I am starting a series called The Alphabet Dances, which is going to explore different elements of dance and give me and my children some exercise with our creative explorations. I'd love to have you join us and let me know how your kids enjoy it!
While I was in university, I purchased a book called Dance on the Move: An Active Living Alphabet
, written by one of my professors. This book has been a fun resource to use in teaching my daughter and I also enjoyed using it with my middle years students, back in my teaching days. It has a word for each letter of the alphabet, suggestions of how to explore that word in dance, and illustrations to inspire movement. I've come up with my own words for The Alphabet Dances, but have also referred to the book for ideas.
J is for Jump
Yummy decided that we should start with the letter J, since that is "her" letter, so we headed outside where there is lots of space to jump and thump without waking her little brother from his nap.
Dance on The Move defines jumping as "a dancer takes off from two feet and lands on two feet." So we practiced that for a while, before making our jumps travel. We experimented jumping forward, backward and sideways.
Sometimes Yummy forgot that jumping means using both feet, so we did a bit of leaping and galloping in between.
Next, we explored different pathways. We did some jumping in a straight line, and then jumped in circles around our little spruce trees.
Using the suggestion from the book, we created a pattern with different kinds of jumps. Yummy learned that a pattern is something that repeats. So we did two jumps forward, two backwards, two to the side, and then repeated the sequence a few times.
Next we tried wide and skinny jumps: jumping with our feet together, then with our feet spread wide part. One wide, one skinny, repeat. This was Yummy's favourite pattern -easy to remember!
This dance gave both Yummy and I a LOT of exercise and it was a lot of fun out in the fresh air. Yummy endorses it as well, "It was really, REALLY fun." I am looking forward to exploring more letters and elements of dance throughout this series.
This activity explores these elements of dance:
- Time: Pattern (repeating movements to create a pattern)
- Space: Size (skinny and wide jumps), Directions (forward, backwards and side jumps), Pathways (straight & curved)
- Movement: Locomotor Movement (jump)
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