Dance Notes March 29th

Dance Notes March 29th

It has been an amazingly busy couple of weeks, hampered somewhat by a recalcitrant computer that required a visit to the computer doctor to get it going again (sound stopped working – not good for dance teaching!!!)

First of all SEUSS!

The show was an immense success and the students outdid themselves. Seussical is unusual in that it combines song and dance almost all the way through the whole show, which can be hard on young children and our rays of sunshine were awesome. In two years there will be another lower school musical!

Secondly, Spotlights: grades one and four have been preparing for upcoming spotlights in April and May. Each class is looking at ways of combining song, dance and drama, with lots of student input. Dance from when dance took PE time has been revisited and the students have chosen movements and sequences from then to create pieces for performance when they come back from the break.

Finally, PYPX is taking shape, with classes similarly working on song, dance, drama, speech, including lighting concepts to bring their message home. Volunteers from all the classes are also working on parts of a culminating piece which will feature all grade six students by the time it is fully assembled.

For those who celebrate – have a lovely Easter and a wonderful break! See you in April!

Ms Saunders

Dance Notes 17th March 2018

Things are hotting up for Seussical! Tickets went on sale online on Wednesday; ensure that you have your tickets booked because they will sell out FAST!

Now, here is the week’s roundup:

Grade one has been experimenting with how animals move and how they can turn mime into more abstract movement. The book “The Chinese Zodiac” was introduced to them and students have been thinking how those animals, in particular, might move.

Grade 4 is well into Spotlight practices. Three days this week they have been away on camp; there are not many lessons left before Spotlight happens!

Grade 6 classes are fleshing out their plans for the Opening Ceremony. Each class has chosen something distinctly different to the rest – it promises to be an incredible event! Dancers are also meeting with me for the closing number of the Opening Ceremony. CDNIS is loaded with talent and this is truly abundant in this grade level.

Seussical – as I type, Ms Benusa is programming lights for the show. Main characters have been mic-ed, hair and makeup is experimenting with ideas, costuming is being tested, students are off-book and final blocking is underway. Huge kudos to Ms Benusa for her charismatic, clear and concise approach to helping our students give of their absolute best.

And that is all folks. Have a lovely weekend – I will see Seussical students at their rehearsal on Saturday!

Dance Notes 9th March 2018

Dance Notes 9th March 2018

Shows, performances, concerts oh my!

So this week was a busy week in PA Dance.

  1. Grade 1 integrated PA classes allowed Miss Benusa and myself to combine some of our ideas to help challenge children further in their understanding and use of movement and space. Miss Benusa taught a short fun European folk dance called “Sashay the Donut”. Preparations will soon be underway to help prepare students for their up and coming Spotlight, but everything being done at present is laying the foundation for this.
  2. Grade 4 is also working on Spotlights during integrated PA classes. They are currently reconstructing past plays and dances. Specific to dance, they are looking at ways of combining their previous self choreographed routines into longer pieces. Children are also taking on the role of “techies” creating interview videos for their show.
  3. Grade 6 has spent this week narrowing down their ideas for the Opening Ceremony of their Exhibition. Each class is looking at contributing through Performing Arts something about their Exhibition Central Idea. The creativity of Grade 6 is a standout and working with them is a great deal of fun.
  4. Seussical students have been diligently rehearsing their moves and the show is taking shape, which has added to their excitement. This is the show of the year!
  5. To finish off, a shout out to the students who are starting to choreograph for the next FFF – it’s wonderful to see the enthusiasm.

One more thing! I continue to upload video clips and photos, so please have a look!

I hope yesterday was a great International Women’s Day for all. Have a lovely weekend!

Dance Notes 2nd of March 2018

Dance Notes 2nd of March 2018

Happy New Year and Gong Xi Fa Cai!

What a busy week! A new rotation has started and Dance is now part of PA lessons. Here is what we have squished into four days:

  1. Chinese New Year performances – our grade six students and Prep E students were finally able to show off what they had practiced prior to the holidays. Prep E were very pleased with themselves for remembering everything and the grade six dancers can be proud of their results – they were responsible for choreography, practice, costuming, hair and music. Well done girls!
  2. Grade 6 Performing Arts – we have leaped into the Exhibition Opening Ceremony preparations! After an initial tuning in exercise where the students considered why and how Performing Arts is used in the Exhibition, each class discussed what they would like to see happen and brainstormed ideas for what their class can do that can best represent the Central Idea.
  3. Grade 4 Performing Arts – students are preparing for Spotlight and will showcase their learning. They are taking the best from Dance and/or Drama, and also looking at Music. Each class will be working on their segment of the Spotlight.
  4. Grade 1 Performing Arts – students shared some of their learning in Dance with Ms Benusa to tune in to the integrated arts unit, then the week was spent exploring body movement and learning a basic dance. Students are front loading for their coming spotlight.
  5. For those dancers in Seussical – with only four weeks to go until the show opens, dancers are working to perfect dance moves.

Continue to check out the photo and film folder – as we go, I will keep uploading!

Have a lovely weekend as we come to the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.

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