Central Carolina Orff Chapter Workshop


Central Carolina Orff Chapter

Creating a Dynamic Learning Community with Traditional Dance, Song & Storytelling

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Many thanks for Meaghan and Shannon for all the work they did to set this up, including driving us hither and yon and taking us out to dinner.  Thanks to Kathy Pause to hosting the workshop in such a beautiful space and helping out with sound.  And thanks to everyone else for your help and your enthusiastic participation in the workshop; we had a wonderful time!

Below is a list of everything we did in the workshop with a few extra notes.

But first, a Shameless Advertisment and then Meet the Family.

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* Friday – Sunday, September 13 – 15

Star Island Harmony

Led by Peter & Mary Alice Amidon, and Mary Cay Brass

a choral harmony singing fest on one of the most beautiful islands on the planet.

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For September/October release:

Fifty-Five Anthems for the Small Church Choir

arranged and composed by Peter & Mary Alice Amidon

book and companion CD sold separately.


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Sam, Mary Alice, Zara, Peter, Stefan


Sam’s wife Beth


Stefan’s girlfriend Zara

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Blaydon Races – p. 10 in handout
in NEDM’s Chimes of Dunkirk collection
We used ‘Blaydon Races’ from NEDM’s  2010 Revision of the ‘Chimes of Dunkirk’  CD for this. You can also use any jig or  reel medley for this dance. We did this is a mixer, but you can also do it with younger children without changing partners. We often call this at weddings.  We always start  teaching this, as we do with any circle mixer, by having the dancers promenade and defining the gents/moons/peanut butter/inside partners and the ladies/stars/jelly/outside partners.

My Heart is Ready – not in handout
By Cindy Kallet.  In Amidons forthcoming
“Twenty-five Anthems for Small Church & Community Choirs”
and also available for purchase on Amidons
Choral Sheet Music Download page; go
to the below link and scroll down to the song.

The Sun is In My Heart p. 13 in handout
In New England Dancing Masters’ (NEDM’s) “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD
This is a great first activity for young children; we find that it is calming both for them and for the teacher.

Five Little Bunnies p. 13 in handout
In NEDM’s “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD

Form the Corn – p. 11 in handout
In NEDM’s “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD
Good for all ages!

Galopede – p. 11 in handout
In NEDM’s “Chimes of Dunkirk” collection
We always do this to the specific tune ‘Galopede’ which is on the Chimes of Dunkirk companion CD. We often end a community dance with this dance. The 2nd version of ‘Galopede’ on the 2010 revision of the ‘Chimes of Dunkirk’ CD has an extra C music at the end for the ‘eggbeater’ figure where, after the top couple sashays to the bottom the last time through the dance, each successive couple sashays down the middle, while the outside couples continue moving up towards the top of the set.  Sometimes we practice this final figure ahead of time, sometimes we don’t.

Sashay the Donutp. 11 in handout
In NEDM’s “Sashay the Donut” collection
I like calling this with groups of 4th-6th graders, 6-8 couples  in a set, to “The Flying Tent” on NEDM’s “Other Side  of the Tracks” CD.  You have to call pretty strongly in  the beginning to help define the phrase, but later on the  phrase gets much more clear and the dance goes great  with the music.  You can also do this dance with larger groups, in which case the dance will go across the phrasing of the music (once through the dance is more than once through the tune). You just pick up the beginning of the nearest 8 or 16 bar phrase when starting each sequence over again.

PICTURE BOOKS p. 15, 16, 17 in handout

I Live in Music

In the Fiddle is a Song

We All Went on a Safari

Waking Up is Hard to Do

Larry’s Mixer – p. 11 in handout
In NEDM’s “Listen to the Mockingbird” collection
We used the cut “Cheris” from NEDM’s “Other Side of the Tracks” CD, which is the band “Assembly”, a quartet that includes our two sons Sam (fiddle) and Stefan (percussion). Also try doing this to “The Coming Dawn” from the same CD, or try “Golden Keyboard” from NEDM’s “Any Jig or Reel” CD.  All of these are flowing music, and I find that this dance can have a sublime “Historic English County Dance” feel (think Jane Austen) when done to those cuts of elegant music.


Country Lifep. 8 in handout
on Amidons “Song in My Heart” book & CD
This was a staple of the All-School-Sing Mary Alice and I led at Academy School


Brotherhood & Sisterhood – p. 5 in handout

on Amidons’ “Song in My Heart” book & CD


Seed in the Ground – p. 4 in handout

on Amidons’ “Song in My Heart” book & CD

There is a children’s choir version of this (piano SSAA)

available on the Amidon’s choral music sheet music download.


A Little Seed – p. 2 in handout

on Amidons’ “I’m Growing Up”  book and companion CD



I’m Growing Up – p. 3 in handout

on NEDM’s “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD

and Amidon’s “Song in My Heart” book & companion CD


Sleeping Bunnies – p. 2 in handout

on NEDM’s “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD


Here We Go Riding Our Ponies – p. 7 in handout

on NEDM’s “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD


Kindergarten Reel – p. 10 in handout

in NEDM’s “Listen to the Mockingbird” book


Heel & Toe Polka – p. 13 in handout

in NEDM’s “Chimes of Dunkirk” book & companion CD


Lucky Seven – p. 10 in handout

in NEDM’s “Chimes of Dunkirk” book & companion CD


Choosing Partners

We think it is a real gift to children to teach them

how to choose their own partners.  I like to frame

this in ‘Kings’ and ‘Queens’ language to help the

children get over their self consciousness over

choosing partners.


I start with a story about how Kings and Queens

realized that it might be more fun to dance with

more than just their own spouses, and so they

needed to devise a polite and efficient way to

choose other partners.  “And the method they

came up with was so good we still do it today.”


I have them all practice the words: ‘May I please

have this dance?’ ‘Yes thank you.’ and then

practice answering me, and then practice

asking me.  Then I demonstrate what it

looks like to ask a partner to dance, by

asking one of the ‘Queens’.  Then, I

have that Queen sit down, and I ask

her again, showing the 10 steps:

The approach. Eye contact. The question.

The answer. King puts out his hand.

Queen stands and takes King’s hand.

They hang on to each other’s hand and

walk to the top of the hall.  If there are

two Queens then there is a Queen on one

side and a Queen on the other side.  If

there are two Kings (you know the rest).

If it is a King and a Queen, the King

stands on the King’s side, the Queen on

the Queen’s side and they face each other,

nose, toes and bellybutton, taking two hands.

Then they drop their hands, and, voila, there

they are.


Kings & Queens – p. 12 in handout




Vote for Me – not in handout




Owl & Pussycat p. 6 in handout

in Amidons’ “Song in My Heart” book & companion CD


Peddler’s Dream


Thorn Rosa – p. 9 in handout

in NEDM’s “Jump Jim Joe” collection


Highland Gates – p. 9 in handout

in NEDM’s “Down in the Valley” collection


Old Brass Wagon – p. 10 in handout

in NEDM’s “Down in the Valley” collection


Galopede – p. 11 in handout

in NEDM’s “Chimes of Dunkirk” collection


Bridge of Athlone – p. 13 in handout

in NEDM’s “Listen to the Mockingbird” collection


Creating original dance

I start with the question: “What is a dance?”

A dance starts with a formation (or a shape):

longways (line of partners facing each other),

circle (partners in circle) or

square (four couples facing in).


There is also the Sicilian Circle formation

(couple facing couple around a circle)


And also the concentric circle formation where couples are

in a circle with, say, the gents facing out and

the ladies facing in.


Then there are the figures, which is, simply

what the dancers do in the dance.  Some obvious

figures include some you do with the whole group

(let’s say we’re doing a circle mixer)


Forward and back

Circle left, Circle right,

Grand Right and Left



and figures you do just with your partner (or neighbor)


Right hand turn



and some that are a bit of both like



It is OK to have an original figure or

two in our original dance, but not too

many.  Mostly you should have familiar,

common figures that dances can learn



Once we (or I) decide on a formation, I simply say,

“What first.” and do whatever the first person

suggests, in our case, “Promenade”.


As the suggestions come in I might invite discussion

about which suggestion to choose (if there are more

than one).  I try to use as many of the children’s

ideas as possible, and I almost always have the children

try out dancing a suggested figure before discussin g it.


Your job is also to facilitate the children creating a dance

that is fun to do.  You might make a small suggestion

here and there, especially one that might help make

a student’s suggestion more successful and flowing.


The children can help figure out how to make the dance

fit the AABB of the music.  It is also an option to ignore

the AABB and make up a dance that goes across the

AABB pattern of the music.


Once you and your students have made up a dance, it is

important to name the dance.  This is the same process

as making up the dance.  I take in suggestions and facilitate

the decision making.  Sometimes we combine the words in

two or three different suggestion.  Sometimes we vote on

two or three different name candidates.  Sometimes, as

happened with us, someone comes up with a suggestion

so inspired that I declare it the official name by acclamation.


When students create their own dance, they really take

ownership of it.


Durham Shuffle

Formation: Circle Mixer

Music: any jig or reel

A1: Promenade (8)

“Progress”: All let go of partners & keep walking: gents walk a little faster, progressing forward past one lady to the 2nd lady in front. (8)

A2: With this new partner: right elbow turn, left elbow turn (16)

B1: Forward and back (8)

Two hand turn partner

B2: Sashay with partner in 4 & out 4 (8)

Grand R & L: three changes: 4th person becomes

new partner for the opening promenade.




Picture Books II p. 15, 16, 17 in handout


Mother Earth

I Miss You Every Day

Owl Moon

Day Is Done


Sicilian Vowel Dance – p. 12 in handout

In NEDM’s “Sashay the Donut” collection


Circle Waltz Mixer – p. 12 in handout

In NEDM’s “Sashay the Donut” collection