Teachers! Progressing your young dancers from stationary to transitory movement can be a process which takes some time. Getting dancers to understand spatial awareness and how to navigate different pathways and formation changes will be integral as they progress and get older! Here is a wonderful introductory dance activity you can use in class with your own little dancers! I have found that this movement lesson I have created is educational, fun and gets dancers to understand their own personal space and the space around them! So, get them moving and build upon the fundamentals as and when you see fit! Good luck!
*Warm-up to include follow the leader (i.e. teacher) and travel around the room in different pathways before settling into beginning spot on the floor.
*All stretches will include transfer into slow, locomotor stretches through pathway.
*Students will identify pathways from visual stimulation clips (i.e. pictures or videos of The Road Runner running straight, ballerina performing piques turns in a circular pathway, race cars making angular sharp turns, etc.)
*Ask students, “Do all people walk in a straight line all the time?”
*Pull out map and ask students the pathway from A to B? How do we get there? What is the pathway pattern?
LESSON INTRODUCTION: Prompt for prior knowledge: "Do you walk in a straight line all the time?" Teacher’s Goal: By the end of this lesson, students will be able to differentiate between straight, angular, circular and curvy space patterns.
*Walk, run, skip, jump, march, slide, gallop, crawl, slither, hop, etc in a straight pathway.
*Perform them forward, sideways and backwards.
*Change tempos to slow, medium and fast.
*Perform solo, then with partner, then in groups.
*Repeat this with use of circular, angular and curvy space patterns.
DEVELOPMENT: “Race Car” Follow the Leader- Students now become the race cars. Teacher calls verbal cues of the pathway to be followed (i.e. straight, angular, curvy, circular.) Begin with follow the leader as one volunteer leads that pathway to be followed. Progress into freeze dance. One person (or “race car”) travels alone while other “cars” are frozen.
CONCLUSION: Slow stretch (with no leader this time) with travel through space. Dancers wind down and decrease their tempo until they are in stillness and lined up to exit the class.