Dance Notes 7th of December

Dance Notes 7th of December

Countdown til the end!

Grade 4 spent this week choosing music to go with their message choreography. They were quite passionate about their choices and it was lovely to see the different ideas they brought forward. They were then able to practice using their music as I spent some time in the evenings uploading their choices to ipads for that purpose.

Grade 6 has also been looking at music to go with their performances. They were given a number of choices that could go with their expressive intent of “passion” and from there they were able to try the different tunes. It was interesting to see how the quality of their choreography altered in energy, tempo or interactions depending on the quality of the music.

Prep students spent some time matching movement to music for a little action dance based on the fairy tale The Elves and the Shoemaker. They also explored the final Laban quality of movement – the twist. The second half of the week we commenced our Christmas songs in preparation for the winter singalong.

The US Dance Squad is a third of the way through their number for Lunar New Year. (Not bad for two sessions!) They took five minutes out to discuss what they might be wearing today.

The LS Dance Troupe is well into their dance for Lunar New Year and very excited about their coming costumes. A big thank you to Mr Ko for taking care of the ordering!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Dance Notes 30 November 2018

Dance Notes 30 November 2018

A somewhat calmer week for our students…

Grade 6 students were away on camp this week. When they come back it is the final stretch before their pieces are shown to their teachers and vice principals.

Grade 4 students continued choreographing for the first part of the week but the second part of the week they took a well earned break by watching four dance pieces, each containing a message. Two of the dances come from the group Twist and Pulse, a youtube based duo whose work is family friendly and excellently delivered. The students were encouraged to talk about what they saw, connecting messages to dance moves, real life events, choreographic device use and how characterisation is expressed in dance. This break should help them move forward for their final few practices as they too are showing teachers and administration their creations.

Prep students learned a new dance related to the Elves and the Shoemaker. A pattern dance, it involves connecting movements to certain kinds of music and the use of repetition. As some students were not familiar with the story, we took five minutes out to watch a version of the tale from online sources. Pattern work has continued in drum exploration, with children encouraged to listen to each other and try and make their drum beats match. A greeting song involving actions was introduced last week and students have been enjoying that this week. Finally, another Laban movement was explored, with students thinking about how force and tempo contributed to a punching movement.

US and LS dance groups performed over the weekend at the Family Fun Fair. They are now starting on their Lunar New Year pieces, with US dancers picking a combination between hiphop and contemporary and LS students doing something more contemporary (with some students expressing a desire to add in their acrobatic talents).

So in all, calmer yes, but no less thorough.

Enjoy your weekend!


Dance Notes 23rd November 2018

Dance Notes 23rd November 2018

How quickly the end of the calendar year approaches!

Grade 6 students are completing their physical theatre dance pieces so that they do not have to worry while they are away at camp. On return they will just remember, rehearse and perform.

Grade 4 students are at a similar place, but as they have more time, we are working on connecting their ideas more deeply to their assessment rubric and seeing how well their message is conveyed. Students spent this week making goals off the rubric, working on those goals and deciding results at the end of the class.

Prep students learned a new greeting song and a new Laban movement this week. Some time was spent investigating film of dances (animated) to try and identify what Laban movements were there.

The Family Fun Fair is this weekend and our LS Dance Troupe and US Dance Squad will be performing! Come see us!

Dance Notes Friday 16 Nov 2018

Dance Notes Friday 16 Nov 2018

We seem to be on a bit of a roll.

Grade 6 students are working on turning improvisation into choreography and developing their understandings of passion. There are some amazing ideas coming forth. Safe movement is a focus for our current learning, and Grade 6 students are showing they can be trustworthy and reliable for their partners.

Grade 4 students continue to work and develop their dance’s message. Several classes are starting to self challenge by adding some extra choreographic devices such as using space and tempo; they are also running movement combinations retrograde and thinking about how a motif can strengthen their message.

Prep students are considering different ways they can move to the song “Good to See You.” They have started exploring the Laban quality of movement dab (no, not Hussein Bolt’s dab – there was a LOT of talk about this) and are now learning to contrast their movements to clearly show change from one quality to another. Finally, while drumming patterns, students are learning to listen to each other, keep to a steady beat, recall and reproduce patterns with growing success.

LS Dance Troupe had a sneak practice in the forum this week during ASA time to mark out the spacing for their performance. They also listened to music options for their next performance (during Lunar New Year). US Dance Squad completed their dance and is working on getting the timing and spacing firmly sorted out.

A big thank you to our students and class teachers for being so understanding as we try to reschedule some lessons that have been lost on our big-event-Fridays. In a school as big as this one, there are many, MANY layers of organisation to take into account when these changes need to be made – it’s like moving a row of dominoes! The flexibility is awesome (did you see what I did there).

Have a great weekend everyone!


Dance Notes Friday 9th November

Dance Notes Friday 9th November

Another frenetic week!

Prep – We are back to our regularly scheduled programme with Prep. This week, our students learned two new songs with actions that encouraged them to interact, plan, demonstrate vestibular control and move to a rhythm. They also returned to their dance segment of the class, learning another Laban movement as well as moving their body parts in different ways to develop core control, flexibility and coordination. Students then spent time playing with drums, listening to, repeating, developing and creating rhythmic patterns. Patterns have a mathematical link; musicians are often known to be talented in mathematics.

Grade 4 – Routines are taking shape! Students are starting to consider ways in which their pieces express their messages. Early feedback has been varied and it is nice to see children taking on feedback directed at their group as well as thinking about others’ feedback.

Grade 6 – Students are starting to tie together different kinds of improvisation and using it to develop their choreography. Exploration in improv last year is being used to form part of their ideas and the lifts and ideas this year are also being investigated. Students are taking the time to think about what this could look like.

US Dance squad completed their dance and are working on neatening it up and rehearsing to develop familiarity. LS Dance Troupe are in the practice-practice-practice sessions prior to performance.

Remembrance Day this week was a sombre occasion and some lessons were rearranged to accommodate.

Next week is another packed week! See you all then…

Dance Notes Friday 2nd November

Dance Notes Friday 2nd November

Prep – Halloween has been the focus for Prep this week. Practicing songs and actions have dominated class time, although students have managed to get a sneak revisit of Laban’s qualities of movement (using spooky tunes). The Halloween Shark (oh no! Oh yes!) song has been a favourite to move to, as has reverse dance and freeze. The students strutted their stuff in the forum to much applause. Next week we return to regular programming…..

Grade 4 – this week, grade four students commenced work on creating their dances-with-a-message. Two short routines and a break dancing freeze were shared with them for inspirational purposes. To help them develop their confidence with performing, a couple of groups in each class were invited to share what they had so far completed with the class. All in all, an enthusiastic and promising start was had by each class.

Grade 6 – this week, grade six students looked at the word passion and looked at ways of defining what that meant to them. They then looked at how improvisation ideas learned last year and lifting and balancing ideas commenced this year could contribute to expressing their understanding of the word passion. Students have started looking at how to lift and balance safely, which has led to a great deal of laughter as they overcame their shyness at having to lift or be lifted. Developing trust is a big part of this unit and students have plenty of opportunity to trust – and to be trustworthy.

US Dance group met their hats today and spent the session figuring out how to make their hats “work”. Much hilarity ensued, but also progress as they added in hat moves, developed some more of their dance and started a new segment of it. They have named their dance “Country and Western Medley” – look for them at the Family Fun Fair!

LS Dance group practiced and tidied up some of their recent moves in the Country and Western Dance they completed last week. Look for them as well at the FFF – they are dancing to “Cotton Eyed Joe.”

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Dance Notes Friday 26 October

Dance Notes Friday 26 October

Aaand we’re back!

Grade 6 started a unit on Physical Theatre. Students began with some reminders of what had been done last year, the warm up was established and the basics of learning how to lift each other safely was commenced. Students will be following this up by looking at their assessment criteria for the unit and determining what their product will be. Hint: it will be somehow related to the word “Passion”.

Grade 4 started their unit on message making. They unpacked the sentence “How does dance communicate a message?” by writing their thoughts on the dance room mirror, then discussed the expectations for the unit, looking over the rubric. To finish, they improvised on the simple “high five” action and created a short sequence of movements. Some classes had their second lesson, where they organised their groups, determined what their message would be and considered how the Dance Elements and genre might support their message. (Our feature photo this week shows some students thinking/talking about these very ideas).

Prep revisited the Halloween songs they were learning before the break; they learned some extra actions for known songs and were introduced to an extra song. With one more thing to learn, they will be well prepared for the community sing along in the forum!

As the week progresses, I will be establishing folders of photographs/footage of grades four and six; keep an eye out! A reminder that you need your CDNIS email to view the media – for our children’s privacy.

Dance Notes 12th October 2018

Dance Notes 12th October 2018

Our final week before the break!

Prep – pleased parent visitors with the way they lustily sang their favourite Halloween songs, quickly learned the words to a newer, harder song, wiggled “Dem Bones” and moved instruments of choice in time to the music. Thank you parents for stopping by, and a special thank you to the ones who were brave enough to join in!

Grade 2 – The final performances of Grade two were filmed. I am currently (as I type) uploading the performances on SeeSaw. The students also reflected on their choreography and how it connected to their paintings; students are uploading this themselves. For those who are less informed – this unit was a collaborative effort across Visual and Performing Arts, with Ms Benusa approaching it from an instrumental, music-making angle, Ms T developing visual perspectives and myself using movement, during their PE class time.

Kandinsky had synesthesia – he could see sound and hear colour – and so connecting all the arts was a way of honouring him in a deeper way. The emphasis was on process, problem-solving and student team work. The children had a lot of agency in their choice of pictures, their choice of movements and their decisions around the sequence. A great deal of research, both educational and in neuroscience, backs up this kind of work, and the PAVA team was thrilled to be able to realise that research so profoundly.

Grade 5 – While Monday MAP testing took out some classes, the students on Tuesday were able to try different kinds of improvisation, both revisits of ones with which they were already familiar as well as some new ones. Wednesday and Friday classes were devoted to self assessment and blog posting. Have a look online!

After the break:

Grade 4 and Grade 6 start their rotation with me. Prep continues, as I have them all year long.

Have a lovely break everyone!

Dance Notes 5th October 2018

Dance Notes 5th October 2018

And indeed we did manage to complete five days in four!

G5 performances for Physical Theatre happened this week, with guest teachers coming to class and students showing their pieces of work. There were some truly creative pieces. The film for the performances is being uploaded as we go, and has its own special link, so please go to the photo page on this blog to see them! Next week, G5 students will be reflecting on their work with the rubric they used to evaluate and plan their progress.

G2 “performances” are also undergoing. Student groups have been invited to share their Kandinsky interpretation with the class, and explain how their chosen painting inspired them. Some groups want to perform twice, which has been delightful. Film is slowly making its way onto SeeSaw accounts, but everything so far taken is linked to the photo page on this blog.

Prep has spent this week revising and revisiting Halloween songs in preparation for the coming events at the end of the month. We had a lot of fun with Do you Believe in Monsters, with students using some scary instruments with the beat of the song.

US and LS after school dance groups are rocking along, working with me to create dances they will be performing at the Family Fun Fair. They are very excited about their upcoming shows.

Finally, a note from our Performing Arts Department:

Friday Fun in the Forum – October 26

G3-G6: Do you like to sing, dance, or tell jokes? Then join the PA Department’s Friday Fun in the Forum performances at 11:10am-11:35am in the Forum October 26. To participate, please fill in the sign up form.  All participants must donate $20 in support of the DDD charity of the month. Can’t participate this time? More opportunities for FFF will happen this year, so start practicing!

Dance Notes 27 Sept

Dance Notes 27 Sept

Are we ever not busy?

This week was super short with the public holiday on Tuesday and Three Way Learning Reviews on Thursday and Friday for Grades 1-6.

Students in grade five are preparing for their in-class performances. They are finalising and rehearsing their pieces which range from 30 seconds to a minute long.  The final videos will be on their class photo page, so be ready to have a look!

Grade two students are also coming to the end of their dance session, and filming their moving Kandinsky pieces and having them reflect on their process and product is currently underway. These are also going onto this site, and as I complete my analyses, I am loading them up onto See Saw as well.

Prep students continue to have classes during Three Ways. I look forward to seeing some parents during The Observation period next month. I have been asking our marvellous Educational Assistants to take loads of photos this week, so look out for them on this blog as well as on See Saw, where I am slowly making progress.

I teach over 850 students so recalling names is particularly challenging! Bear with me as I ensure I have the right names with the right children.

Next week is another short week! Let’s see what we can pack in there!