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Rhythmic Dances
for School Age Kids and Adults


Susan Kramer

Grunneger Daansers of Zandweer, The Netherlands


Text; choreography; photography
Copyright 2001-2014 Susan Kramer
Santa Barbara, California USA
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Published by Dance for Children

companion text: Dances for Preschoolers

photo above: Grunneger Daansers in Emmen, The Netherlands
moving in a counter-clockwise circle


 

Note to K-12 classroom teachers:
This resource is recommended by Cris Guenter, Ph.D., Dept. of Education, CSU Chico.

 

Rhythms, Patterns
dance through our lives

I.   General Notes

II.  The Dances
1. Marching and Galloping Line Dance; A,B,C,D Sequence
2. Skipping and Sliding Circle Dance; A,B,C,D, Sequence
3. Waltz and Polka Dance; A,B,C,D, Sequence
4. Minuet, Gallop, and Slide Dance; A,B,C,D,E,F Sequence

III. Links

 

I. General Notes

1. The sequence of dances moves from easier to more difficult. (The two folk dance groups in the photos are using elements of rhythmic dance.)

2. The first 3 dances are in 4 sets of 16 counts. Each complete step is one count; such as one skip is one count, each polka is one count, each waltz is one count. The parts of each step are not clapped in these dances - the dances move too quickly. Just the accented part of each step is clapped once. The exception is the minuet which has 4 claps to each set, as it is done in a stately, rather slow manner.

3. I recommend hand clapping or rhythm instruments for accompaniment.

4. For a classroom of 'dancers' - the term I use for participants - provide an open space such as all furniture pushed to the side walls of a regular classroom; a multi-purpose room; or outdoors on grass or a hard surface.

5. The dances are designed to be on the easy side technically in order to:
a. emphasize forward, backward and sideward movement;
b. practice clockwise and counter-clockwise directions;
c. identify right side and left side of body;
d. develop memory;
e. understand sequencing;
f. use arms in opposition to legs;
g. learn what a set of 4 is, and about multiple sets of 4, 8 and 16 counts;
h. hear and feel the strong beat of the rhythm - the accented part of the step;
i. learn patience with self and cooperation with others;
j. finish what is begun; the steps, the sequence, completing the whole;
k. find that learning can be fun while moving enthusiastically.
 
 

II. The Dances

Instruction on how to do the steps used in these dances is given in my online article:
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art15037.asp
 
 

1. Marching and Galloping Line Dance


A,B,C,D Sequence

This dance has 4 sets of 16 counts.

Pattern changes every 16 counts; one count per march; one count per gallop.

Dancers who are taking a turn on the sideline as accompanists clap hands or a rhythm instrument once for each march or gallop. At the end of each set of 16 counts there is a slight pause in clapping to allow dancers to change direction or step.

During marching arms swing in opposition to raised knee - that is when right knee is raised, left arm swings forward.

During galloping the opposite arm and leg remain forward - that is when right foot is leading the left arm is forward and the right arm is slightly back; behind.

Preparation: The front of room is determined. Facing front of room; called facing forward, dancers stretch arms to side, hands joined, to form a straight line. Then drop hands and remember this spot as their "place" for this dance.

1st set of 16 counts: Part A

1. Dancers do 4 marches forward; then 4 marches backward (while facing forward) to "place" with arms swinging in opposition - that is as right knee lifts up, left arm swings forward.

2. Repeat the sequence of number 1.

2nd set of 16 counts: Part B

3. Dancers take 4 gallops forward with right foot in front.

4. Dancers turn toward their own right shoulder to face the back of room and with right foot still in front take 4 gallops back to "place."

5. Turning to face forward and changing to left foot in front, dancers take 4 gallops forward to front of room.

6. Dancers turn toward their own left shoulder, keeping left foot in front and take 4 gallops back to "place."

3rd set of 16 counts: Part C

7. Back to marching: Dancers take hands in the straight line facing forward and the two dancers on the ends of the line with 16 marching steps bend the line by moving toward the front and center of the room into an open circle shape. All are now facing the center of the circle with hands still joined.

4th set of 16 counts: Part D

8. Back to galloping: Dancers drop hands, turn toward their right shoulder 1/4 turn to face the back of the dancer next to them.

9. Then gallop 8 times in the circle shape, counter-clockwise direction.

10. For the final 8 gallops, a designated leader set ahead of time lets go of his right hand with his neighbor's left hand and leads the dancers in a line out of the room or to a corner.
 
 

2. Skipping and Sliding in a Circle Dance


A,B,C,D Sequence

 
This dance has 4 sets of 16 counts.

Pattern changes every 16 counts; one count per skip; one count per slide.

Dancers who are taking a turn on the sideline as accompanists clap hands or a rhythm instrument once for each skip or slide. At the end of each set of 16 counts there is a slight pause in clapping to allow dancers to change direction or step.

During skipping when not holding hands, arms swing in opposition -  that means when right leg is forward, left arm is forward.

Preparation: Dancers stand together in center of room; take hands and walk backward till arms are stretched forming a circle.

1st set of 16 counts: Part A

1. Holding hands, take 4 skips in to center of circle; arms remain low.

2. Still holding hands take 4 skips backward to beginning place.

3. Repeat 1. and 2.

2nd set of 16 counts: Part B

4. Everyone quickly drop hands and make a quarter turn clockwise, to right, so now dancer is facing the back of the dancer who was alongside.

5. Take 8 skips moving in a forward counter-clockwise direction keeping the circle shape; arms swing in opposition.

6. Turn to face opposite direction and take 8 skips in a forward clockwise direction keeping open circle shape; arms swing in opposition.

3rd set of 16 counts: Part C

7. Turn to face center of circle again; back at starting position.

8. Take hands with dancer on either side.

9. Holding hands, all slide to right for 8 slides in a counter-clockwise direction, keeping open circle shape; pause.

10. Still holding hands, change direction of circle by sliding 8 times toward left in clockwise direction, keeping circle shape open; pause.

4th set of 16 counts: Part D

11. Still holding hands take 4 skips in to center of circle, arms starting down at side, then arms moving forward and up to overhead by the end of the 4th skip.

12. Still holding hands take 4 skips backward to again form the open circle shape; arms coming down to sides again by the 4th skip.

13. To end dance, a dancer designated ahead of time breaks right hand with adjoining dancer's left hand while remaining dancers hold hands and leads the dancers in a line out of the room or to one corner with 8 skips.
 
 

3. Waltz and Polka Dance


A,B,C,D Sequence

This dance has 4 sets of 16 counts.

Dancers who are taking a turn on the sideline as accompanists clap hands or a rhythm instrument once for each polka or waltz. At the end of each set of 16 counts there is a slight pause in clapping to allow dancers to change direction.

During polka steps, when not holding hands, arms are in opposition - that means when right leg is forward, left arm is forward.

During waltz steps arms are held to side for balance.

Preparation: A front of room is determined. Dancers enter from right back corner of room. An example to determine which is the right back corner: if a dancer stands in the center of the room and faces the front, the audience, the corner behind the right shoulder is the back right corner. The corner in front of the right shoulder is the front right corner. (Both corners just described are called 'back stage right' or 'front stage right'.)

1st set of 16 counts: Part A

1. With 16 polka steps, dancers enter the room from 'back stage right' moving toward 'front stage right', across the front toward 'front stage left' and moving toward 'back stage left', moving toward their entry point and stopping to form a circle; dancers turning to face center of circle.

2nd set of 16 counts: Part B

2. Dancers make a 1/4 turn toward their left shoulder to face back of dancer next to them. Then do 16 waltz steps clockwise, leading with the left foot forward, which will be moving in the opposite direction from the way they just entered the room, (returning them to their beginning place at beginning of the 16 waltz steps).

3rd set of 16 counts: Part C

2. Turning to face the center of circle, do 4 polka sets in to center of circle.

3. Turn to face outward and do 4 polka sets back to place, keeping circle open.

4. Turning to face center of circle, again, repeat numbers 2. and 3.

4th set of 16 counts: Part D

5. Waltz steps again: make 1/4 turn toward right shoulder and with a designated leader waltz 16 times counter-clockwise in the circle shape, exiting at back stage right - the entry point.
 
 

4. Minuet, Gallop, and Slide Dance


A,B,C,D,E,F Sequence

This dance has 6 sets of 16 counts.

The minuet is a pattern of 3 walking steps with the 4th count a toe point.

Begin each set with the foot of the toe that points. Example: left foot steps forward, right foot steps forward, left foot steps forward, point right toe to floor; then, right foot steps forward, left foot steps forward, right foot steps forward, and point left toe to floor. The timing is 4/4.

Each step in the minuet can have its own count as the steps are done in a stately manner, which is rather grand and slow.

Arms remain outstretched to side for balance when not holding hands.

Preparation: Form two parallel lines along sides of room, dancers facing each other separated by at least 10 feet. Stand arms length apart.

1st set of 16 counts: Part A

1. In place, facing the dancers across the room, do 4 complete minuet sets which will total 16 counts.

2nd set of 16 counts: Part B

2. Moving toward center do 2 sets of minuet for 8 counts.

3. Turn around toward right shoulder to face outward and then do 2 sets of minuet to return to place for 8 counts.

3rd set of 16 counts: Part C

4. All dancers turn to front of room and do 4 sets of minuet forward for 16 counts.

4th set of 16 counts: Part D

5. All dancers turn to face back and do 4 sets of minuet for another 16 counts.

5th set of 16 counts: Part E

6. Slides: Lines facing each other, dancers take 4 slides to center leading with right foot, for 4 counts.

7. All dancers hold hands with dancer alongside themselves; end dancers take free hand with dancer across from them.

8. Dancers slide backward to spread out into a circle and move counter-clockwise in a total of 12 slides, one count each, to make a complete circle returning to place in parallel lines, if possible.

6th set of 16 counts: Part F

9. Gallops: In 16 counts of 16 gallops move forward toward front of room; one line exiting 'front stage right' and the other line exiting at 'front stage left'.
 
 

III. Links

Susan Helene Kramer is an international author of more than 50 collections and thousands of articles on rhythmic dance, music, philosophy, social issues, meditation, yoga and practical spirituality for children, teens, adults and those challenged, with some Dutch, French, German, Greek and Spanish translations. Susan and her husband, Stan Schaap live in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Rhythms and Dances for School Age Kids
by Susan Kramer

Rhythmic Dances For All Kids by Susan Kramer


In 100 pages, 16 rhythmic dance steps illustrated and described,
plus 9 little dances, 18 - ABA and other sequencing combinations, and 4 advanced group dances -
for learning kinesthetically about math sets, sequencing, and language phrasing and rhythms.
Can be adapted for special needs children.


email  susan@susankramer.com

Member of The Gateway.org

published January 4, 2001; updated March 26, 2011; February 16, 2014 | webmaster