Little dancers in Patterns and Impressions Variety today learned to use and identify patterns through dance.
Teacher Leah’s every movement had the elegance of smooth, practiced choreography. “I’m Miss Leah,” she said, sweeping her leg out and slowly swirling her arms. She asked each first grader to come up with a movement to use to introduce themselves to the group.
Students practiced their signature movements. Around the circle were powerful kick outs, gentle twirls, awkward shimmies, and silly gestures.
After introductions, Leah asked the children to describe what they noticed from the exercise. Lena raised her hand. “I noticed that everyone did a movement.”
“Everyone was saying their names in syllables,” offered Ananya.
Juliana hit on the theme of the class: “Some people looked like they were doing patterns,” she noticed.
Further patterns arose during movement warm ups. A foot movement pattern was 1 and 2, and 1, 2, 3. The shoulders hunched up and down – 1 and 2, and 1 and 2.
When students returned to a neutral position, Miss Leah asked how feet should be placed when standing back in place. “Feet are always parallel,” offered Abigail. She had learned about keeping feet parallel to each other from her ski lessons, she said.
Editorial comment – Every child should dance every day! It was wonderful to see our little limber students embracing the movements with no self consciousness and using their boundless energy in expressive ways!
The students caught on quite remarkably to the abstract concept of positive and negative space. Miss Leah asked them to touch their arms, legs, bellies, shoulders, while saying, “Positive space!”
If that is positive space, what is negative space? she asked. Nathan gave it a shot: “It’s up and down,” he said, “and horizontal.”
Olive added, “Right and left.”
It’s “everywhere around the body,” Miss Leah confirmed.
“Make a shape that complements your partner,” she asked the students. “Make a shape around them in the negative space, like two puzzle pieces.”