preparing for Lunar New Year are close to completing their dance and have been working on smoothing out some rough spots.

Prep classes are currently doing different activities. One class is preparing for Lunar New Year, one is preparing for a Spotlight role and others are exploring how the different qualities of movement can be applied to different dance genre. These classes have also experimented with some basic Hip Hop movements.

In conjunction with the 3 Way Learning Reviews on Friday and Thursday evening, we have been busy, busy BUSY!

Have a lovely weekend!

A reminder: you can follow us on Twitter! @LSPerfArtsCDNIS



Dance Notes 11th January 2018

Dance Notes 11th January 2018

The big highlight of the week was the visit of the Young Americans! A large group of young adults came out to spend three days with our grade six students, where they put together a show full of song and dance. Our sixes rose to the challenge, and delivered a wonderful performance, full of heart and talent, on Wednesday evening. It was awe-inspiring to watch our blossoms grow in confidence and skill over the course of the three days.

This week, second grade students finished up their sessions reflecting on what they had learned. They then used the different dance elements as they moved around the room to different pieces of music. Creativity and originality abounded and our dancers struck poses and used space, energy, levels and most of all their bodies to show their learning. We next meet at the end of April.

The Preps continued along with the Dance Elements, and also did some reflecting on what they knew so far. Many students connected the use of Laban’s 8 kinds of movements to their understanding of energy, which was lovely!

Various students continued to work on their Chinese New Year pieces; I look forward to seeing their final performance.

Finally, choreography for the Seussical has officially started this week! Several students have contributed their ideas for which they can be congratulated. Particular kudos to Ella for her commitment to offering original dance ideas. The enthusiasm, willingness to try different ideas and excitement is wonderful to see.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Dance Notes 5th January 2018

Dance Notes 5th January 2018

Happy New (Gregorian) year!

Leaping straight back in!

Prep students have been working on using large and small amounts of space as they move. A couple of weeks before the winter break, they explored filling spaces in different ways while creating static positions. Just before the break, they looked at creating shapes using floor pathways, starting and finishing at exactly the same place. They discovered that they could increase the size of their used space through the size and/or speed of their movements. This week, they transitioned to using space as first one, and then both of them moved around the room. This will continue to be a focus in the coming week.

Grade two students finished exploring how to use different levels in movement and are also working on the use of space. They are investigating positive and negative space and have discussed the idea of horizontal, vertical and diagonal space around them. Some clever students noticed they had also used levels in their exploration which led to an interesting discussion about how levels can change the way in which a space is used or filled.

Grade six girls are back in the dance room to create their performance piece and have started learning some simple lifts to incorporate into their dance. As always, they are to be congratulated for their dedication!

So in all, a lovely start to 2018!

Have a great weekend

Dance Notes 8th December 2017

Dance Notes 8th December 2017

A busy week!

Grade 2 students have been developing an understanding of the Dance Elements of tempo and levels. They were able to move successfully to music where the tempo changed, showing a change in how they moved. They were able to identify different levels in dance and create shapes using different levels. Adding locomotor movement to this activity will be their next step. Improvisation remains a firm favourite with this year level!

Prep students have been using the Dance Elements of levels and group dimensions, combining them with a Laban movement to create group shapes showing their understanding. Recently they have been listening to music and choosing a Laban movement to go with their tableau. They have also started exploring positive and negative space with quite a few giggles and discussions.

Some grade six students have volunteered to further work on their choreographed piece and develop it for performance in the Lunar New Year show. They started coming in during morning recesses to make this happen. Their commitment and enthusiasm are wonderful to see.

A short week next week and then on for the winter break!

Dance Notes 1st of December 2017

Dance Notes 1st of December 2017

Happy first of December!

Our grade six students finished off their performances on Monday, and did a sterling job! The films have been uploaded for viewing and can be accessed under the photo tab.

Grade 2 started this week and spent the first lesson putting into picture and word form what they thought when they considered the word “Dance.” Lots of interesting ideas ensued and some lovely drawings. They then spent a lesson investigating what a warm up would look like, some simple improvisation activities to get them moving and then a small cool down.

Some of the students suggested dance was”not for boys” which led to some interesting chats. You might be hearing about some of this at home. To help you talk about this to your children, I found these articles:

Professional footballers across the world have long taken ballet to help them become stronger and more flexible on the field – I danced with the local football team in my classes as a teenager, 35 years ago.

Grade two students were the first students who included Chinese dance into their pictures and writing – that awareness of the glorious diversity that culture brings to dance was fantastic to see. Over the coming weeks, stay tuned to see what transpires in the dance room for our enthusiastic students.

Our Preppies continue to show creativity as they explore how dance elements can be used with movement. Photos have been uploaded to this blog showing them as well, and their online portfolios have been updated with some shots from their dance experiences.

Not long til the break – have a lovely last few days at school!

Dance Notes 24th November 2017

Dance Notes 24th November 2017

Grade six are coming to the end of their Dance unit in the PE strand. Monday is the final class for four of the classes. They will be performing their self choreographed routines in front of their teachers! The fifth class performed today and did really well. The students have impressed me with:

  • The way they collaborate with each other
  • The kindness they show each other
  • The willingness to try different/unfamiliar genre (Across the five classes we have had Hip Hop, including one group exploring Popping and Locking, Contemporary, 1930s Jazz, Theatre Jazz, and Bollywood).
  • The way in which they look for different ideas and music
  • Their willingness to get up and perform for each other
  • The way in which they incorporated Dance Elements such as tempo, levels, use of space and direction, and choreographic devices such as floor pathways, canon and pauses.

The Learner Profile Attributes were all in evidence during this session, as were the Attitudes.

Prep students have been learning Dance Elements and in the last week we started dividing the Laban basic moves into categories based on their level of force and their rate of speed. Some interesting discussions about what constituted “fast” or “slow” and “strong” or “soft” ensued and some students argued successfully that a given movement could encompass more than one force or speed. The students next connected their decisions to music, listening to a piece, determining the speed and force of the music and then matching a Laban move to it.

The Early Years dance visits concluded this week with children showing movement in a variety of ways and posing in the most interesting way they could.

Music used a lot this week for interested parents were pieces from Act 3 of the Nutcracker and the fairy dances from Act 1 of Sleeping Beauty (both Tchaikovsky ballets).


Dance Notes 17 November 2017

Dance Notes 17 November 2017

Two weeks to talk about today – and what fun we have had!

Prep classes continue to practice combining movements using Laban’s theories of movement. They have also started learning about different dance elements and have been experimenting with levels and force. Check out the photo links as more photos and movies have been updated.

Grade six students have started choreographing in earnest. Most groups have chosen music and all have decided on genre. They are currently working on putting steps from the genre together, with the help of research and teacher suggestions. This week students started sharing with each other their progress. Showing what they have done each lesson encourages them to consider what they need to do and ways in which they can improve on what they have done. Some groups have asked for extra time at recess and lunch to work on their pieces – and this level of enthusiasm is great to see!

Pre-Reception and Reception have also had some visits from the dance teacher, where they have moved their body parts independently of each other and experimented with rising, falling, floating and dropping. They have danced and frozen in the most interesting shapes they could think of. These sessions prepare them for Prep and allows them to meet the teacher in the familiarity of their classroom. They run for a short period this month.

Included below is a link of some good dance watching! Enjoy! As always, photos and film are in the photo tab.