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Dances for Preschoolers
Songs with Rhythmic and Creative Dance

Dances for Preschoolers

Susan Kramer


Text, Choreography, Illustrations
Copyright 2001-2011 Susan Kramer
Santa Barbara, California USA
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
published by Dance for Children
susan@susankramer.com

companion texts

Click on cover image
Rhythms and Dances for School Age Kids

Rhythms and Dances for School Age Kids
Click on cover image
Rhythms and Dances for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Rhythms and Dances for Toddlers and Preschoolers


Music and Dance

Dances for young children
Successfully building skills for living

 
Contents

I.     Skill Building

II.    Rhythmic and Creative Dance Elements
Rhythmic:
Walking; Marching; Running; Galloping; Sliding
Creative Elements:
Rebound; Suspension; Sustained; Overtones; Expending Energy; Axial;
Levels; Directions; Dynamics

III.   Dances
1. Jingle Bells; running steps; 2/2 time
2. Baa, Baa, Black Sheep; galloping; 2/4 time
3. Bobby Shaftoe; sliding; 2/4 time
4. Mary Had a Little Lamb; galloping; 2/4 time
5. Allouette; walking or marching; 4/4 time
6. Frère Jacques; marching and sliding; 4/4 time
7. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star; galloping; 2/4 time

IV.    Links
 
 
I. Skill Building

1. For a classroom of 'dancers'¾the term I use for students dancing¾provide an open space such as all furniture pushed to the side walls of a regular classroom; a multi-purpose room; outdoors on grass or a hard surface¾barefeet are best if appropriate for the setting. It is best not to eat right before dancing.

2. Each dance begins with a rhythmic movement technique¾walking, marching, running, galloping or sliding¾and progresses into creative expression. Enthusiastic movement using the body-mind is a basis of somatic education.

3. The dances are designed to be on the easy side technically in order to:

a. move in synchronicity with the song phrases as a preparation for language development, writing and reading;
b. move in levels¾low, middle, high;
c. emphasize forward and backward movement;
d. practice clockwise and counter-clockwise directions around self and moving in space;
e. use axial movements including swinging arms up and down and side to side;
f. move while twisting and spinning;
g. identify right side and left side of body;
h. develop memory;
i. understand sequencing;
j. use arms in opposition to legs;
k. hear and feel the strong beat of the rhythm, the accented part of the step;
l. move dynamically to volume of music; soft and sharp tones; slow and fast;
m. learn patience with self and cooperation with others;
n. finish what is begun; the steps; the sequence; beginning, middle, end; completing the whole;
o. discover that enthusiastic movement is energizing and joyful.
II. Rhythmic and Creative Dance Elements

For in-depth definitions of rhythmic movements and creative dance go to Body-Mind Rhythmic Movement
 
Rhythmic Movements

Kathy, almost 5, walking at low level.1. Walking or Marching; 4/4 time
Tiny steps, giant steps, arms in opposition, out to the side, low, overhead. In photo Kathy, almost 5 is walking at low level.

Kathy, almost 5, running.2. Running; 2/2 time
Slowly, quickly, large steps, small steps. Levels¾low, middle, high; in place; in shapes; arms swinging in opposition, down to sides or overhead.

Kathy, almost 5, galloping.3. Galloping; 2/4 time
Right or left foot forward; moving forward in circle or line shapes; arms in opposition or to sides.

Kathy, almost 5, sliding as a skater.4. Sliding; 2/4 or 4/4 time
Feet together then one foot pushes apart along floor, and other foot then closes in along floor; knees bent. Same foot leads or alternate leading foot as in skating; arms in opposition, to sides, or hands on waist.

 
Creative Elements

 
1. Rebound

The resulting bounce against the force of gravity. Energy focused downward creates an equal reaction upward or sideward. The rebound changes in proportion to the energy expended in the initial movement.

landing downward from a leap, pushing in to spring upward in a rebound
 
 
2. Suspension

Hanging onto a breath. Sustained movement controlled by the length of a breath.

suspending the breath, sustaining the motion between slides
 
 
3. Sustained

Movement related to a constant beat rather than a breath.

sustaining the motion until the next beat of the rhythm
 
 
4. Overtones

Sense of air still vibrating even though movement has ceased, giving the sense of moving in time.
 
 
5. Expending Energy
Sheer energy and intensity are different. Containment of energy creates intensity. Sharpness is achieved through the maximum use of energy in the attack of the movement. Motivation gives the movement more substance and quality.
 
 
6. Axial

While the body is rooted in one spot, segments of the body move independently of each other, such as backward, forward, sideward, in spirals, swinging.

an axial movement: foot planted on floor, body bent forward at low level, upper body twisted, arms extended
 
 
7. Levels

Low on the floor or close to it; middle as in normal walking level; high as on tip toe, jumping, arms extended upward.
 
 
8. Directions

Around one's self, forward, backward, sideward, diagonally, in curves, circles, straight lines, geometric shapes.

moving forward at low level
 
 
9. Dynamics

Motion with purpose, motivation, feeling, energy.

dynamically moving in a jump upward

III. Dances

1.Jingle Bells; running steps; 2/2 time
2.Baa, Baa, Black Sheep; galloping; 2/4 time
3.Bobby Shaftoe; sliding; 2/4 time
4.Mary Had a Little Lamb; galloping; 2/4 time
5.Allouette; walking or marching; 4/4 time
6.Frère Jacques; marching and sliding; 4/4 time
7.Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star; galloping; 2/4 time

Each dance is written out with name of song and the kind of rhythmic technique in the title, followed by the verse to sing. Next, the preparation position is given. Then, the verse and dance portion that go together are listed.

Use musical accompaniment or sing along; repeat sequences as often as desired to make a longer dance. Easier dances are listed first.

Teacher and dancers can do the dances together, if desired, or until the dancers have learned the patterns. Patterns and enthusiasm are more important than the rhythmic movement techniques; young children are in a developmental body-mind stage; greater skill in technique will come when dancers are beyond preschool development.
 
 
1. Jingle Bells; running steps; 2/2 time
written by James Pierpont in 1857

Dashing through the snow,
In a one horse open sleigh,
O'er the fields we go,
Laughing all the way.

Bells on bob-tail ring,
Making spirits bright,
Oh what fun it is to sing,
A sleighing song tonight.

Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way,
Oh what fun it is to ride,
In a one-horse open sleigh.
Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way,
Oh what fun it is to ride,
In a one-horse open sleigh.

preparation:dancers take hands, stretch into a large circle, still holding hands.
1.
Dashing through the snow,
In a one horse open sleigh,
O'er the fields we go,
Laughing all the way.
    Circle of dancers run to center while holding hands and then run backwards to beginning place ending out in a large circle shape.
2.
Bells on bob-tail ring,
Making spirits bright,
Oh what fun it is to sing,
A sleighing song tonight.
    Again, circle of dancers run to center while holding hands and then run backwards to beginning place ending out in a large circle shape.
3.
Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way,
Oh what fun it is to ride,
In a one-horse open sleigh.
Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way,
Oh what fun it is to ride,
In a one-horse open sleigh.
    Dancers drop hands and dance creatively in place with arms up and down, turning in place, bending and stretching. When song ends dancers freeze in their last shape.
 
 
2. Baa, Baa, Black Sheep; galloping; 2/4 time
Traditional

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.

One for the master,
One for the dame,
One for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.
One for the master,
One for the dame,
One for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.

preparation:dancers take hands, stretch into a large circle, then drop hands.
1.
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.
    Dancers gallop in a clockwise circle shape without holding hands.
2.
One for the master,
One for the dame,
One for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.
    Dancers change direction and gallop in a counter-clockwise circle shape without holding hands.
3.
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.
One for the master,
One for the dame,
One for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.
    Dancers break out of the circle shape and move creatively in space. When the song ends dancers freeze in their final position.
 
3. Bobby Shaftoe; sliding; 2/4 time

Northumbrian folk song

Bobby Shaftoe's gone to sea,
Silver buckles on his knee,
he'll come back and marry me,
Bonny Bobby Shaftoe.

Bobby Shaftoe's bright and fair,
Combing down his yellow hair,
He'll be mine for ever more,
Bonny Bobby Shaftoe

Bobby Shaftoe's gone to sea,
Silver buckles on his knee,
he'll come back and marry me,
Bonny Bobby Shaftoe.
Bobby Shaftoe's bright and fair,
Combing down his yellow hair,
He'll be mine for ever more,
Bonny Bobby Shaftoe.
Bobby Shaftoe's gone to sea,
Silver buckles on his knee,
he'll come back and marry me,
Bonny Bobby Shaftoe.

preparation: dancers form a circle facing in, holding hands.
1.
Bobby Shaftoe's gone to sea,
Silver buckles on his knee,
he'll come back and marry me,
Bonny Bobby Shaftoe.
    Keeping circle shape and holding hands, begin slides toward the dancers right which will be in a counter-clockwise direction.
2.
Bobby Shaftoe's bright and fair,
Combing down his yellow hair,
He'll be mine for ever more,
Bonny Bobby Shaftoe.
    Still holding hands, stop and start slides toward the dancers left which will be in a clockwise direction.
3.
Bobby Shaftoe's gone to sea,
Silver buckles on his knee,
he'll come back and marry me,
Bonny Bobby Shaftoe.
Bobby Shaftoe's bright and fair,
Combing down his yellow hair,
He'll be mine for ever more,
Bonny Bobby Shaftoe.
Bobby Shaftoe's gone to sea,
Silver buckles on his knee,
he'll come back and marry me,
Bonny Bobby Shaftoe.
  Dancers drop hands and dance creatively, freezing in their final shape.
 
 
4. Mary Had a Little Lamb; galloping; 2/4 time
written by Sarah Hale in 1830

Mary had a little lamb,
little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
its fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
Mary went, Mary went,
Everywhere that Mary went,
the lamb was sure to go.

Mary had a little lamb,
little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
its fleece was white as snow.
its fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
Mary went, Mary went,
Everywhere that Mary went,
the lamb was sure to go.

Mary had a little lamb,
little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
its fleece was white as snow.

preparation: dancers assemble at left back corner.
1.
Mary had a little lamb,
little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
its fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
Mary went, Mary went,
Everywhere that Mary went,
the lamb was sure to go.
   Beginning at left back corner gallop in a line to left front corner and then to center of room.
2.
Mary had a little lamb,
little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
its fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
Mary went, Mary went,
Everywhere that Mary went,
the lamb was sure to go.
  Dance creatively in space in center of room.
3.
Mary had a little lamb,
little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
its fleece was white as snow.
    Dancers gallop as a group to corner of room where they first began.
 
 
5. Allouette; walking/marching; 4/4 time
French Canadian Folk-Song

Alouette, gentile Alouette,

Alouette, Je te plumerai,

Je te plumerai la tete,
Je te plumerai la tete,
Et la tete, et la tete,
Et la tete, et la tete.
Alouette, gentile Alouette,
Alouette, Je te plumerai.

Alouette, gentile Alouette,

Alouette, Je te plumerai,

preparation: dancers stand in a line facing forward holding hands.
1.
Alouette, gentile Alouette,
   Dancers walk or march forward holding hands.
2.
Alouette, Je te plumerai,
   Dancers walk or march backward while still facing forward and still holding hands.
3.
Je te plumerai la tete,
Je te plumerai la tete,
Et la tete, et la tete,
Et la tete, et la tete.
Alouette, gentile Alouette,
Alouette, Je te plumerai.
   Drop hands and dance creatively in space.
4.
Alouette, gentile Alouette,
   Form line again as at beginning joining hands and facing forward.
5.
Alouette, Je te plumerai.
   Walk or march forward holding hands for last line of the song.
 
 
6. Frère Jacques; marching and sliding; 4/4 time
French Traditional song

Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques
Dormez vous? Dormez vous?

Sonnes les matines, sonnez les matines,
Din, din, don. Din, din, don.

Are you sleeping, are you sleeping?
Brother John, Brother John,

Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing
Ding Ding Dong, Ding Ding Dong.

Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques
Dormez vous? Dormez vous?
Sonnes les matines, sonnez les matines,
Din, din, don. Din, din, don.
Are you sleeping, are you sleeping?
Brother John, Brother John,
Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing
Ding Ding Dong, Ding Ding Dong.

preparation: holding hands, dancers stretch out in a large circle, then drop hands.
1.
Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques
Dormez vous? Dormez vous?
  March in to center of circle; turn in place to face outward and walk out to place again.
2.
Sonnes les matines, sonnez les matines,
Din, din, don. Din, din, don.
  Turning to face in, take hands and slide to right, counter-clockwise direction, in the circle shape.
3.
Are you sleeping, are you sleeping?
Brother John, Brother John,
  Drop hands and march in to center of circle; turn in place to face outward and walk out to place again.
4.

Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing
Ding Ding Dong, Ding Ding Dong.
  Turning to face in, take hands and slide to the left, clockwise direction, in the circle shape.
5.
Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques
Dormez vous? Dormez vous?
Sonnes les matines, sonnez les matines,
Din, din, don. Din, din, don.
Are you sleeping, are you sleeping?
Brother John, Brother John,
Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing
Ding Ding Dong, Ding Ding Dong.
   Drop hands and dance creatively around room. Stop dancing and hold position when the music ends.
 
 
7. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star; galloping; 2/4 time
written by Jane Taylor, 1806

Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
like a daimond in the sky,
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
like a daimond in the sky,
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.

Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
like a daimond in the sky,
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
like a daimond in the sky,
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.

preparation: dancers take partners and wait in line at back right corner of the room.
1.
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
like a daimond in the sky,
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
like a daimond in the sky,
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.
  Dancers enter room from right back corner holding hands with their partner doing galloping steps and circle clockwise along back of room passing left back corner, left front corner, and right front corner of the room to form a large circle, and then all continue with their partners galloping in the clockwise circle till the verse/music ends.
2.
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
like a daimond in the sky,
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
like a daimond in the sky,
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
how I wonder what you are.
  Dancers drop hands and dance creatively in space till the verse/music ends and then hold still in their ending position.
 
IV. Links


Susan Kramer, M.A. is an international author of more than 50 collections and 150 articles on rhythmic movement, modern dance, ballet, music, philosophy, relationships, social issues, yoga and practical spirituality for children, teens, adults and those challenged¾with some Dutch, French, German, Greek and Spanish translations, and with her husband, Stan Schaap- http://www.powertoshare.com resides in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


email  susan@susankramer.com

Meditation for Children
http://www.susankramer.com/ChildMeditation.html
Radiant Yoga for Children
http://www.susankramer.com/Yoga.html
Radiant Yoga for Teens and Adults
http://www.susankramer.com/RadiantYoga.html


Books for teaching toddlers to teens by Susan Kramer

Member of the Gateway to Educational Materials
The Gateway.org

published October 2, 2001; updated March 26, 2011
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