Friday, January 20, 2012

Movement as Art

Dance is common to many cultures as both a form of art and recreation. Dance as art expresses emotion, sets a mood and even tells a story. Some dances consist of symbolic gestures that tell a complete story through carefully choreographed movements. Dance as recreation has long been a source of relaxation, fun and companionship.

Dance can help children move, think and feel simultaneously – a valuable learning experience. One favorite of Interdisciplinary Art Specialist, Marcia MacRae, is Flight of the Bumblebee, by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. “It’s so visual, so evocative. And making “Bee Wands” to dance with provides opportunities for learning that span the curriculum.”

Chinese Folk & Classical Dancers at DCM January 14, 2012 (Tiny Great Performances series)
“Bee Wands” are made by using an arm length of yellow crepe paper. Children add stripes to symbolize the colors of the bee. As the wand is made, mathematical concepts can be introduced by measuring the crepe paper and making the alternating yellow, black pattern. Then, turn on Flight of the Bumblebee! You can enhance auditory awareness by asking children to listen for soft and loud sounds; increase awareness of rhythmic movement by asking them to respond to fast and slow parts of music; and even increase children’s critical thinking skills by asking them to visualize the bee they hear in the music, “Is it big, little, fast or slow?” In addition, build math literacy and spatial awareness by challenging children to move their Bee Wands vertically or horizontally, over a leg, under an arm and around in a circle. Finally, don’t forget to allow time for free dancing to encourage creative expression.

Mollie HM Willis, MS Curriculum & Instruction, guest blogger

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