I am not a trained Dance teacher. I like dancing, but I am hardly a professional. I can teach dance but I really wish I was better. I discovered Just Dance on our Wii and after listening to Jarrod Robinson discuss how he uses Just Dance in his classes and talking to Alex Thomas, I am jumping on the bandwagon.
I have always gone for traditional Dance methods – teach moving to the beat, offer some dances such as folk or line or paired dances and then look at different styles and study videos on Youtube and try some more basic moves and then ask students to create a dance. This works. However, I am finding out that you can add so much more colour to Dance if you liven it up with some neat little ideas that are entirely choreographed by professional dancers and shared on Youtube so I don’t have to pay for someone to come in (although that would be fabulous too) and we can dance to current music (important to my students) without explicit lyrics (important to me) and have fun and learn some quite difficult steps all at the same time (important to all of us!).
So, our Grade 7 Dance unit is made up of two different assessments. The concept driving us is ‘what makes a Great performance?’ Firstly the students have to choose a Just Dance track and we agree as a class which we will choose. Then we learn the Just Dance dance of this song. We then break up into pairs and the students have to create 60 seconds of the song. Their moves have to fit the genre/theme of the dance that is already made up and they have to meet the Criteria requirements (eg. levels, flow, flair etc) but now we have the makings of a truly amazing dance. Check out last year’s Grade 7 dance to Gangham Style if you want to see what the students created.
So, this year my kids have chosen Die Young (by Ke$ha) and Can’t Hold Us (by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton). I am excited to learn these Dance’s with the students and to work hard (great aerobic workout) as well as work on our coordination, timing and add a little creativity to the mix. JustDance is awesome and AverageAsianDude (youtube sharer) is creative and a 5 star dancer and I thank him for sharing too! I encourage you to try it out. Your kids will love it whether it be a warm up or a whole unit.
Our second assessment is about using our space creatively. Yokohama Int’l School has a very small Dance space and so Alex’s plan is to teach a Dinner Dance. If you have seen Beetlejuice (movie) there is a scene in it where the dinner guests are taken over by ghosts and dance and sing without really wanting to. We have taken this theme and asked our students to create a Japanese Dinner Dance (mats for the table and they are kneeling/sitting on the floor). Last year the Harlem Shake was involved… I can’t wait to see what happens this year. I hear Pop Danthology or DJ Earworm may share our space….